Daily Archives: December 10, 2013

Diving Without a Cage

“Shark Tank” is a popular television show on ABC that highlights the complexities, tribulations, success and wild creativity of burgeoning entrepreneurs. These aspiring capitalists are usually met with harsh realities (and some praise of course) from the show’s all-star business panel, featuring Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary (aka-Mr. Wonderful), Barbara Corcoran and Robert Herjavec. Each of these businessmen and businesswomen has a great (and in some cases surreal) success story in starting a business and subsequently building an empire.

If there’s a puppy around, then you’ve certainly got the attention of Mr. Herjavec (Hint: no matter the product, bring a puppy!).

The expert panelists listen to a pitch, which comes with an offer that reveals what the person(s) believe is their company’s valuation along with a percentage of ownership for a Shark if they are to invest. The Sharks investigate the product and then engage in an exchange focused on the company’s financial house in an attempt to find any leaks or faulty structures.

This process can be as stressful as, well, starting a business. The great catch of the show is that if one (or more) of the Sharks like the product and/or company, then they can accept the entrepreneur’s offer for capital investment and a percentage of the company or make a counter-offer, all with their own money. Not the show’s money, but their personal money. Consequently, the deals are difficult to come by on this show. There have been some great ideas that were passed on because of one lagging metric, statistic or personal characteristic. However, if a deal can be made, the deal will almost certainly pay immediate dividends because of the popularity of the show. This has been proven in seemingly countless testimonials by former deal makers.

For a show that plays at 9:00 p.m. on the now prime time-less Friday night, “Shark Tank” has done tremendously well. According to “TV by the Numbers,” last week’s episode saw an all-time series high in ratings with 7.5 million viewers. It “equaled a season high in Adults 18-49 (2.0/6). It was Friday’s #1 TV show on both counts.”

It’s a perfect show for America because of the country’s history and necessity for the entrepreneurial engine, then and now. Each member of the panel is a self-made/entrepreneurial millionaire or billionaire. The fortunes, the products and the jobs these individuals have created are undeniably impressive. It’s remarkable what these people, like so many other hard-working Americans, have built from the ground up.

And yes, they/we did build that with hard work, long hours, incredible levels of uncertainty and risk, ingenuity, courage, business savvy and a wherewithal to survive.

It’s very difficult to start and/or run a business, despite what some may foolishly believe.

As a fan of the show, it was exciting to watch a clip recently of a well-known pitchmen who appeared on “Shark Tank.” It’s from a few years back, but it should bring back some fond memories…

Saved by the bonds of business and friends.