NBC’s TV show Shark Tank is one of the more popular shows about small businesses and startups. It’s nice to finally see this and other reality shows about businesses and entrepreneurs gaining mainstream acceptance.
Aside from providing great entertainment value, Shark Tank offers some good small business ideas for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Parts of the show may seem overly scripted or unrealistic at times, but it offers some good lessons for those about to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys.
Here are three key lessons that we can take from Shark Tank and apply to our small business growth strategies:
The small business world is full of great ideas that never get executed. It seems that every entrepreneur featured on the show has a great idea of some sort. However, the show also demonstrates how entrepreneurs have varying degrees of success in executing those ideas. Some have simply built a prototype, while others have built an impressive history of sales to date. In either case, the show makes it clear that there is a big difference between a promising idea for a new product and building a successful small business to support that product. As we outline in our various small business training courses, there are a number of components that need to be addressed when building a successful company to support a great business idea.
Most small businesses aren’t built on glamorous products. Given the fact that the show is measured based on how many people watch the show, Shark Tank typically features small businesses with products that appeal to the masses. However, the products and businesses featured on the show aren’t indicative of the majority of successful small businesses. The world certainly needs entrepreneurs and inventors that create tangible products that can be sold on a home shopping channel, but there are also tons of other viable small business ideas that are neglected on the show. For example, you wouldn’t expect to see the show feature a small business that makes auto parts, orthopedic implants, or other products or services that most people can’t relate to, but make for potentially viable small businesses.
Small business loans or investments are just one small piece of the puzzle for a successful company. While it is fascinating to watch the sharks make deals with aspiring entrepreneurs on the show, the show rarely addresses the rest of the important work that goes into building a successful small business. For example, marketing strategies, operating models, employee recruitment and management tactics, and a host of other strategic and tactical practices all need to happen in parallel with financing to make the business successful. Too often we see entrepreneurs focus too much of their time looking for small business loans and other sources of financing, while neglecting the other important aspects of building a successful business.
Although it is nearly impossible for a 60-minute reality show to capture all the various aspects of starting, managing, and growing a successful small business, it is important to recognize those important things that you don’t see on the show.
Learn more about how to start, manage, and grow your successful small business by attending our free online Small Business Boot Camp training course. Register or learn more here.