ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a reality TV show on becoming an entrepreneur featuring famous investors like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban who hear out individuals looking for money for their business, is quickly becoming one of the most popular reality shows in primetime. According to Cable.tv, tenured competition shows like “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” still hold the top spots in the ratings, but business and career competition shows such as “Apprentice” and “Shark Tank” are rising fast.
It’s not all just fun and games, either. If you’re looking at becoming an entrepreneur, there are real-world lessons to be learned from shows like “Shark Tank.”
“Why should I hire you?” It’s the grand question that summarizes every job interview, even if it’s not posed in those exact words. The ability to sell your qualitative value is important— work ethic, integrity, determination— but don’t underestimate the importance of quantitative value when seeking a new career opportunity.
Venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary, one of the investors on “Shark Tank,” earned the reputation for drilling contestants with tough questions regarding the value of their startups. Those who were able to back themselves with figures, patents and records succeeded. Those who could not were turned away. When you sit down with a potential employer, don’t just tell him why you’re the best, be able to show him. Becoming an entrepreneur takes tenacity and your passions will only fuel interest.
2. Want To Fail at Becoming An Entrepreneur
It’s a weird concept to accept. Who would want to fail at anything? But the truth is, the moment you embrace the possibility of failure is the moment you’ll learn to be successful. On “Shark Tank,” these business owners go all-in. They’ve been told no from banks, investors, friends and family to the point that any normal or sane person would give up and call it quits.
Be insane. Use every “no” as a stepping stone toward you ultimate goal. You tenacity will show to the people who could potentially open doors to new opportunities for you.
3. Don’t Take a ‘Hail Mary’ Deal
This one’s for all of you negotiating salaries and raises— which is already a tough experience if it’s not something you’re used to. In “Shark Tank,” O’Leary is famous for offering what’s known as the “Hail Mary” deal. When the other investors announce they’ve passed on the opportunity, O’Leary will offer a ridiculously low amount of money for a controlling interest in the new business. He knows nine out of 10 will say “no,” but for the one that says “yes,” O’Leary is the one that comes out on top.
Saying no to a potential employer is difficult in this economy, but know when the deal offered is a “Hail Mary” attempt at low-balling your pay. Know your worth, demonstrate your value and fight for the compensation you deserve.
4. Listen to the Experts
There’s a difference between tenacity and stubbornness. A know-it-all attitude will get you nowhere. It bears the same results for contestants on “Shark Tank” who think they know more than some of the world’s most successful investors that sit in front of them. It’s okay to be told “no,” but learn why you’re being rejected and internalize the lesson. Arrogance is a common flaw among young individuals today. Don’t let the same happen to you. Becoming an entrepreneur means being able to take constructive criticism when it is presented to you.