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- 09/17/15--11:41: _The 18 best 'Shark ...
- 09/18/15--05:14: _Check out the 'Shar...
- 09/20/15--05:32: _Turns out 'Shark Ta...
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- 09/23/15--05:02: _Barbara Corcoran: h...
- 09/24/15--06:36: _The 15 worst 'Shark...
- 09/24/15--09:11: _Here’s why 'Shark T...
- 09/03/15--12:01: 6 'Shark Tank' companies that are crushing the competition
- 09/14/15--10:05: Why Barbara Corcoran never invests in rich kids
- 09/16/15--04:58: 'Shark Tank' investor explains what your clothes say about you
- 09/17/15--11:41: The 18 best 'Shark Tank' pitches ever
- 09/22/15--04:56: 'Shark Tank' investor explains how to make a great first impression
- 09/24/15--06:36: The 15 worst 'Shark Tank' pitches of all time
Intel has been making a push into connected devices lately, and now it's going to promote those devices using a reality TV show.
On Tuesday, Intel announced a partnership with Turner and Mark Burnett, the famed producer behind hit reality shows "Shark Tank" and "Survivor," to produce a new TV show called "America's Greatest Makers."
The goal of the show, which will air on Turner-subsidiary TBS starting next year, is to create “the next big wearable or smart-connected device,"according to Variety.
Intel has a tiny, button-sized chip called Curie, which is intended for use in wearbale or smart-connected devices, and the new TV show will feature devices built with it. Turner is also expected to launch a strong advertising campaign of the show across its media platform, including TNT, CNN, and Bleacher Report.
Burnett's team is reported to have been working with Intel and Turner for months for the new show. The format of the show is unknown at this point, but Burnett told Variety, “This is much more than just a linear TV series. This is the next evolution of storytelling, told simultaneously across many platforms and in many different ways."
The Curie module, first revealed at the CES earlier this year, can be used in devices to track steps or remotely control machines. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has showcased its capabilities several times, including at an event in April and today at the Intel Developer Forum, where he gesture-controlled spider robots.
Intel has been trying to diversify its revenue stream, which has historically been skewed towards the PC division. The Internet of Things unit, which includes all wearable-related products, is still a tiny part of its overall business, only generating $559 million in sales last quarter, out of the total $13.1 billion quarterly revenue.
In September 2013, Jamie Siminoff went on ABC's "Shark Tank" in hopes of raising $700,000 for his company, DoorBot. He thought it was worth $7 million.
His company made a video doorbell that connected to your smartphone, so you could remotely see and talk to the person at the door through your mobile device.
The idea was largely based on the fact that burglars tend to ring the bell before breaking in. With DoorBot, you could see who is at the door and even pretend you're at home when you're not, making it a convenient home-security device.
Siminoff was already making about $1 million in annual sales then, and he had high hopes of getting one of the TV show's "sharks" in as investors of his company.
But the sharks weren't impressed. One by one, the sharks dropped out, leaving only Kevin O’Leary, also known as "Mr. Wonderful," as the last potential investor.
O'Leary's offer wasn't too enticing: he would offer a $700,000 loan, then take 10% of all sales until the loan was paid off. After that, O'Leary wanted to collect a 7% royalty on all future sales, forever, plus 5% of the company's equity.
Siminoff rejected the offer and walked away with nothing.
"It's that moment when I say you're dead to me, because you don't want to take my offer," O'Leary told him.
You can watch Siminoff's appearance on "Shark Tank" below (it starts at 2:03):
The most important thing that's ever happened to the business
Appearing on "Shark Tank" doesn't guarantee you airtime. Siminoff says that when you leave the set, the producers simply tell you, "Someone will call you."
"It's like you literally have no way of contacting anyone when you leave that set that day," Siminoff told Business Insider. "We were like, 'Ah, s---.' So we just had to block it out as if it just never happened, because that was a possibility. We were pretty significantly disappointed by not being able to raise money on the show."
But DoorBot still had a pretty solid business and was growing fast. It had $250,000 in sales in the month before appearing on "Shark Tank," all online. And after two months, Siminoff was able to raise $700,000 at a $7 million valuation (the exact amount he had offered the sharks).
And a week after raising, he also received a call from the "Shark Tank" producers. "It's going to air," they told him.
The episode featuring Siminoff ended up airing in November 2013. And as soon as the show aired, DoorBot took off like crazy.
"We think we got at least $5 million of additional sales through the airing of 'Shark Tank,'" Siminoff said. "It just absolutely throttled our revenue, awareness in the market from every level. Everything just popped after that."
"It was probably the most important thing that's ever happened to the business," he continued. "It's almost like it gave us a free check."
Richard Branson's call
As the company grew, Siminoff wanted to create a more serious image, and so he changed the name of the company to Ring.
His company's credibility went up too, and soon he was able to get into some of the world's top retailers, including Home Depot, Target, and Best Buy. Now Ring's products are sold in 93 countries worldwide.
Its wider reach also led to what Siminoff describes as a "lucky break" with one very prominent investor: Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group who has a net worth of $4.8 billion.
Siminoff says a Ring customer happened to be vacationing at Branson's island a couple of months ago. He used Ring to talk to a UPS delivery guy who was at his home in San Francisco. Branson, who happened to be next to that person, saw the interaction and was immediately hooked by the product.
In fact, Branson liked it so much that he asked for Siminoff's email address and soon started talking business with Siminoff. He wanted to invest in the product.
"I didn't even figure he'd invest," said Siminoff, who at the time was just about to close a Series B round. "But then he was like, 'What if I send someone right now?' And then I got on with a couple of his guys from his team of investment the next day."
In less than 48 hours, Branson agreed to join the round. And on Wednesday, Ring made it official: a $28 million funding that gives it a $60 million valuation. Other investors include: Shea Ventures, American Family Insurance, True Ventures, and multiple angels, including Sky Dayton.
"[Branson's team] was actually really careful with their due diligence," Siminoff said. "Probably more than any other investor we had."
Looking back, Siminoff says it is still hard to believe everything has unfolded the way it has. "It's like beyond surreal. I still can't believe it."
But it also makes him feel pretty good about his business, especially after getting turned down in a public manner by some top celebrity investors.
"I think it's a little bit of redemption that I'll take a slight smile on," he said. "But I got to get back to focus, get back to work now."
The word "modest" is not usually associated with billionaire "Shark Tank" investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
In his 2013 book, "How to Win at the Sport of Business," he writes that his favorite line is "No balls, no babies," and that, "Once you are prepared and you think you have every angle of preparation covered, you have to go for it."
In that same book, however, he says that many new entrepreneurs don't realize there are proper ways to channel that drive, and one thing all founders need to realize is that you need to learn to accept no as an answer when the other side has made clear they have no interest in what you're selling.
He points out three negative consequences of an entrepreneur's excessive insistence:
1. You're wasting both parties' time.
"Always remember what I tell myself: 'Every no gets me closer to a yes,'" Cuban writes. "You have to move on and start communicating with someone you know might buy your product rather than wasting more time with someone you already know won't buy your product/service/idea."
2. It hurts your image.
"The more you push someone who has said no, the more likely you are to appear desperate," he says, "and that desperation impacts your brand as a salesperson and the brand of the product."
3. It fosters fear and laziness.
As you continue trying to persuade someone who's already made up their mind, Cuban says you go from a position of power to one of weakness.
"A smart, focused, and successful salesperson will gear up and do the homework necessary to find their next customer," he writes. "That is a sign of confidence."
In his own entrepreneurial career, Cuban says he's made a habit of giving a standard reply to a no: He'll politely thank the person for considering his product and will then ask what their specific objections were, and why they may have instead gone with a competing product. If he thinks he has a good counter, he'll "let fly" to see how they react. If he gets another no, he thanks them and moves on.
"If you believe deeply in what you do, it is going to be fun and exciting to find your next customer and show off how amazing your products/service/idea is," Cuban writes. "If the last person didn't get it, that's his or her problem. Not yours."
Juggling work and life as a small-business owner is hard enough, but when you're also a mom and a wife on top of that, it can feel nearly impossible at times, says Susan Petersen, the founder of baby moccasin and apparel company Freshly Picked, which was featured on ABC's "Shark Tank" in January 2014.
Petersen tells Business Insider the only way to stay productive at work and be a good parent and partner at home is to find balance. Her trick for doing that: unplugging Friday evening through Monday morning.
"On Friday night, I log out of our company social-media accounts and close my email," she says. "Consequently, my Friday afternoon is usually pretty busy buttoning up all of my work. I don't turn things back on until Monday morning."
Petersen says she noticed she was "getting really into work on the weekend," which wasn't good for her, her company, or her loved ones.
She continues: "Our office is a very collaborative workspace, and I get so much more work done during the week when we are all working on projects together than I do when I am trying to get something done on my own."
Also, she says, "as a working mom, some of the only uninterrupted time that I get with my kids is on the weekend. I need it, and they need it. I always come back to work on Monday feeling recharged and ready to tackle big things when I've had time to relax with my family."
Petersen founded Freshly Picked in 2009 after having trouble finding well-designed baby shoes for her son, Gus. The frustrated, cash-strapped mother of two bought a bag of scrap leather at a yard sale and decided to find a solution to the problem herself.
Working at her kitchen table, Petersen experimented with designs and eventually created a pair of soft-soled shoes "that not only looked cute, but also stayed on Gus' chubby little feet," according to her website.
That's when she realized she was on to something.
But money was tight for the young Utah mom. To earn some cash to start her business, Petersen knew she had to get creative. She tells Business Insider that she persuaded her brother, who owns a window-installation business, to let her keep the old windows that he was removing from the houses in the summer of 2009.
She spent two months banging the glass out of those windows and then sold all of the aluminum frames to the scrap yard at the end of the summer. Her earnings: $200.
It doesn't sound like much, but she says it was enough to get her business going.
She used the money to buy her first hide of leather. Since then, Freshly Picked has exploded.
Last year, Petersen appeared on ABC's "Shark Tank," and Nordstrom began selling the moccasins. Freshly Picked was featured on "Ellen" this May, and the company now has nearly half a million followers on Instagram.
Petersen says her company sold 102,000 pairs of moccasins through its website in 2014, and has already sold more than 117,000 pairs so far in 2015. She recently launched a line of hard-sole shoes, too.
With all that going on, it's imperative that Petersen stay focused and productive at work. Her "unplugging" strategy, she says, allows her to "be in the moment" while at home and at the office, which benefits everyone.
She first implemented this "unplugging rule" about a year ago, "and yes, it was hard to get used to," Petersen says. "Now I look forward to the weekend to be unplugged. Of course there are some weekends where we have deadlines and I just have to work, but overall I love it."
"My kids are growing so fast," she says. "I really feel like I blinked and all of the sudden, they are bigger. Turning off my phone keeps me present and I don't miss anything. It has also encouraged my kids to stay off of electronics."
This, she says, makes her happy. And a happy boss is a productive boss.
It pays to have a Shark on your side.
Every entrepreneur that hooks a Shark as a partner sees at least a slight bump in sales as a result of the so-called "Shark Tank" effect — but only companies that take the long view toward sustained growth turn out to be good investments.
Here are six businesses that walked out of the Tank with a deal and have been scaling up ever since, generating a handsome return for their big fish investors.
Brother and sister team Jeff and Jen Martin struck a deal with Barbara Corcoran in the beginning of season six for their company Pipsnacks, whose flagship product Pipcorn is an all-natural miniature popcorn that doesn't get stuck in your teeth or cause digestive problems.
After Corcoran invested in the Brooklyn-based company, she took the product nationwide by adding co-packers in the Midwest and on the West Coast. Pipsnacks's sales went from $200,000 prior to "Shark Tank" to more than $1.1 million within just three months of the company's landing a deal with Corcoran.
Having access to Marvel's roughly 8,000 characters for its sunglass designs has certainly paid off, helping the company generate $4.1 million in sales in less that five months, just shy of the $5.7 million in revenue it earned the previous year.
When 13-year-old entrepreneur Andrea Cao made a deal with Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban for her handheld massage device Q-Flex during season six, she had just $20,000 in sales.
Since launching a website and moving manufacturing out of her garage and into a fulfillment center, sales have risen to $500,000. Cao and her mother have also had to hire four employees to help with customer service and product assembly.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Despite being a manager to pop stars like Lady Gaga, Meghan Trainor, and John Legend, Troy Carter has shied away from the spotlight.
So when the producers of the popular ABC show "Shark Tank" called and asked him to join the newest season as a guest judge, Carter turned them down. His job was always to be behind the camera and he didn't want to be the person in front of it, Carter told Business Insider.
Carter laughs now about being afraid of the camera, but it took a powerful conversation with his wife to change his mind.
"Originally I passed on doing it and I went home and I talked to my wife about it, and I ended up coming back around," Carter said.
"What we thought about is that you can’t be it if you can’t see it. There’s not a lot of black entrepreneurs and I can’t sit there and bitch about diversity in tech and all of those things about access and pipeline if I’m not out there doing something about that."
Now that Carter has filmed a couple episodes, Business Insider got the full story on why the investor behind Uber, Spotify, and Dropbox changed his mind and what he learned about being a Shark.
Business Insider: What was that conversation?
Troy Carter: You know, we’re big fans of the show. It’s one of those shows that my entire family watches and loves and it’s probably one of my favorite shows. What we thought about is that you can’t be it if you can’t see it. There’s not a lot of black entrepreneurs and I can’t sit there and bitch about diversity in tech and all of those things about access and pipeline if I’m not out there doing something about that. I didn’t know what a VC was until five years ago. I didn’t know the term "venture capitalist." It’s so far from my world.
I didn’t know what a VC was until five years ago. I didn’t know the term ‘venture capitalist.’ It’s so far from my world.
To be able to inspire kids, coming up from where I come from, you want to be an entertainer or a basketball player. For young black kids, that’s mostly what you see in terms of public personalities. The reality is there’s only 300 jobs in the NBA if you want to look at becoming a basketball player.
But if you’re looking at becoming an entrepreneur, that’s something you can start in real time, whether it’s mowing lawns or doing newspaper deliveries. Whatever that is shoveling snow or opening up a lemonade stand, whether it’s selling sneakers, it can become very tangible and setting you up for those next steps. I’m just hoping to be a voice and a conduit, and if I could just be the doorstop.
BC: So that was the conversation we had that changed your mind on it?
TC: It was nuggets of it. There’s so much conversation around diversity. I’m watching the riots in Baltimore, I’m watching Ferguson, I’m watching Blacklivesmatter, I’m watching Jesse Jackson berate Silicon Valley. There’s just all these conversations around race, diversity, and tech. That’s what kind of gave me this shift where I said "It’s time that I do something and lend my voice."
BC: What was your hesitation to begin with?
TC: Um, being in front of the camera. [Laughs] It was being in front of the camera was a different experience than being behind the camera. It’s one thing to get on stage with people who I consider my peer group. I’m used to those sort of talks. Even when I do a magazine interview, it still feels like it’s a conversation with peers. It’s not me on a cover of People magazine, it’s a Wired or a Fast Company, still my peers. This is a totally different experience and so I was a bit nervous going in but once I realized I’m spending my own money, my instinct kicked in and it was game on.
BC: So what’s it like?
TC: I taped a few and it was a lot of fun working alongside Mark and Daymond and Lori and Kevin. They were very welcoming. It was definitely competitive for sure, and you get into some really deep negotiations. Luckily once I realized, “Ok, this is what I do every day” I got into my comfort zone.
BC: Any surprises on the show?
TC: The biggest surprise for me was the length of the negotiations. The producers and editors do a really good job of what can sometimes be an hour and a half-negotiation and edit it down to a seven-minute segment. I think the lengthiness of the negotiation or the amount of due diligence that needs to happen post-recording is a pretty deep dive at due diligence.
BC: It sounds like you’ve made some investments from the show…
TC: I can’t say. [laughs] I’m sworn to secrecy. We’ve looked at some things.
BC: So is this going to be a new era of your life?
TC: You know what, I’ve gained a tremendous amount of respect for the sharks. I don’t know how they do their day jobs and do what they do on Shark Tank. I had a great time being a guest but I’m not sure if I would quit my day job for it.
After Ben and Eric Kusin revealed on the reality pitch show "Shark Tank" that their father, the founder of GameStop, invested $2 million into their business, things got personal.
"I feel very badly saying this to you, but I, as a matter of principle, don't invest in rich kids' businesses," investor Barbara Corcoran told the brothers.
Despite the Kusins' shocked expressions, they ended up leaving with a $150,000 investment from investor Lori Greiner for a 15% stake in their fabric-freshener company Reviver.
On Reddit, Eric writes that the episode was edited in a way that made the brothers seem more insulted than they actually were: "Ben and I both had some really good conversation about it in the Tank that unfortunately just got left on the edit room floor. I honestly think Barbara heard us out, and felt bad about generalizing us."
Regardless of how that particular discussion played out, we spoke with Corcoran recently, and she told us that she stood by her words, with some additional context.
During the Reviver pitch, the other Sharks told Corcoran that her prejudice against privilege was silly, because even though she was self-made and the daughter of a blue-collar father and stay-at-home mom, she is now the mother of rich kids.
But, Corcoran tells Business Insider, "it's not that I look down on [privilege]. It's harder for a kid with privilege and successful parents ... to succeed if they're going to be in business for themselves. I'm not talking about in corporate America or investment banking — all those connections play to your advantage, I think, along with education."
To Corcoran, an entrepreneur from a wealthy family doesn't need to start a business to make a living, and that is a critical difference when things inevitably get difficult. She believes that if you have a safety net, you won't be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
"The best way to think of a solution in business when you're slammed up against a wall is to try to think of five different solutions to get around it and keep going," Corcoran says. "But when you know that you have a trust fund, you know that you can always fall back on your parents, and you know that you can get additional funds, you get cheated out of thinking of those spur-of-the-moment, very needy ideas that get you through."
Above all, Corcoran looks for an entrepreneur with street smarts and hunger.
"I like to work with people that I feel I can really align myself with, and I get them and they get me," she says. "There's a great magic that happens there that you can't fake."
Barbara Corcoran, an investor on "Shark Tank," tells us what really happens between investors on the hit TV show, and how Mark Cuban makes his investment decisions.
Produced by Justin Gmoser. Originally published in November 2013.
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The saying goes: "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have."
Then Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, with his jeans and hoodie, shook up the idea of how a CEO should dress.
Produced by Sam Rega
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Since Barbara Corcoran made her fortune building and then selling one of New York's premier real-estate firms, The Corcoran Group, she has been a full-time investor on the popular reality show "Shark Tank."
In the past six seasons, Corcoran has made deals with about 30 of the entrepreneurs who have appeared on the show seeking investments in their small businesses.
Business Insider recently caught up with her at this year's Canon Expo New York, where she was promoting Canon's Maxify line of printers, and asked her to share her No. 1 productivity tip for entrepreneurs and small-business owners.
She said it came down to a fundamental rule: When setting priorities for your company, begin by repeating what has worked in the past before you try anything new.
It may sound simple, but Corcoran said it's far from common sense. She said most entrepreneurs she's worked with hadn't sat down to figure out exactly what was working and not working in their businesses. Without that understanding, entrepreneurs can waste tons of time focusing on the wrong things.
Corcoran said after doing her due diligence on a company she's invested in, she sits down with the owners for an initial business meeting. She said: "The first thing I say to them is, 'Where has your business come from so far?' They never know!"
She gave a hypothetical example: She asks an entrepreneur how he made a deal with a client who accounted for 20% of his business. After some pushing, the entrepreneur remembers that it was a referral he received after giving a speech at an industry event.
Corcoran then asks how often he gives speeches like this, and the entrepreneur says it was a one-time thing. Before this easy line of questioning, the entrepreneur hadn't realized how much speaking at these kinds of events could benefit his business.
"So I start making a list of what's worked before and have them focus on that before I allow them to do something else," she said. She also recommends pursuing these tried paths to success before spending new capital on riskier investments, such as hiring a public-relations manager.
"I don't let them spend any time on anything that doesn't directly result in a sale," she said. "Because that's what you need when you're a small business."
If you want to grow but you're prioritizing the wrong thing, "you're just not gonna do it," Corcoran said.
Whether you're a journalist looking for an interview or an entrepreneur seeking investors for your company, getting someone's attention is difficult. For the most part, people agree that persistence is key. However, it's also important not to go too far.
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Since "Shark Tank" debuted in 2009, we've seen hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a panel of celebrity investors.
While each Shark may have their own method for evaluating whether a company is worth an investment, they all agree on the fundamentals of a great pitch.
In the best pitches, entrepreneurs sell themselves as much as the product and are prepared to answer any question. The pitches are concise and exciting, and make investors afraid they'll miss out on a major money-making opportunity if they don't make a deal.
A great pitch is far from a guarantee of success, but it's one of the first hurdles to becoming the next hit company out of "Shark Tank." In anticipation of the seventh season's premiere on Sept. 25, we've rounded up the best pitches in the show's history.
Beatbox Beverages, Season 6
Beatbox Beverages cofounders Brad Schultz, Aimy Steadman, and Justin Fenchel entered the tank looking for $250,000 for 10% of their neon-colored, boxed fruit wine company.
After working through the details of how the three built their business, Mark Cuban decided the drink had the potential for viral growth among younger drinkers beyond the company's native Texas and offered $600,000 for a third of the company. Fenchel was grateful for the offer but said they hadn't prepared to give up so much of their company. Cuban asked for a counter. Without skipping a beat, Fenchel asked for $1 million in exchange for a third of the company. They shook hands on the deal.
One of the most common reasons why entrepreneurs miss out on a deal on the show is when they become indecisive or anxious. The Beatbox Beverages team trusted each other and had prepared well enough that nothing caught them off guard, and they ended up with an investment that's uncharacteristically large for the show.
EmazingLights, Season 6
Extravagant pitches filled with performances and props can make for great television, but often are used to hide deficiencies in a company. In the case of EmazingLights, however, a giant cartoon headpiece and a light show was used to demonstrate the company's unusual product, gloves with LED lights in the fingertips that have become increasingly popular at raves.
Founder and CEO Brian Lim's pitch showed the importance of self-promotion when wooing investors. He was able to convince them that the $7 million in annual revenue he'd achieved for his four-year-old company was due to his focus, passion, and long-term vision to crush the competition.
"You are probably one of the, if not the best entrepreneur we've had here," Robert Herjavec told him.
Lim made a deal with Cuban and Daymond John, with Cuban giving $650,000 for 5% and John taking licensing rights and a 20% commission.
Bantam Bagels, Season 6
Husband-and-wife team Nick and Elyse Oleksak left high-paying Wall Street jobs to pursue the excitement of building their own business. They launched stuffed bagel company Bantam Bagels in 2013 and entered the tank looking to turn a New York City outlet into a national business.
Their pitch was noteworthy for having clearly outlined how the company's been successful thus far, what its deficiencies are, and how an investor's guidance and capital can overcome the weaknesses and turn it into a big success. They created the necessary "fear of missing out."
Lori Greiner, who built her career as the "Queen of QVC,"saw the perfect opening for another home shopping hit. She got 25% of the company in exchange for a $275,000 investment.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Mark Cuban launched his #SHARKTANKWITHMARK charitable campaign with this video parodying "Shark Tank" by replacing all of the judges with clones of himself. The video was launched in partnership with Prizeo to help raise money for Austin Street Center, a therapeutic homeless community in Dallas.
Those who contributed to the campaign had a chance to win a visit to the set of "Shark Tank." The contest closed in August and James Llonch won the grand prize.
Video courtesy of Chideo
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If you've never seen ABC's reality TV show "Shark Tank," here's how it works: Entrepreneurs pitch their idea, product, or service and make an offer to a panel of investors, also known as "Sharks," who ultimately decide to either invest, or pass on the opportunity to make a deal with each entrepreneur after explaining what they did or didn't like about the presentation.
As it turns out, this concept doesn't just make for good TV. It makes for a great business strategy.
NakedWines.com has implemented an "internal Shark Tank" competition in the office — and the company's marketing manager Ryan O'Connell says it has not only boosted company morale, but it's also brought "more impressive, out-of-the-box ideas to the table than any traditional marketing strategy we've had."
NakedWines.com is a privately funded online wine company that helps wine lovers "drink like the rich and the famous" by crowd-funding winemakers. It has over 200,000 customers, called Angels, who invest directly in winemakers by setting aside $40 per month, all of which goes towards their next purchase. The company invests these funds in top-tier winemakers around the world to make wine exclusively for NakedWines.com.
O'Connell says about two years ago, as NakedWines.com was really beginning to grow, "it was still possible to grab a drink after work with the CEO or your manager, but not everybody was comfortable doing that."
So they knew they had to have a formal process for people to present their thoughts to the rest of the company. "And the trick was how we could do it without becoming corporate or bureaucratic," he explains. "The idea of internal Shark Tank was awesome because it kept things fun, added a bit of competition, and gave people a clear opportunity to speak to the whole company about their ideas. Even if the ideas hadn't worked out, it was already a success the minute we saw the pitches had an audience. Everybody was excited to hear each other's ideas and the pitches were plentiful."
O'Connell describes "internal Shark Tank" as a competition in the company where every single employee has a voice to pitch an idea that has the potential to improve the business. "We know everybody in this company can have a game-changing idea. This is our chance to hear their ideas and pair the more junior team members with folks who can bring their ideas to life."
Each presenter pitches an idea, and its effect on customers, to a voting panel which picks out the best ideas to fund and pursue.
The winning pitchers are also paired with mentors who will help them build a business plan, talk to everybody in the company that will help implement their vision, and carry out the plan, he says. "And when the plan is put in motion, we party. Most of what we do ends with a party."
He says this competition is so important because the people who spend the most time with customers often have the least input with senior management, "and that's a travesty because contact with your customer is going to be what generates your best ideas."
"Our 'customer happiness' (also known as customer service) team is in the perfect position to know what customers actually want. We try very hard to communicate across all teams," he explains. "This is a perfect example of letting everybody in your company have the ear of the CEO. And it works the other way around too. If the CEO has a big idea to change the direction of the business, he needs to get buy-in from the whole business, explaining why we're doing what we're doing. If the people actually implementing the CEO's vision don't believe in his idea, we know it won't work. So we all try to listen to each other as much as possible."
So far, O'Connell says, NakesWines.com has seen at least a handful of game-changing ideas come out of internal Shark Tank.
For instance, after hearing a pitch for the idea, NakedWines.com recently launched "text for wine" which allows any customer to order wine with a simple text message. "They can be as detailed as they like or just text 'favorites pls' and we'll happily put an order together based on what they've rated and bought in the past." O'Connell says the response has been overwhelmingly positive, showing that the company's team members really do know what their customers want.
"Internal Shark Tank has been a stunning success and we can't wait to see what ideas come out of the next round," he concludes.
Before people knew him as an investor on "Shark Tank," Daymond John made his millions from FUBU – a clothing line he launched with his friends in the early '90s. So, it's safe to say that Daymond John knows a thing or two about fashion. The dapper Shark Tank investor and Moguls Mobile founder tells us how you should dress for success.
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To nine-year-old Barbara Corcoran, the neighbor's new cement retainer wall was glorious.
Her Edgewater, New Jersey, neighborhood was low on frills, so this wall was an eye-catching luxury. Recognizing it as a billboard, Corcoran went over with a stick she found on the street and wrote her name in neat block letters across the wet cement.
Her neighbor, of course, didn't need to do any detective work to figure out who ruined her property. Because Corcoran's mother couldn't afford to replace the wall, Corcoran said she was forced to spend the summer as the neighbor's "slave."
When Business Insider recently spoke to Corcoran at this year's Canon Expo New York, where she was promoting Canon's Maxify line of printers, she said this story holds much more significance to her than being just a funny childhood memory.
Corcoran, who grew up as one of 10 children, said it was the first time she realized that she wanted to be known by the public. Looking back, the cement defilement was too blatant and thus bad PR, but it triggered something within her.
Years later, she became known as the "Queen of New York Real Estate" as the founder of the Corcoran Group. She established a reputation for her firm in a highly competitive market by writing intensive collections of real estate statistics and analysis called The Corcoran Report. After publishing the first one in 1981, the reports became the go-to guides for brokers, buyers, and journalists in New York real estate, and with Corcoran's name in the title, they began to take notice of her and her company.
"Reporters depend on statistics for stories,"she told Inc. earlier this year. "I figured if I could dole them out, I'd always get quoted."
She also developed a penchant for press stunts. She once staged a faux-exorcism of an apartment as well as a dog-training class for residents of one of the apartment buildings she had properties in, inviting reporters to both.
"And then it was me tying my tails onto anything in New York that was of notoriety," she said, framing this tactic as the professional version of scrawling her name across her neighbor's wall.
For example, when Hillary Clinton ran for the New York State Senate in 2000, Corcoran had her company write up a report on all of the Manhattan properties they recommended for Clinton, tailored to preferences regarding the best buildings to catch a helicopter on or that had prime spots for waving to fans.
"Ridiculous stuff," Corcoran said, laughing. "But I got publicity, publicity, publicity. And my big mouth got me the market."
Corcoran has been retired from the real estate business since selling her firm 13 years ago, and has been a full-time investor and media personality since joining the inaugural season of "Shark Tank" in 2009.
She said it doesn't benefit her business to promote herself in the same way it used to, and that's why she passes her marketing skills on to the entrepreneurs she works with. When they succeed, she succeeds.
Her version of the Corcoran Report today is the "Shark Tank" update, a segment in each episode where investors show off how successful one of their investments has become. While the producers decide which ones to film, it's up to the Sharks to pitch them on why their company would make a great segment for a particular episode. "I'm the queen of updates," Corcoran said. "I know how to pitch an update better than anybody!"
Talking about the updates again reminded Corcoran of writing her name across her neighbor's wall as a child. "I wanted to be known," she said. "I was so happy. A long, clean board!"
We gave Barbara a chance to create her perfect cast and tell us what's the one investment she regrets missing on the show.
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Hundreds of entrepreneurs have pitched their companies on "Shark Tank" since the show debuted in 2009, but some of the most memorable pitches are the worst ones.
They stand out for different reasons. In some, the products are totally infeasible. In others, the entrepreneurs are completely unprepared or so arrogant they don't have a grip on reality.
In anticipation of the seventh season premiere on Sept. 25, we've gathered the Sharks' least favorite presentations as well as our own picks for the worst pitches in the show's history.
Vestpakz, Season 6
When Arthur Grayer and Michael Wooley walked into the Tank seeking $50,000 for 10% of their children's backpack alternative company Vestpakz, the only thing going for them was a couple of cute little kids modeling the product. Wooley's daughter invented the product when she was 12, and he made a licensing deal with Grayer in 2013, landing the product in 75 Walmart stores.
The annual sales of $10,000 were anemic, especially with the context of being in Walmart, but the Sharks were intrigued by the story of Wooley's daughter, who won an entrepreneurship competition and even made it onto Oprah Winfrey's talk show.
The catch: All that happened in 2003, and Wooley's daughter was now 27. The investors exploded in laughter at the revelation. The guys didn't get a deal.
BedRyder, Season 6
BedRyder chief marketer George Conway asked the Sharks for $200,000 in exchange for 15% equity in his company, which makes safety seats for the backs of pickup trucks. To Conway's credit, he's a great salesman and he was animated and fun as he demonstrated the product on a pickup. But his answers to the investors' most important questions left them shaking their heads.
For example, when Lori Greiner asked him if it had undergone crash testing, Conway replied, "Honestly, yes! I have done my own. By accident." The Sharks liked Conway as a person, but the myriad of things that could go wrong with the deal cause them all to back out. "When you leave the Tank, I want you to take that truck and drive it off a cliff," Kevin O'Leary told him.
Tycoon Real Estate, Season 6
Unfortunately for Tycoon Real Estate founder and CEO Aaron McDaniel, the Sharks not only hated the product idea but some of them hated the entrepreneur behind it. McDaniel pitched his real estate crowdfunding service as a way for average people to invest in real estate. He failed to convince the Sharks that it was a safe model and that he was someone to be trusted with money.
Mark Cuban yelled that the idea was "scammy," Barbara Corcoran thought it was "spooky," and O'Leary — who was actually interested in making a deal — asked McDaniel if he had a criminal record. In the same way "Shark Tank" can make a company, it can break one, too.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
"Shark Tank" co-star Robert Herjavec is a Croatian-born Canadian businessman, investor, and spokesman for Small Business Revolution. We asked him about Donald Trump and his stance on immigration.
To learn more about Small Business Revolution, visit them online.
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