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The latest news on Shark Tank from Business Insider

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    shark tank scholly

    In the latest episode of "Shark Tank," Christopher Gray, the cofounder and CEO of scholarship database company Scholly, left the Tank with a big smile. He'd just gotten the exact deal he wanted with two Sharks, Lori Greiner and Daymond John.

    The investors, on the other hand, weren't so happy. Left by themselves, a yelling match ensued that caused Robert Herjavec, Kevin O'Leary, and Mark Cuban to walk off the set in disgust.

    The Sharks regularly battle each other for deals, but it was the first time a fight got personal. We asked Greiner and Gray to break down exactly what happened and provide their perspectives on the events.

    In the season six segment, Gray walks into the Tank asking for $40,000 for 15% of his company. He explains that $100 million in scholarships go unused every year, and that Scholly is a simple smartphone app that matches students with hundreds of higher education scholarships they can apply for, tailored to their demographic and home state.

    Gray and his two siblings were raised in Birmingham, Alabama by a single mom with a low income. Budgeting was so tight that despite his high GPA and test scores, he could not apply everywhere he wanted to for college due to application fees. But with some digging, he was able to get a whopping $1.3 million in scholarships, including a full ride from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    He enrolled at Drexel University and built Scholly with web developers Nick Pirollo and Bryson Alef. It's been less than a year and the Scholly team has had 92,000 app downloads for 99 cents each.

    scholly

    Every investor is interested, and John and Herjavec, who both grew up poor, tell Gray they can relate to him and admire his tenacity.

    Greiner makes an offer in what seems like a few minutes into Gray's pitch. She tells Business Insider it was actually about 10 minutes in real time, before editing. Either way, it's very fast for the show, where it usually takes about an hour for all of the investors to decide if they want to make a deal or not.

    "You know what, Christopher?" Greiner says. "I'm going to do something I've never done before. I haven't heard a whole lot, but I'm going to make you an offer right now." She offers exactly what Gray had asked for — $40,000 for 15% equity.

    Cuban, frustrated, asks Greiner if he can first ask some real questions to learn about the company.

    Greiner stays focused on Gray. "I believe in you. I believe in what you're doing," she says, which gets the other investors visibly perturbed.

    Gray expresses his appreciation but says he still wants to hear what everyone else has to say. Greiner clarifies that she's not even going to ask how he plans on scaling the company and making a profit.

    Seeing how aggressive she's being, John jumps in and says he wants to invest because it's "personal" for him. He wasn't able to go to college, he says, because he lacked funds and needed to support his family, and he wants to help give others an alternative. He and Greiner eventually decide to split the offer 50/50. Gray says he'd still like to hear from the others.

    Herjavec, the founder of a large cyber security firm, and Cuban, a serial tech entrepreneur and investor, understand the smartphone app business very well and want to know more about how Scholly's algorithm works and what the developers' skillsets are.

    It's also deeply concerning for them and O'Leary to discover that there are only between 10,000 and 20,000 scholarships in Scholly's database. Cuban and Herjavec need to know more to determine if they can scale the business. Greiner starts talking over them to say she and John don't even care about those questions. John sticks with her and says they'll figure it out as they go, and work with the other "Roberts and Mark Cubans of the world" to help them.

    Greiner tells Gray that he needs to make a decision right now or she's out. He happily takes the deal.

    shark tank scholly

    After Gray exits the room, Cuban squirms in his chair, restraining himself from an outburst.

    Herjavec turns to the other investors and then locks his gaze on Greiner. "You know, when I had nothing and couldn't rub two pennies together, you know what I really hated?" he asks. "I hated when people wanted to give me a break because they felt bad for me."

    He adds that he thinks Gray is a great guy, but that neither Greiner nor John have any idea how the product they just invested in works.

    A fight follows, with the Sharks yelling and shouting over each other. Here's a synopsis of each of their positions in the brawl:

    • Lori Greiner: She did nothing out of pity. It can be worth taking a risk without much information because "sometimes it's about helping America and making the world a better place." Everyone else is angry because they were "scooped" out of a deal.
    • Robert Herjavec: Greiner is spouting trite nonsense. "We are not the Charity Tank."
    • Daymond John: Pity was not at all a factor. The numbers he saw were reassuring enough for him to commit to Gray, because his ultimate investment philosophy is to "bet on the person."
    • Kevin O'Leary: It comes down to whether you want to run a business or run a charity. He could not make an informed decision about whether Scholly could be a great business because Greiner wouldn't let Gray talk and "had to force $40,000 down his throat like a goose for pâté."
    • Mark Cuban: He finally refrains from biting his tongue after Greiner accuses him of being jealous. If you really want to help the guy, then learn about his business before throwing money at him, he says. Otherwise just get up and give him $100,000 for the sake of making the world a better place.

    Herjavec turns to Greiner. "You know what? You're really pissing me off right now. I'm going to say something rude to you, and I don't want to say something rude to you, so I'm just going to go. Because there was no need to do something like that. You're smarter than that." He leaves the room.

    Greiner doesn't back down from her position. O'Leary and Cuban grab their belongings and walk out of the room as Greiner keeps talking and John stays behind.

    After the premiere on Friday, the Shark not in attendance, Barbara Corcoran, noted on Twitter that she also would have walked out on Greiner and John if she were present.

    "In regards to the Shark fight," Greiner tells Business Insider, "every Shark has a unique approach to business. We're like a family, and we are not always going to agree."

    In a previous interview, John said that in the Tank, "it's all in the moment. And in the moment, it does get personal here and there. None of it is for the camera." He adds: "There is real stuff at stake. There's real money, and there are also real egos."

    Greiner explains her decision to invest in Scholly:

    Within about 10 minutes of Scholly's pitch to the Sharks, I had heard enough to know that Scholly was already doing well, and it was clear Chris was a very smart entrepreneur. I didn't need to hear a lot more; the algorithm was already working, and I knew going forward anything else we could figure out together. It was shocking to learn that $100 million in scholarships go unused each year. I wanted to get behind Scholly to help bring these scholarships and aspiring students together.

    schollyAs for Gray? He enjoyed watching the post-pitch drama unfold during the episode's premiere on ABC, and he couldn't be happier with the deal he got. He says that he wasn't shaken by the accusation from Herjavec, O'Leary, and Cuban that Greiner and John were taking pity on him, since he could have addressed any questions regarding his app's backend and growth potential.

    "I could have easily answered any questions Mark, Robert, or Kevin asked, so their opinions did not bother me," he says. "However, Daymond and Lori gave me exactly what I asked for and were willing to go in together. They are savvy investors who saw Scholly's potential right from the start and those are the sorts of investors I want."

    As for the business, Scholly shot up to No. 1 in the iTunes app store following the premiere of the episode. Greiner says that the team has "just re-launched an enhanced website and the database is fully up to date and growing."

    Gray says that Greiner and John have "already made some incredible introductions and added a lot of value to Scholly."

    And being the center of the biggest Shark fight yet doesn't bother him.

    "I wasn't in a bad position, but a good one," he says. "I loved it, and I am really happy about the outcome!"

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Kevin O'Leary assigns almost everyone one of 5 money personalities

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Mark Cuban: This Is My Most Successful Investment Ever


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    Shark Tank

    Entrepreneurs who land a spot on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” get the chance of a lifetime: to showcase their products to more than 7 million viewers and pitch their businesses to a panel of potential investors.

    And if an investor, or Shark, likes their ideas, they try to negotiate offers and seal the deals with golden handshakes.

    More than 500 businesses have been pitched on the show over five seasons (“Shark Tank” is currently in its sixth season), but more than 50% of the ideas that are given the green light on the air don’t end up closing the deal when the cameras turn off, according to The Richest.com.

    Related: How "Shark Tank’s" Mark Cuban became a big fish

    The lucky few who have landed a coveted handshake from Sharks, such as Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran or Lori Greiner, form invaluable business partnerships and gain exposure that hopefully leads to a big boost in sales.

    If you’re a fan of the show and have ever wondered what resulted from some of the more successful “Shark Tank” pitches, then read on.

    Scrub Daddy

    Creator: Aaron Krause

    Shark: Lori Greiner

    Deal: $200,000 for 20% of the business

    Concept: Scrub Daddy is a smiley face-shaped sponge that can outlast many average sponges. It also comes in a lemon scent and multiple colors. Scrub Daddy products can be used to clean household or outdoor items, as well as cars and boats. Its unique design tackles hard-to reach-places, like the bottom of a mug or shower corners, and won’t scratch delicate surfaces.

    Where are they now: After Greiner made the deal with Krause for 20%, Scrub Daddy became the biggest “Shark Tank” success to date, reports Business Insider. When Krause landed a spot on “Shark Tank,” his company was struggling, reaching only $100,000 in sales in 18 months.

    Since its television debut, Scrub Daddy has raked in more than $18 million. Consumers can buy the product on QVC and in retail stores such as Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. Krause is on a mission to “reinvent the sponge,” and the Scrub Daddy line has expanded to include various sizes.

    In an interview with GOBankingRates, Krause shared a few tips on how other entrepreneurs can perfect their pitches. “Proper planning prevents poor performance,” he said. “Before I went on ‘Shark Tank,’ I watched every episode twice and created a flow chart of potential questions based off each Shark’s personality. There wasn’t a single question I wasn’t prepared for.”

    Krause gave another important piece of advice for when it’s time to present the pitch: “It’s important to come across as confident, not arrogant though. You want to act like a person someone wants to do business with.”

    Related: Discover the 6 unexpected ways spring cleaning will save you money



    Hold Your Haunches

    Creator: Erin Bickley & Jenny Greer

    Shark: Barbara Corcoran & Lori Greiner

    Deal: $75,000 (plus a $100,000 credit line) for 40% of the business

    Concept: Defining itself as “shapewear redefined,” Hold Your Haunches is a fashion trouser that has an extendable waistband and integrated compression shell that extends from the waist down to the calf. This two-layer shapewear system shapes and smooths the customer’s figure on the inside while remaining hidden by an outer layer of pants.

    Where are they now: In the year leading up to its “Shark Tank” appearance, the company only had $165,000 in sales, reports the Daily Mail. Just six months after the episode aired, Hold Your Haunches saw more than $1.5 million in profits.

    When asked about the product’s surprising success, Greiner told GOBankingRates, “The Hold Your Haunches product helps women feel better about their bodies in leggings. Who doesn’t want to look and feel better in their clothes? Plus, [Bickley and Greer] are real hustlers at getting the job at task done. That combination wins.”



    Chordbuddy

    Creator: Travis Perry

    Shark: Robert Herjavec

    Deal: $175,000 for 20% of the business

    Concept: Music teacher Travis Perry created ChordBuddy for his daughter, a novice guitar player. The device attaches to the neck of an acoustic or electric guitar and has colored tabs that help beginners learn the chords. Perry’s daughter learned how to play so quickly that he knew he had a hit product on his hands.

    Where are they now: ChordBuddy started with $150,000 in sales during its first month before “Shark Tank.” In late 2014, Business Insider reported the company was on track to bring in $2 million in sales and had even secured John Rich, from the popular country duo Big and Rich, as a company spokesperson.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    smart baker

    NEW YORK (AP) — With the cameras rolling, Daniel and Stephanie Rensing accepted an offer from a "Shark Tank" investor.

    But after they had time to think about it, they changed their minds.

    Annual revenue for their company, The Smart Baker, is close to $1 million, up from $130,000 before their March 2012 appearance on the ABC reality TV show.

    "Not doing the deal and having that exposure was probably the best scenario for us," says Daniel Rensing, CEO of the Rockledge, Florida, company which sells aprons, parchment paper and other baking equipment.

    Dreams of investor money have induced more than 150,000 businesses to apply to be contestants on "Shark Tank," where entrepreneurs pitch to cast members including Barbara Corcoran, founder of a prominent New York real estate brokerage; Daymond John, founder of the clothing company FUBU; and Robert Herjavec, founder of the technology conglomerate Herjavec Group.

    Entrepreneurs may be all smiles when they get an offer on the show, but the deals aren't set in stone. Negotiations start soon after episodes are taped. Contestants can walk away if they don't like the terms.

    "When we shake hands on a potential deal on Shark Tank, the romance runs high and everyone's excited about what could be," Corcoran says. "In the end, the entrepreneur is in charge."

    During the first five seasons, 374 contestants appeared on TV and investors made 190 offers, according to ABC. Forty-eight contestants turned down offers during taping, executive producer Clay Newbill says. They haven't tracked how many deals fell apart during negotiations.

    The producers ask entrepreneurs and investors to make their best efforts to close deals, Newbill says.

    "But we understand, just as in the real world, the reality is that not all deals will close," he says.

    Second Thoughts

    Corcoran offered $75,000 for 40% of The Smart Baker, and a 5% sales royalty, during the 2011 taping. During negotiations the Rensings, disagreed with Corcoran about the target market.

    "We were sticking to our guns on the market we served," Rensing says.

    Corcoran says she was disappointed, but she knows a rejection is an occupational hazard on "Shark Tank."

    "Nobody likes to be turned down, especially me," she says.

    The Smart Baker has thrived without her money. In the following year, revenue grew to $600,000. The episode also helped the company get noticed by Food Network and other media. Reruns provide a sales bump.

    But a "Shark Tank" deal isn't just about money; it also brings expertise and mentoring from a pro. The Rensings don't dwell on what they might have missed by not sticking with Corcoran.

    "There is always the 'what ifs,' but we don't let that get to us," Daniel Rensing says.

    The Right Move?

    Some contestants may turn down offers because they feel there are more important things than getting investors, says Matthew Rutherford, an entrepreneurship professor at Oklahoma State University who has studied "Shark Tank" pitches.

    "What they crave over everything including money and wealth is autonomy," Rutherford says.

    Entrepreneurs who appear on the show are likely hoping for both a cash infusion and control of their companies, says Harvard Business School professor Noam Wasserman. But the money doesn't guarantee success, and having an investor may be an unpleasant experience.

    "You could end up with the worst of both worlds," he says.

    Not Afraid To Say No

    When Mona Weiss and Scott Shields pitched their company, Eco Nuts, on an episode that aired in October 2012, Herjavec offered $175,000 for 50%. Weiss and Shields, who wanted to sell a 15% stake for that amount, said no on the spot.

    "It was a terrible deal, really awful. No one would give up half their company for less than they make in a year," Weiss says. The Lawndale, California, company, which makes laundry detergent from berries, was on track for $250,000 in revenue in 2012.

    A spokeswoman for Herjavec, Erin McLean, says he does not comment on deals or offers that are closed.

    Some people told Weiss and Shields they were foolish.

    "They said, 'it was a lot of money, you should have taken that,'" Weiss says.

    But being on "Shark Tank" put Eco Nuts on a faster track to its current success. Revenue, now over $1 million, grew so much the company moved to manufacturing space five times bigger than its original factory.

    ____

    Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg

    This article was written by Joyce M. Rosenberg from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

    SEE ALSO: The 9 most successful 'Shark Tank' businesses

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do


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    How do you balance your professional life with your personal life? How do you focus on your family while putting as much energy into your career?

    Barbara Corcoran of ABC's "Shark Tank" believes there is a large discrepancy in work-life balance for men and women. While it is a lot more difficult for women, there are key things that can be done to separate your time at the office from your time at home.

    Produced by Sam Rega

    Follow BI Video: On Facebook

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    mark cuban mavericks shark tank Ryan Naylor may have walked away from the Shark Tank set without a dime of funding and a scoff from Mark Cuban, but — perhaps more importantly — he took home invaluable life lessons that will stick with him forever.

    At Phoenix Startup Week on Tuesday, Naylor shared his dramatic experience from three years ago on the popular ABC show Shark Tank, which invites entrepreneurs to pitch in front of a group of investors who have the opportunity to provide capital in exchange for equity.

    Before appearing on national television in February 2012, Naylor had spent the previous year selling thousands of his Esso Watches, which used negative ion technology that was made popular by NBA players and supposedly improved decision-making and balance.

    The idea for Esso Watches came about after Naylor saw people wearing something similar on their wrists while traveling in Italy. However, the U.S. market didn’t have something like it quite yet. Naylor spent nights and weekends developing his new business and ended up selling thousands and thousands of units.

    He made the cut for Shark Tank and was invited to Hollywood to pitch his idea. Still, it was unclear that he’d actually present to the investors.

    “They leave this hope in your heart that you’ll get there at any moment, but even before the double doors, you may not actually see the sharks,” Naylor explained. “You can imagine how difficult it is to prepare, because you don’t want to get too caught up in the experience and not have it come through. But I had a lot of confidence in my product because of the opportunity in front of me.”

    Ryan Naylor speaks at Phoenix Startup Week.Just minutes before Naylor walked in front of the 15 cameras on the Shark Tank set, the producers threw a curveball and told him to ask Kevin O’Leary, one of the most critical sharks, to demo the watch.

    Up until that point, Naylor was told that he’d be working with Lori Greiner, perhaps the most optimistic and supportive investors on the show. He’d spent four months preparing to do so.

    “The entire time I was planning on doing the demo with Laurie, because the producers told me that she’d be the most accommodating to give a pleasant review on stage,” Naylor said. “All of a sudden, I’m told to work with [O’Leary], who is never the most pleasant of the sharks.”

    Naylor shows Laurie Greiner his product on Shark Tank.

    His mind racing, Naylor nervously walked onto the Shark Tank carpet and introduced his product. Within 20 seconds, another curveball came flying in.

    “This is a scam,” quipped Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner. “I know it.”

    Despite the early criticism, Naylor kept his poise and started the pitch. As instructed, he asked O’Leary to come on stage to try the watch. The investor, however, didn’t cooperate with the instructions Naylor was giving that would effectively demonstrate the watch.

    “I told him, ‘If you’re not willing to accommodate me, maybe I should ask someone else to help,” Naylor recalled. “Then, he goes, ‘Maybe your product doesn’t work.’ My heart is just racing, thinking to myself, what did that executive producer set me up for when he told me to ask [O’Leary] instead of [Greiner]? That was so frustrating, all those months of preparation and here I was completely devastated.”

    Eventually, Naylor was able to demo the watch with Greiner, who noted how she felt a difference after wearing it. But the damage had been done, and the other sharks continued to lambast his product and idea.

    “All through this experience, I had this calming feeling,” Naylor said. “I realized that these sharks had no intention to do a deal with me. They obviously knew the story before I walked in and had prepped for what I was going to do and say. They had the perfect rebuttals.”

    None of the sharks decided to invest in Naylor’s company as he walked off the stage without any financial backing. If you watch what ABC actually showed on air, the investors criticize Naylor for not defending himself or the idea enough.

    “He’s not a fighter,” Greiner said.

    This moment ended up teaching Naylor a valuable lesson about passion.

    “One thing that became very relevant to me while standing on the Sony Studios set in California was, where was my passion?” Naylor said. “I didn’t even care to defend myself. I didn’t even care to defend the technology. …I realized I didn’t have a passion for it. I decided to come back from that experience to find something I was really passionate about.”

    Naylor realized he was passionate about helping people find work based on his experiences trying to make money as a teenager. He ended up creating an employment platform called LocalWork.com that gave people a way to land jobs that fit their own passions and values.

    Naylor ended up closing Esso Watches post-Shark Tank after cutting a deal with Exxon Mobil, who claimed a copyright over the name “Esso.” The LocalWork founder, who noted that only 5 percent of Shark Tank entrepreneurs who get investment on air actually end up with a check afterward, implored entrepreneurs to focus on their passions, not just random opportunities.

    “Are you acting like Ryan Naylor on a carpet, getting attacked, just defending an opportunity?” he asked the crowd at Startup Week. “Or do you really see a future driven by passion? My belief is those hardships will come and passion will be our driver to overcome them.”

    Would Naylor ever pitch again on Shark Tank?

    “In a heartbeat,” he said. “But I would take what I learned and not just talk about numbers and opportunities. I would make sure my product and messaging is completely aligned with my passion and goals.”

    SEE ALSO: Marissa Mayer: I don't think gender is relevant in the tech industry

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do


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    boobypack

    So, you are one of the 50,000+ people who have applied to be on "Shark Tank," season 7.

    Casting emailed you back and asked for a 5-minute pitch video. Then they asked you to try again with more “pep.”

    Countless Red Bulls, pump-up speeches and sleepless nights later, two producers called you separately, without warning, and grilled you about your business.

    Finally you’ve gotten the call. They’re flying you to LA for the taping!!!!! #%^$*@^#%@&!

    This is not a guarantee you’ll make it on the show. They film about 50 more entrepreneurs than they can fit into the season, but you try not to think about that now.

    You’re in sunny California, staying at the Four Points Sheraton with a couple bus-loads of other hopeful entrepreneurs (who you’ve been instructed not to speak to­­­) and you’re feeling … nervous.

    Tensions are high. Your palms are sweaty. TOMORROW is pitch day. You’re wondering to yourself, “Is the light at the end of the tunnel just a train?”

    Hang in there and read these five tips from someone who knows what you’re going through.

    1. Keep your answers short

    While they cut each entrepreneur’s airtime to around 8 minutes, the actual Q&A grilling session lasts much longer. I was up there for 45-50 minutes, which means there were a LOT of chances for me to screw up. If you keep your answers short and to the point, you won’t expose any weaknesses.

    2. Have a game plan

    One of the most nerve-racking parts of being in front of the sharks is having to negotiate with them. If you go into the tank with a clear game plan, the negotiating part will be a lot easier to navigate.

    I went in knowing that I was gunning for Barbara, that I would not take a royalty deal, and that I was willing to raise my equity offer to 25% for the right shark. If I hadn't known that, I would have been shark bait.

    3. Know your body

    If you're someone who sweats a lot, wear black. If you blush or get nervous hives (like me!) wear a high neckline and a lot of concealer.

    Your producers will ask you to wear bright colors but I'd risk disappointing them on pitch day if it means saving face later.

    4. Take Tylenol PM

    After you've prepared like crazy, it will be hard for you to get a good night's sleep, but being rested before pitch day is SO important. Maybe a warm glass of milk is more your thing. You do you, just make sure you sleep.

    5. Laugh

    One of my best friends Catie came along as my model, and I was SO grateful she was there with me.

    After so much preparation, you're in danger of turning into a robot on set. Hopefully you can bring someone with you who is going to peel you away from your computer and make you laugh.

    But if you can't, video chat a friend from home, your mom, your sister, someone who will remind you that you're human and that they'll still love you regardless of what happens.

    CC is a 26-year-old Georgetown University graduate and founder of Boobypack— a sportswear company that makes the one and only fannypack for your rack. She pitched her business on the Katie Couric show and won a $10,000 prize for female entrepreneurship. Most recently, she got a deal with Barbara Corcoran on ABC's 'Shark Tank.'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do


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    shark tank taaluma

    Outside of ABC's "Shark Tank" or one of its international affiliates, entrepreneurs are not going to find themselves pitching their company to a panel of five charismatic investors competing against each other.

    And while that made-for-TV situation may be unique, the principles for what makes a "Shark Tank" pitch successful apply to any more traditional setting, as well.

    Author Michael Parrish DuDell asked the executive producers of "Shark Tank," Mark Burnett and Clay Newbill, what every entrepreneur should know before walking into the Tank and settled on 10 tips included in his book "Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business: How to Launch and Grow a Business from Concept to Cash."

    We're explaining them below with additional insight from the Sharks themselves and other experts.

    1. Clearly and succinctly explain what your business is.

    Though a segment on the show lasts around 10 minutes, entrepreneurs typically spend about an hour with the investors. But they have under two minutes to hook the Sharks, investor Kevin O'Leary says.

    You need to articulate that there's a problem your company is solving, and that there is an opportunity for an investor to make a ton of money after it shortly scales in size. You need to instill a "fear of missing out,"as renowned Silicon Valley investor Chris Sacca puts it.

    "If you look at the common thread in all of the companies that got financed...," O'Leary says, they're all "able to articulate the opportunity in 90 seconds or less."

    2. Know your numbers.

    O'Leary says that he's seen countless pitches fall apart as soon as an entrepreneur is asked about revenues, expenses, profits, manufacturing costs, projections, and everything in between.

    "If you don't understand your basic numbers, you're going to fail," investor Robert Herjavec says.

    3. Research each of the Sharks.

    "Do your homework and uncover everything you can about each of their personal and professional histories," DuDell writes. "The more information you have, the more targeted your pitch can be."

    Knowing, for example, that investors Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec are both extremely well-versed in tech development and prefer coaching to a hands-on approach to their investments, while Daymond John and Lori Greiner are retail experts who enjoy working directly on product and packaging design, can help you tailor your pitch to an ideal partner.

    4. Prepare for all the potential questions you can think of.

    Each of the Sharks have told us how much they admire entrepreneurs who can roll with the punches, and don't flinch at the most difficult questions.

    Barbara Corcoran tells us that in six seasons of "Shark Tank," the best pitch she's seen has been from Cousins Maine Lobster cofounders Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis.

    "They were smart enough before they came on 'Shark Tank' — I haven't seen it before and I haven't seen it since — they watched all four seasons of 'Shark Tank' before they came on," Corcoran says. "They role-played. They worked on every objection any Shark had ever asked an entrepreneur. Reams of paper. And they practiced the answers."

    5. Be honest.

    DuDell writes that being a conniving salesman is a guaranteed path to failure with the investors.

    "If you don't have an answer to a particular question, it's better to be truthful and look unprepared than it is to make something up," he writes. "Don't forget, there's a lengthy due diligence process once the deal is made."

    shark tank cast

    6. Explain your growth plan.

    A great product is not enough to win an investor over. An investment in a business isn't an act of charity, O'Leary explains, and investors need to know how exactly their money is going to make them even more.

    While not every successful "Shark Tank" product has to be revolutionary, Cuban says that the best thing an entrepreneur can do to grab his attention is to have an "operating company that has started to get real traction in a new industry that has a ton of upside."

    7. Point out your weaknesses.

    Every business has a weakness, and if you pretend it doesn't exist, the investors will discover it and use it against you, DuDell writes. You can, however, embrace your weaknesses and failures in a strategic way.

    It's related to honesty, John explains. "Tell me about the problems as much as you tell about the opportunities, and how you may have solved some of the problems," the Shark says.

    8. Communicate why you are uniquely qualified to run the business and why it's better than the competition.

    "We're not investing in companies," John says, "we're investing in people. There's nothing that we've seen, that you will ever see, that is brand new. It's always going to be a new form of delivery or a new angle on it."

    The investors are looking for someone who is not disposable, at the head of a company that has a "compelling differentiator," DuDell writes. "What you must prove is that there's something special that sets your business apart."

    9. Be confident.

    "From the moment you walk into the room, be cognizant of how you're presenting yourself," DuDell writes.

    Before giving your pitch, practice effective public speaking techniques, utilizing body language and voice inflection to engage the investors. And let your personality shine through.

    Joshua Rinaldi, the president of the public speaking club, New York Toastmasters, says that the fear of presenting in front of an audience dissipates with consistent practice.

    10. Be appreciative.

    Whether you get a deal or not, be appreciative and grateful, DuDell writes. You'll eventually be in front of 10 million prime time viewers and have a shot at gaining a high-profile, well-networked investor onto your side.

    O'Leary says that "the entrepreneur is standing in a very valuable spot when they're presenting," and he gets tremendously frustrated if they don't show this appreciation by being prepared and respectful.

    SEE ALSO: The 12 biggest 'Shark Tank' success stories

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    daymond john

    The dearth of available tech talent in the U.S. is a problem almost nobody seems able to solve, but that hasn't deterred "Shark Tank" host Daymond John. 

    On Thursday, the Fubu founder spoke to a packed audience at New York City continuing education company General Assembly about bridging the skills gap — which costs the U.S. economy $1.3 trillion every year — by increasing access to digital skills education.

    During the event, which was hosted by Capital One, General Assembly, and video training company Grovo, 10 individuals from underserved areas of the U.S. were presented with digital skills fellowships as a part of Capital One's Opportunity Fund.

    In an exclusive interview with Inc. at the event, John explained why all entrepreneurs — even himself — need mentors to educate them on everything from fashion trends to acquiring digital skills. 

    "Technology is moving so fast, and it's so vast, that having a mentor and someone who's teaching you the fundamentals — where things are going and how to move accurately and spend your time — is essential," he says. "That's where you have to start depending on some of the younger individuals who are really educated on where this space is going."

    While John acts as a mentor and strategic partner to the business owners he backs on "Shark Tank," he says they in turn provide him with valuable insights about digital trends.

    "I'm noticing how they're doing business and I'm applying it to my businesses," he says. "You can't move to the next series of your life or your company without [knowing] where we're going digitally." 

    A good example of how young people are using digital skills to launch fast-growing businesses comes from the most recent episode of "Shark Tank," when John and co-host Lori Greiner invested in scholarship app Scholly. Founded by college student Christopher Gray, the company helps teenagers find and apply for scholarships they might not otherwise know about.

    So what made John and Greiner invest in the company, aside from the fact that the app had gotten 100,000 downloads prior to Gray's appearance on the show?

    "All it was about was this kid being literate in the digital space to be able to aggregate all of these scholarships and put it on one platform," John says. "The information is out there. [He smartly figured out how to] go out and acquire it."

    SEE ALSO: If You Don't Have A Mentor, Then Good Luck Starting A Successful Career

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    Daymond John, an investor on "Shark Tank," sat down with Behind the Brand's Bryan Elliott. Daymond explains why he's so tough on entrepreneurs and why he recommends they keep their companies small. 

    WATCH MORE: Behind the Brand on YouTube

    Behind The Brand takes you behind the scenes at some of the coolest brands as well as talk with world-class thought leaders and entrepreneurs so you can get an inside look at how they do it.

    Follow Behind The Brand: On YouTube

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    daymond john

    As the founder of clothing line FUBU and an investor on the hit reality pitch show "Shark Tank," millions of Americans see Daymond John as an entrepreneurial mentor.

    Whether entrepreneurs are pitching to him on the show or elsewhere, John says that one of the most common questions he gets is if he can get their products into big-box stores like Walmart and Target.

    "There are so many things wrong with that question, and most people simply don't understand what needs to be in place before you even think about selling to large retailers like this," John writes in "An Entrepreneur's Retail Ready Checklist," a supplement to his upcoming eight-week online course, the Daymond John Academy.

    Here are the hard facts about getting a new product into a major retailer.

    Even the best connections don't guarantee anything.

    John says that some entrepreneurs think that he can call up someone at a store and immediately get a product stocked.

    "There's no magic phone number; there's no one-stop shop for retail success," he writes. "It simply doesn't work that way."

    Big retailers aren't for everybody.

    Some entrepreneurs equate securing a deal with a big-box retailer with massive success. But it can actually be a terrible idea.

    Large retail chains place massive orders and have low margins. Procter & Gamble can afford to test a new cleaning product in Bed Bath & Beyond locations, but a young company could be risking too much money by doing the same.

    Companies are typically down several million dollars before seeing a profit after a big order, and success can sometimes kill a business.

    When a company receives a purchase order (PO) from a large retailer, it could be an order for millions of dollars' worth of product. The company then quickly produces the order and the retailer agrees to pay for it within a negotiated amount of time, which John says is often 90 days. "That means you are out several million dollars for 90 days plus the time it took to manufacture and ship," John writes.

    If, within this period, the product is a great success, the retailer may place a second order, requiring another hefty investment before the first payment comes in. "This is called the 'float,' and it has killed many businesses that simply were not prepared and did not have enough operational cash," John writes.

    And if there's any problem with production or shipment and the retailer receives products that are irregular or damaged, then they have the right to send them back and not pay for them.

    Despite the risks, major retailers can make products hugely popular.

    John says that he doesn't always discourage entrepreneurs from eventually pursuing their dream of seeing their product in a Walmart, but he ensures that they're "retail ready" before making the leap.

    His "Retail Ready Checklist" includes an actual checklist of materials and questions entrepreneurs need to prepare for before meeting with a large retailer. You can sign up to be among the first to know when the Daymond John Academy online course begins at this link.

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Daymond John explains what he learned from losing $6 million

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    emazinglights

    When the investors first meet Brian Lim in the latest episode of "Shark Tank," he is wearing a giant cartoon headpiece and looks like a DJ ready to play to a bunch of ravers.

    But once the mask comes off, the investors see that Lim has built two electronic music lifestyle companies with more than $7 million in annual revenue from the ground up.

    Investor Robert Herjavec tells Lim that his focus, passion, and vision are exceptional. "Look, Brian, you're the real deal, man," Herjavec says. "You are probably one of the, if not the best entrepreneur we've had here."

    The Sharks get into a feeding frenzy, and every investor makes an offer. Lim ends up making a $650,000 deal with Mark Cuban and Daymond John. Here's a breakdown of the pitch, including Lim's insights into the deal.

    Lim, a native of Anaheim, California, enters the Tank seeking a $650,000 investment in exchange for a 5% equity stake in his businesses, the "gloving" company EmazingLights and the rave-apparel-maker iHeartRaves. The former is his flagship company, which he started in 2010 with just $100, and produces gloves with programmable LED lights built into the fingertips. He built iHeartRaves in 2013 to further tap the dance culture industry.

    His girlfriend introduced him to the practice, which is essentially creating a light show with your hands, in 2010 at an electronic dance music (EDM) show, and he was hooked. Lim says he had always wanted to be an entrepreneur but didn't know what kind of company he wanted to create until he fell in love with gloving.

    gloving

    He saw an opportunity to take charge of this niche industry and filed for patents on premium-grade glove lighting. He left his job as an analyst at Deloitte the next year.

    Some EDM concert promoters have banned gloving in the past, but Lim takes the practice very seriously and even considers it a sport.

    He created the International Gloving Championship through EmazingLights, and it has helped him make his company synonymous with gloving. EmazingLights has 80% market share, and he tells the Sharks that he guarantees that his four or five competitors "do not operate on the same level."

    Lim's companies have grossed over $13 million and together made $7.4 million in revenue in 2014. He tells the investors he wants to make EmazingLights a billion-dollar company.

    The Sharks are intrigued. We've summarized the fight for a deal:

    • Kevin O'Leary: Worried about the possibility of gloving being a fad, but very impressed with Lim's work ethic. Will loan $650,000 in exchange for 3% equity. Lim respectfully declines because he's looking for a hands-on partner.
    • Daymond John: Will get high-level licensing deals, and can get into stores like Spencer's and Party City, if desired. Will give $650,000 for 20% of money made from licensing deals.
    • Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner: Are hugely impressed by his performance and drive, and want to be important members of his team. Will invest $1 million for 8% equity. 
    • Mark Cuban and John: Cuban joins John's deal. Cuban will give $650,000 for 5% equity and will handle strategy and get EmazingLights performances into the Dallas Mavericks' halftime shows. John will take licensing duties and take 20% commission. "So you have the sports guy and the kinda music/fashion guy who's going to work with you, or you have the Queen of QVC and the security guy," John says, taunting Greiner and Herjavec.
    • Herjavec and Greiner: Together have an international retail network and can also get EmazingLights into arenas. Offering $1 million for 5% equity.

    Ultimately, Lim makes a deal with Cuban and John. 

    emazinglights"Although I respect and admire all of the Sharks for what they have accomplished in business, I just felt that Daymond's brand-building experience and Mark's familiarity with technology and e-commerce were a such great fit for EmazingLights that the difference on the valuation for a 5% stake was irrelevant in the long-term," Lim tells Business Insider.

    "I gotta tell ya," Herjavec says in the Tank, "I hate losing that one." He tosses a glove onto the table in front of him.

    In the days after the episode's premiere, Lim says traffic to his e-commerce sites surged to "record levels" and that the company has received "a huge number of wholesale and licensed store inquiries."

    Lim and his team are now looking to acquire regional, national, and international business partners to make the International Gloving Competition more popular.

    "Holding over 80% of the worldwide gloving market means the burden of growing the competitive gloving market is on our shoulders, but we are excited to face the challenges ahead with two new Sharks on our team," Lim says.

    SEE ALSO: 10 things every entrepreneur should know before going on 'Shark Tank'

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    NOW WATCH: Here’s the real reason why 'Shark Tank' investors get impatient


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    mark cuban st patricks day

    A few years ago, the organizers of Dallas' annual St. Patrick's Day parade were on the verge of having to cancel the event when 2012's main sponsor, Budweiser, pulled out just a month before it was to take place, on the Sunday before St. Paddy's Day.

    The organizers publicly announced they needed $40,000 to stay afloat, and Dallas Mavericks owner and celebrity investor Mark Cuban stepped in to donate the funding, as well as an additional $25,000 to the parade committee's fund for the Dallas Independent School District, the Dallas Observer reported.

    Cuban told the local press that he couldn't let a Dallas tradition die, especially one that he enjoyed so much in his younger days since moving to the city in 1982.

    "I figured that I killed a whole bunch of brain cells,"he told NBC's Dallas affiliate, referring to some parade-goers' tendency to get rowdy. "I want to give everybody else a chance."

    Since then, funding the parade has become a tradition of its own for Cuban, he tells Business Insider.

    It's also good for business. He uses the parade to promote his basketball team and some of his smaller companies to an audience of 100,000 people, and it's helped improve his image among Dallas residents.

    You won't find Cuban participating in the parade — he'd much rather be away from the chaos in a bar watching sports, he told NBC — but you'll find the Mavs and some of the companies he's invested in sponsoring the event.

    mavericks st patricks day

    In 2012, he got Villy Custom, the bicycle company he made a deal with on ABC's hit pitch show "Shark Tank," to lead the parade, and for this year's event, which was held on March 15, he got his messaging app Cyber Dust involved, as well as getting the Mavs' logo on the official 2015 parade banner.

    Cuban declined to say how much he invested in this year's parade.

    Alex Macon, online arts editor at D Magazine, didn't attend the event this year due to a conflict, but as a Dallas native, he's very familiar with the parade, which has been around since 1979.

    Macon tells Business Insider that Cuban's involvement in the event has boosted his image among Dallas natives:

    It's definitely the "thing to do" in Dallas every St. Patrick's Day, and has been for as long as I can recall. I'm only 25, but my mother was taking me to the parade when I was 6 or 7 years old. ...

    The public is very much aware that Cuban has been footing the bill. The word "savior" was bandied about in bar conversations when it first happened, only a little ironically. I think there's a lot of eye-rolling at Cuban's persona here in Dallas, but most people seemed genuinely grateful that somebody was keeping the parade afloat.

    Macon points out that Cuban saved the parade the year after the Mavs won the NBA Championship in 2011, and the combination won over many people who weren't fans of him. "Those two things will get you a lot of goodwill here," Macon says. 

    SEE ALSO: MARK CUBAN: This is just the start of the college implosion

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    NOW WATCH: Mark Cuban Explains How His Confidential Messaging App Cyber Dust Works


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    Melissa Carbone

    Melissa Carbone scored big on "Shark Tank" in the show's fifth season when she made a $2 million deal with Mark Cuban in exchange for 20% of her horror attractions company, Ten Thirty One Productions.

    Not only did she make one of the biggest deals in the show's history, but she's also been one of its most successful entrepreneurs.

    Last year, Ten Thirty One brought in $3 million in revenue, and Carbone has plans for expanding her Haunted Hayride and other spooky events from Los Angeles to New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta.

    She tells Business Insider that a crucial lesson she learned in her 20s has allowed her to be the CEO and president of a successful and rapidly growing company.

    As a manager at Clear Channel, Carbone realized that she couldn't be a leader if she mulled over a decision for too long or continuously looked for counsel.

    The lesson: "Use your best judgement and just make a decision," she says. "It may not always be the right one, but that's OK. A wrong decision is better than a demeanor of uncertainty."

    "A good and swift decision-maker will gain the trust and buy-in from employees, business associates, and customers/clients because it will illustrate confidence," Carbone explains. "Decision-makers are leaders."

    SEE ALSO: 15 successful entrepreneurs share the most important lesson they learned in their 20s

    DON'T MISS: Highly successful 'Shark Tank' entrepreneur shares the best advice Mark Cuban ever gave her

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    mark cuban

    Mark Cuban is the billionaire investor best known for his roles as a "Shark" and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

    Throughout his career, he's made over 120 investments, from large companies like Landmark Theatres to startups on "Shark Tank."

    For all of the businesses he's been a part of, he's developed a set of "rules that have been almost infallible," he writes in his 2013 book "How to Win at the Sport of Business."

    We've summarized the three he's used "religiously."

    1. Understand the difference between adding value and benefiting from a bull market.

    In the same way that some stock market investors think they're geniuses when they keep picking stocks that go up, failing to acknowledge that all stocks are doing the same thing, Cuban says entrepreneurs can fail to recognize that a good deal of their success is due to a fad or trend.

    "There is nothing wrong with going along for the ride and making money at it, but it will catch up with you if you lie to yourself and give yourself credit for the ride," he writes.

    Cuban says that he saw this happen with professional sports leagues in the aughts. He says that many team owners became enamored with rising revenues from television rights deals, crediting it to their own "brilliance." He says, however, that he and his Mavericks partners recognized that revenues were actually rising due to competition among cable and satellite providers. Cuban couldn't become complacent.

    "It's a bigger challenge to recognize that the bull market may end and our programming needs to be of sufficient value to our customers and viewers for it to maintain or continue to increase in value," he writes.

    2. Win the battles you're in before moving onto new ones.

    Cuban writes that he had a chance to take Landmark Theatres international but that any time spent on developing a global presence was time not spent growing its national presence, and so he decided against it.

    "You do not have unlimited time and/or attention," he writes. "You may work 24 hours a day, but those 24 hours spent winning your core business will pay off far more. It might cost you some longer-term upside, but it will allow you to be the best business you can be."

    3. Don't drown in opportunity.

    "If you are adding new things when your core businesses are struggling rather than facing the challenge, you are either running away or giving up," Cuban writes. "Rarely is either good for a business."

    Melissa Carbone, president of horror attraction company Ten Thirty One Productions, tells Business Insider that after the $2 million deal she made with Cuban on "Shark Tank" went public, she was flooded with partnership and investment offers, some of which were quite attractive.

    Cuban told her to take a step back and not let emotions make her impulsive. She says she still hears Cuban's voice in her head reminding her, "Don't drown in opportunity."

    SEE ALSO: Billionaire designer Tory Burch shares the best advice she ever got

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    Mark Cuban

    Mark Cuban, the billionaire "Shark Tank" investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is known among NBA fans for racking up fines for misconduct at Mavs games he gets a bit too excited about. But nothing, he writes in his book "How to Win at the Sport of Business," makes him more competitive than business.

    Cuban includes a checklist in his book of what it means to have "the edge," the necessary drive to forego the confines of a comfortable job, triumph over setbacks, and build a successful company.

    He draws from his own experience building companies in his 20s and 30s and investing in over 100 more, but his insights represent universal feelings.

    According to Cuban:

    The edge is...

    • getting so jazzed about what you do, you just spent 24 hours straight working on a project and you thought only a couple hours had passed.
    • knowing that you have to be the smartest guy in the room when you have your meeting and you are going to put in the effort to learn whatever you need to learn to get there.
    • knowing that when the four girlfriends you have had in the last couple years asked you which was more important, them or your business, you gave the right answer.
    • knowing that you can fail and learn from it, and just get back up and in the game.
    • knowing that people think you're crazy, and they are right, but you don't care what they think.
    • knowing how to blow off steam a couple times a week, just so you can refocus on business.
    • knowing that you are getting to your goals and treating people right along the way, because as good as you can be, you are so focused that you need regular people around you to balance and help you.
    • being able to confidently call out someone on a business issue because you have done your homework.
    • recognizing when you are wrong and working harder to make sure it doesn't happen again.
    • being able to drill down to identify issues and problems and solve them before anyone knows they are there.
    • knowing that while everyone else is talking about nonsense like "the will to win" and how they know they can be successful, you are preparing yourself to compete so that you will be successful.

    Ultimately, Cuban writes, the one thing that matters most to an entrepreneur setting out to build a business is not connections or even money, it's the desire to go out there and crush the competition.

    SEE ALSO: Mark Cuban shares the most important lesson he learned in his 20s

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    NOW WATCH: Mark Cuban Explains How His Confidential Messaging App Cyber Dust Works


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    barbara corcoran

    The road to a breakthrough is often haunted by the risk of failure. That's why ABC's Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran's number one rule for building an innovative company is to accept that failure and build it into your budget. 

    Corcoran doesn't just mean you should mentally prepare for the possibility that you might not succeed. Rather, she recommends actually setting aside a sum of money on which you're completely comfortable never seeing a return on investment. 

    This is what Corcoran did at her real estate firm The Corcoran Group, which she founded in 1973. 

    "Each year, I gave all my managers 5 percent of their operating budget to use however they wished with no accountability," Corcoran writes in Open Forum

    If her employees didn't spend the money, they had to give it back. This often led to a lot of dollars spent on parties, day trips and even alcohol, Corcoran admits. But they also used that money for innovative business projects.

    It's O.K. to have fun, Corcoran insists. That's because you never know when an idea will strike.

    "All the small changes that helped grow my business happened when we were playing outside and/or spending money that we had no business spending," she says. "I never had a good idea sitting at my desk nor did I harvest a big, game-changing idea around a conference table."

    For example, after looking at an L.L. Bean catalog, which featured pictures of the clothing company's workers, a receptionist suggested that The Corcoran Group take out a full-page ad to show off its own employees. The team agreed to put some of its "mad money" -- the name for Corcoran's failure budget -- toward the idea. 

    "We dressed our salespeople up, shot a series of ads, and it became the most innovative ad campaign we ever ran," Corcoran says.

    She admits that most other zany business ideas didn't work out as well. But the failure budget guarantees at least one benefit: it will train your employees to take their failures less seriously. 

    "They learned to laugh it off," Corcoran says. 

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    kevin o'leary

    Kevin O'Leary is the chairman of O'Leary Financial and an investor on ABC's Emmy Award-winning "Shark Tank."

    Every morning I wake up at 5:45 a.m. and check the Asian and European bond markets.

    Good investors don't stay in bed in North America with strings untied overseas, because if something happens in London or Tokyo while they're sleeping, everything could change.

    Then I get on the elliptical or exercise bike and watch business television for 45 minutes while I work out.

    My father died when he was only 37.

    This was a huge wake-up call for me to take care of my body and shake off some of the harmful lifestyle choices that contributed to my father's demise.

    Your health is one investment that is guaranteed to pay dividends!

    From 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., I read and do research to keep up to date on what's happening in business.

    Knowledge is power, and it's important to have a 360-degree view of the financial climate all over the world.

    I get into the office by market open at 9:30 a.m. — and that's when the fun starts.

    The Success Series is a collection of the best advice from some of our favorite writers, thinkers, and leaders. This week, we asked: "What is your morning routine?" See other articles in the series here.

    SEE ALSO: A CEO shares the simple morning routine that gets him ready to take on the day

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    NOW WATCH: This ‘Shark Tank’ investor once made a $5 million mistake


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    Mark Cuban

    Over the past 30 years, billionaire "Shark Tank" investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has not only built his own companies but invested in over 120 others.

    In his book "How to Win at the Sport of Business," he breaks down a checklist for new entrepreneurs. We explain the "Twelve Cuban Rules for Startups" below.

    1. Don't start a company unless your heart is in it.

    Large sums of money and strong connections won't matter for the success of a business if its founder does not have the desire to crush the competition.

    2. Don't obsess over an exit strategy.

    It's fine if you plan on one day selling your company for a large sum of money, but that goal cannot distort your judgment in scaling the company, Cuban says.

    3. Hire people who fit your company's culture.

    When hiring, you should look to build a team with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, but it's necessary that they share core values so that they can work together for a common purpose.

    As Virgin chairman Richard Branson writes in his book "The Virgin Way": "As important as it is to look at what a candidate has achieved elsewhere, I have always believed that the single most important thing to consider is 'personality fit.' By that I mean, is this someone whose way of being, sense of humour, and general demeanour will dovetail easily with your company's culture?"

    4. Understand that "sales cure all."

    Cuban tells Business Insider that the greatest lesson he learned in his 30s is that any company, regardless of management issues, can be made to scale if they've developed an audience."

    "If you can generate sales you can have a successful company," he says.

    5. Spend liberally on recruiting employees who will play an essential role.

    "Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them," Cuban writes. "Pay up for people in your core competencies. Get the best. Outside the core competencies, hire people that fit your culture but are cheap."

    6. Don't worry about perks from the outset.

    It's great that Google provides its employees with high-quality food, massage therapists, and scooters, but your company isn't Google. When you're building a business from the ground up, stock some drinks and maybe some coffee and snacks in the office, but spend your dollars on what actually matters.

    7. Use open offices.

    Don't cramp your employees into cubicles and shut yourself off from them in a private office.

    "Open offices keep everyone in tune with what is going on and keep the energy up," Cuban writes.

    8. Use technology you're comfortable with.

    When it's just you and a few employees in the trenches, don't worry about the software and hardware everyone else in your industry is using. Stick with what you know and move onto better products and company-wide standards once you've established your footing.

    9. Keep the organization flat.

    "If you have managers reporting to managers in a startup, you will fail," Cuban writes.

    A nascent company is better off without complicated office politics.

    10. Don't waste money on swag.

    If you want to create a few T-shirts with your company's logo for you and your team, that's fine, but don't think anyone else will want one.

    "If your people are at shows and in public, it's okay to buy for your own folks, but if you really think someone is going to wear your YoBaby.com polo when they're out and about, you are mistaken and have no idea how to spend your money," Cuban writes.

    11. Don't hire a PR firm.

    Cuban is adamant about his belief that a PR firm can't help a startup in a way that justifies paying them.

    He writes:

    A PR firm will call or email people in the publications you already read, on the shows you already watch and the websites you already surf. Those people publish their emails. Whenever you consume any information related to your field, get the email of the person publishing it and send them a message introducing yourself and the company. Their job is to find new stuff. They will welcome hearing from the founder instead of some PR flack. Once you establish communication with that person, make yourself available to answer their questions about the industry and be a source for them. If you are smart, they will use you.

    12. Keep things fun.

    And finally, make sure that your employees enjoy their work and aren't burning out.

    Cuban writes that at his first company, MicroSolutions, he would hand out $100 bills to his salespeople when they had a record month, and made a ritual of occasionally going to a local bar after work and ripping Kamikaze shots as a team.

    SEE ALSO: Mark Cuban highlights 11 ways to know you're meant to be an entrepreneur

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    NOW WATCH: Mark Cuban Explains How His Confidential Messaging App Cyber Dust Works


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