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- 05/11/15--12:02: _Why investor Kevin ...
- 04/03/15--09:45: Mark Cuban thinks this is the worst 'Shark Tank' pitch ever
- 04/03/15--10:00: The 12 worst 'Shark Tank' pitches of all time
- 04/06/15--10:02: The 15 best 'Shark Tank' pitches of all time
- 04/13/15--08:44: Mark Cuban did a candid interview with a middle school student
- 04/20/15--14:00: Why I turned down $250,000 from 'Shark Tank' investor Daymond John
- 04/30/15--12:14: Why Barbara Corcoran thinks business school is a waste of time
- 05/06/15--10:06: The 12 biggest 'Shark Tank' success stories
After dealing with a string of insufficiently answered questions from brothers Richard and Albert Amini regarding their company RoloDoc, "Shark Tank" investor Mark Cuban rose from his seat and shook each of their hands. "Worst presentation ever," he told them.
Cuban recently told CNBC that the RoloDoc pitch from season five was still the worst pitch he had ever seen in the four seasons he's been on the show.
The brothers, both University of Arizona College of Medicine residency graduates, were looking for a $50,000 investment in exchange for 20% equity of their proposed social network that would connect doctors with their patients.
"The problem was, they didn't have a business," Cuban told CNBC. "All they had was a list of buzzwords. So they liked to use 'security' and 'encryption' and 'email' and 'social media,' and the more questions I asked, the less they had in response."
In the Tank, the brothers gave their vision for a smartphone app that would allow patients to send instant messages to their doctors and other physicians.
Investor Kevin O'Leary explained that when he's on the road and a health concern arises, he sends an email to his doctor, who then responds with advice and possibly a specialist recommendation. He asked the brothers how they're adding value to the process, to which Albert replied, "We're adding social media!" Doctors could brand themselves, collecting all of their information in one place, he said.
ZocDoc, a searchable database for finding doctors, launched in 2007 and now has over 5 million users. Sermo, an anonymous social network exclusively for verified and credentialed physicians, launched in 2006 and now has over 300,000 users. Without mentioning these services by name, the brothers suggested that their proposed service — which was in alpha testing with 50 of their friends — would fall somewhere in between those two sites, though they never sufficiently explained the necessity or the mechanics of RoloDoc.
Cuban didn't envision the social aspect of RoloDoc being a success, but more importantly couldn't get the brothers to answer how they would convince physicians to join. Investor Lori Greiner said she had unaddressed concerns regarding how they would vet those who did to ensure the safety of patients.
O'Leary was the most intrigued of the Sharks, but pulled out of a deal when the brothers couldn't explain how the service could make money. They left the room without a deal.
The Amini brothers have since ditched RoloDoc but continue to practice medicine. After the premiere of the episode in September 2013, Albert tweeted: "Did my application for business school just write itself? #noregrets #ontv #moreschooling #stillasurgeon."
Cuban told CNBC that "typically I don't like to be mean to entrepreneurs... but these were two doctors who I think thought they could just snow us and mislead us into thinking that because they're doctors they're smarter than all of us."
In five seasons of ABC's reality pitch show "Shark Tank," we've seen some doozies. Hopefuls have pitched products including an energy drink for Cougars, a vortex chamber that generates gold, and flatulence-scented candles.
At times, contestants show up unable to even explain why anyone would want to buy their product.
With an average viewership of seven million and airtime that's worth about half a million dollars to the aspiring entrepreneurs who make it on, you'd think every pitch would be thoughtful, well-rehearsed, and airtight. But you'd be wrong.
Andrew Figgins, a Chicago-based entrepreneur and owner of the fan site InTheSharkTank.com, says nearly half of the hundreds of pitches that have been made on the show have been awful. The most common problems? Far-fetched ideas, wacky personalities, and a lack of basic business knowledge. "The people who have gone on the show and don't know their numbers get chewed up and spit out," Figgins says.
In anticipation of the sixth season's two-hour premiere on Friday, we take a look at some of the biggest duds in the history of the hit pitch show.
Jason Woods pitches the Kymera jet-propelled boogie board.
Episode 507: "Kymera"
In the most recent season, Woods asks for $250,000 for a 20% stake in his company, which he's been developing for 10 years. The problem is he doesn't have a business plan. Oh, and he's never sold a single one in a decade.
Mark Cuban calls Woods a "wantrepreneur," someone who's got ideas but not a shred of business acumen.
Episode 507: "Kymera"
Because Woods couldn't figure out how to finalize a product and sell even a few with the $130,000 he spent on development over the past decade, the Sharks conclude an injection of capital won't save him.
Brothers Richard and Albert Amini pitch a social media app for doctors.
Episode 501: "Rolodoc"
It would function as a secure platform for medical professionals to upload their medical records and put each other in contact, they say. They want $50,000 in exchange for a 20% stake. Sounds like there may be an idea there, right?
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Over the past five seasons of the hit ABC reality show "Shark Tank," countless entrepreneurs have pitched their products to some of the world's most influential investors.
Not only do contestants have a shot to convince billionaire investor Mark Cuban or real-estate mogul Barbara Corcoran to fork over a few hundred grand, but they do so in front of a national audience of about seven million viewers.
Some aspiring entrepreneurs have risen to the challenge and shown how to give a pitch that's so concise and effective that the investors feel like they'd be missing out on some major cash if they didn't gain a stake in the company.
In anticipation of the sixth season's two-hour premiere on Friday, Sept. 26, and with the help of Andrew Figgins, a Chicago-based entrepreneur and owner of the fan site InTheSharkTank.com, we look back at some of the greatest pitches we've seen so far on "Shark Tank."
Vivian Giang contributed to this article.
PITCH: Charles Michael Yim has a breathalyzer that plugs into your smartphone.
In the fifth season, Yim galvanizes all five Sharks around Breathometer, a startup that makes a breathalyzer that plugs into your smartphone. He already has $1 million in venture backing, $100,000 in sales the previous month, and readily answers the Sharks' questions. He initially asks the Sharks for $250,000 for a 10% equity stake in his business.
RESULT: All five Sharks invest for a total of $1 million.
Yim ends up with all of the episode's investors — Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec — in his corner and a whopping $1 million investment for 30% of his company.
PITCH: Bruno François has an app that will let you take panoramic video without using your hands.
If you place your phone vertically on a solid surface and use the Cycloramic iPhone app, it will vibrate your phone in a circle as it records video.
François boldly tells the Sharks he expects to have one million users after one year and requests $90,000 for 5% of his company.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
It's one thing to have a business idea. It's quite another to act on it.
Just ask Lori Greiner. Long before her days as a bona fide startup guru, the Shark Tank star would often come up with a product idea, not pursue it, and kick herself when she'd see someone else do it.
"I was always thinking of ideas, and then later I'd see it out there and think 'Ugh! If only I'd just done it,'" she said at a panel discussion for business owners hosted by Staples in New York City this week.
Eventually, in 1996, Greiner did move forward, inventing an earring organizer that sold out in four minutes and launched her career.
These days, the so-called Queen of QVC has some words of wisdom for others who are starting out on the entrepreneurial path. Here are 10 of her top tips.
1. Ask the important questions.
When you're starting out, it's important to know the details of your product. Is it for mass audience or a select few? Can it be made for a reasonable price? Is your idea something people truly need and want? Is it unique? This will help you get a sense of your customers, your costs and your sales pitch.
2. Do the market research yourself.
How can you answer all of those questions above? Get out there and pound the pavement. Look beyond your friends and family — their innate desire to support you and give you positive feedback might not be indicative of the larger consensus. Go to different neighborhoods and get opinions from all types of demographics.
When Greiner did market research on her earring organizer, she went to all different neighborhoods and showed a prototype to people on the street. Then, she asked them to fill out a simple, basic questionnaire: Would you buy this? How much would you pay for it? Do you like it? From those responses, she knew she had something big.
3. Don't overspend.
Greiner says overspending in the early stages is a common problem. People hire more staff than they need, for example, and pay rent on a fancy office when they could easily work out of their homes. Too much inventory is another common problem.
"You can't take up warehouse space when you have no sales," she said. "In the beginning you need to stay lean and mean. Do what you can yourself, hire prudently or outsource small jobs."
4. Be likable.
When people are considering investing in your idea, they're also considering investing in working with you. If you are open to constructive criticism, able to communicate and are honest and ethical, it makes a difference.
5. Pay attention to your packaging.
Packaging is super important to Greiner, who often spends months working on it with the entrepreneurs she mentors. "It's very important that it catches your eye, it tells you exactly what it is instantaneously and it makes you want to pick it up," she said. In addition to eye-catching color, remember that the image on the package is especially important because people see faster than they read.
Therefore, Greiner says, the image of the product has to be appealing and grab your attention. Font style is also something to think about when considering how to get your message across to consumers.
6. Adopt a mindset of persistence.
If there are roadblocks on your path to success, don't give up. Instead, figure out how to get around them. As Greiner says, "There are no 'nos,' just 'how can I?'"
7. Don't let personal feelings ruin a business relationship.
If you have a solid business, but you don't like someone you have to work with — a client, a manufacturer, a supplier — ignore it and laugh your way to the bank, Greiner says.
8. Know that it's ok to have just one product.
Unlike some of the other sharks, Greiner has no problem with a company that only has one product. "If you have one genius product and good entrepreneurs, you can turn that one product into a success," she says, pointing out that the Squatty Potty and other products pitched on Shark Tank bring in millions of dollars.
9. Avoid borrowing money from friends and family.
While angel investors and venture capitalists understand that they're giving you money that they might not ever see again, family and friends might expect repayment without regards to how the business is doing. To avoid straining or ruining relationships, find a way to raise the funds from other sources.
10. Protect your idea.
With 120 patents to her name, Greiner is very careful to protect her ideas. While it can be tricky to balance protecting your intellectual property while conducting market research, patent protection is helpful and smart. She also advises against putting your unprotected idea online. "If you put it online, it can go around the world in a second, and someone will knock it off," she says.
One of the challenges of doing a lot of interviews is that, inevitably, I am asked different versions of the same questions over and over again.
For the first time in a long time, I can say that I actually got asked unique questions that put a smile on my face.
They were short. Simple. To the point. They were perfect for the reporter's audience.
Shockingly, I had never been asked any of them before.
Here it is:
Dear Mr. Cuban,
My name is Mauricio Vazquez. Today you visited Medrano Middle School to talk to over 100 business students (thank you, by the way).
I’m a reporter for the school newspaper and we would be incredibly thankful if you could answer a few questions for an interview. If you choose to do so, the segment would be featured in the April issue.
Please answer the following questions in however many words you feel is enough and send it to Mrs. Hopkins.
What’s the wallpaper on your phone and/or computer?
Picture of my family on my phone; me shooting hoops on my PC.
What's the one word you are guilty of using too often?
"Right." I say it far too often and cannot break the habit!
What is the last thing you searched on Google?
A workout schedule at my gym.
Who is the last person that called or texted you?
What was the last awkward situation you were in, and how did you handle it?
I forgot a belt and had to buy one at a store.
What TV show should everyone be watching?
What’s the first CD you bought?
What is the one food you cannot resist?
Alyssa's Healthy Cookies.
What music are you currently listening to?
Lots of old school hip-hop.
What movie makes you laugh the most?
Any stupid movie. The dumber, the better.
What drives you absolutely crazy?
People who eat with their mouth open.
If you do not feel comfortable answering one of the questions above, by all means do not answer it. It was a honor being able to meet you. You are a inspiration to people from all walks of life.
The best interview questions in a long, long time.
Cyber security entrepreneur and "Shark Tank" investor Robert Herjavec is an avid runner. For the past six years, he's jogged five miles a day for six days of the week, topped off with an 8- to 10-mile run on the weekend, he tells Runner's World.
There was a moment when a failed attempt to recruit a friend to his habit gave him a critical business insight, he explains in the latest episode of "Shark Tank."
In the segment, Forus Athletics founder Arsene Millogo and his VP of sales and marketing, Joel Vinocur, are seeking $200,000 for 15% equity of their lightweight running shoe company. The investors agree that the shoes are high quality and that Millogo and Vinocur are exceptionally driven individuals, but all except Herjavec decline to make a deal after concluding they can't help Forus break into a crowded market.
The Sharks are also skeptical of the company's ability to focus. They point out that Forus has a large number of shoe varieties for a young company; has a seemingly off-brand, pending deal with NASCAR; and also has a connection to Millogo's side company, email plugin Attlo.
"Man, you are fighting so many battles," Herjavec says. He then tells the story of the elite sprinter he wanted to run with:
Look, a guy that used to work for me, he was actually at one point the 11th fastest man in the world. I run five miles a day, so I used to say, "Hey, let's go running." And he would say to me, "I can't run five miles."
I said, "Come on, man. You're in great shape. You can run five miles."
[He said:] "I don't run five miles! I run 100 meters as fast as I can. That's my job."
"I'm not sure what your job is," Herjavec tells the entrepreneurs. "If you want to win, just run the 100 meters. Focus."
The Forus duo leaves the Tank without a deal but with the encouragement of the Sharks.
Herjavec's story illustrates a similar point that fellow Shark Mark Cuban explores in his book, "How to Win at the Sport of Business."
"You do not have unlimited time and/or attention," Cuban 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."
"Shark Tank" investor Lori Greiner aggressively nabbed a deal with Scrub Daddy founder Aaron Krause in the show's fourth season in 2012. She sweetened her offer to $200,000 for 20% equity and promised to make Krause a millionaire within a year.
Krause had charmed the Sharks with an energetic live demonstration of his smiley-faced sponge, a scrubbing tool that he says cleans better and is more hygienic than a traditional sponge. Investor Daymond John told Business Insider last year that it was his favorite pitch in six seasons, and that it was like watching a live infomercial.
Two and a half years since Krause's "Shark Tank" pitch premiered, Scrub Daddy has sold more than 10 million units and made over $50 million in sales. The product makes regular QVC appearances and is sold in Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Target, and Staples locations across the US. It's by far the most successful company that secured a deal on the show.
Krause, a Cherry Hill, New Jersey, resident and automotive industry veteran, stumbled into the home cleaning supplies business.
He designed the original Scrub Daddy sponge — sans smiley face — in 2006 when he was running a car detail service and product development company, Dedication To Detail. One of the products his company made was a urethane foam buffing pad, and on a whim he asked the German manufacturer to produce a pad that was as rough as possible, with "eye sockets" to clean fingers and "hair" ridges to clean underneath fingernails.
He hoped this prototype of Scrub Daddy could be a more comfortable replacement for pumice Lava Soap that autoworkers used to wipe their hands clean of grime and oil. He thought the product the German company made was great, but he shelved the idea after selling his foam business to 3M in 2008.
Krause said that in 2011 he needed to clean his lawn furniture and decided to break out the scrubbers he had set aside. They did the job so well that he tried them on his dishes. He added a "smile" to accommodate the curve of utensils, and the current version of the Scrub Daddy was born.
He put $75,000 into designing new packaging and producing an initial batch, and secured a patent.
His close friend owned five ShopRite grocery stores in New Jersey and let him display his products. When they didn't sell, Krause tried doing live demos in the store. He quickly took to the performances and customer interactions.
By April 2012, Krause had obtained a weekend front-page business feature in the Philadelphia Inquirer and two QVC appearances; on the second appearance, he sold 4,000 sets of Scrub Daddies in eight minutes.
He said that he remembers sitting with his wife watching his favorite show, "Shark Tank," and thinking, "I could go on this and kill it." He sent in a submission and eventually landed a spot on the show a couple months later.
"The Scrub Daddy to me was a perfect product," Greiner told Business Insider. "It was clever and unique. It was different. It was something that people need and want." And it was a consumable, meaning that customers would need to continue buying it.
Greiner — who has created more than 400 inventions, holds more than 120 patents, and has sold well over $500 million worth of products on QVC — likes to classify retail products as either heroes or zeroes. She said she could instantly tell Scrub Daddy was a hero.
She also thought Krause's pitch would play well in an infomercial and told him she'd quickly get him one if they made a deal.
After they signed a contract, however, Krause told her that he didn't want to go the infomercial route. He not only had reservations that an infomercial might cheapen the image of his product, but he did not want to give away significant control of his company to the infomercial production and distribution team and chance having his product forgotten like the Snuggie or ShamWow.
Instead, he wanted his Scrub Daddy to be sold alongside the US's most popular cleaning products.
Krause remembers Greiner warning him, "If you want to compete with the big guys, you're going to have to be in it for the long haul." He'd have to work tirelessly at building the brand for years to come if he wanted to forego the infomercial circuit.
He was in for the long haul, just not the infomercial route, he told Greiner. She replied that she would be, too.
Before his "Shark Tank" appearance, Krause had done around $100,000 in sales from QVC, ecommerce, and his friend's five ShopRite locations. After the show premiered, he got calls from Bed Bath & Beyond and ShopRite's corporate headquarters.
He signed deals with those outlets, and Greiner secured deals with Target, Ace Hardware, and Staples. Krause said Greiner is working on some other major distribution deals to accelerate Scrub Daddy's growth.
Greiner has also helped Krause develop new products like Scrub Daddy in colors, a lemon-scented sponge, and several new items that will be released this year.
Scrub Daddy now has 50 employees and its own 40,000 square-foot factory in Folcroft, Pennsylvania.
Krause said that Greiner is available at any time of day to discuss new ideas. "She's not human!" he said. "I'll send her an email at 2 in the morning, and she'll reply. I have to say, 'That was actually meant for you to see tomorrow!'"
Krause committed himself full-time to Scrub Daddy last May, but continues to work on inventions that fall outside of the company. He said that his and Greiner's shared passion for inventing has allowed them to understand how the other works.
She also respects that he's run a factory for the past 20 years and that he's comfortable working a QVC spot alone (although working alongside Greiner doubles or triples sales). "She doesn't babysit," Krause said.
They're now working toward Krause's long-term goal of making Scrub Daddy a household name, like Brillo or Lysol.
"Breaking into the retail world is almost impossible unless you're a company like 3M," or have a business partner like Greiner, Krause said.
"Once you've got her on your team, the sky's the limit."
Whether it's a friend, business partner or a spouse, relationships are difficult to maintain year after year. Barbara Corcoran of ABC's "Shark Tank" tells us that it takes a little more than sexual attraction in marriages and a little more than contracts in business partnerships to keep a relationship intact.
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"Shark Tank" investor Lori Greiner started with a single invention, an earring holder, in 1997 and grew it into a multimillion-dollar family of businesses with products on QVC and in the world's biggest retailers.
On her path to more than 400 inventions and 120 patents, she tells Business Insider that she constantly reminded herself of the advice that both her father and her husband gave: "Don't let business get personal. It's just business. Shrug it off."
It's something she's regularly told the many entrepreneurs she works with.
At the start of her career, Greiner writes in her book "Invent It, Sell It, Bank It!," she had a meeting with a patent lawyer who didn't take her seriously, but she quickly found a way to keep him from impeding her progress.
It was the mid-'90s and Greiner had just paid $5,000 to file her first patent for an earring organizer. The money had come from savings she shared with her husband Dan, so he accompanied her in a meeting with the attorney.
The lawyer spoke exclusively to Dan, even though he sat off to the side as an observer. After 10 minutes of this, Greiner told the lawyer she was done with the rude way he was treating her and that he needed to find one of the firm's partners and have them send in a female attorney. The lawyer who replaced him was Natalie Kadievitch, who has worked with Greiner ever since.
Greiner writes that it's important to call out injustices, "but be polite even as you do it."
My entrepreneurs will say, "Aw, that person was a jerk," or, "I can't believe they did that."
And I say, "You know what? Make it work."
Be as charming and as passionate as you would be if they weren't a jerk. Get the sale. Get what you need. And then laugh your way to the bank.
If you let them upset you or they get under your skin, you have just stopped. You've halted progress.
As you develop your career or business, there will be plenty of people who do not think you are worthy of their time or respect, Greiner writes in her book. Although it can be easy to feel vulnerable when you're starting out, you can't let other people's negativity compromise your drive.
"Your success will have everything to do with how you perceive yourself, because how you perceive yourself is how others will perceive you, too," she writes.
On an episode of "Shark Tank" that aired March 20, I pitched my company, the Home T, a startup apparel company based in New York City.
Long story short: I dove into the tank and impressed the Sharks by revealing that my little T-shirt brand did $1 million in sales in our first 12 months.
I explained I was looking for a strategic partner and investor to help grow our business, and then found myself, over the course of the exchange, declining offers from Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner, and Daymond John. Not at all how I expected things to go.
When I declined the final offer from Daymond — $250,000 for 20% of the Home T — the reaction from the Sharks was mixed. Mark Cuban enthusiastically agreed with my decision, Kevin O'Leary threw my shirt at me in disgust as I walked out, and Daymond explained that I was dead to him.
The reactions from my friends and family after the show aired have also been mixed. In between many supportive comments, one line I hear a lot is, "I can't believe you walked away from $250,000!"
Yes, $250,000 is a lot of money. So how and why did I turn it down? Three reasons:
1. The best offer valued my company at $1.25 million.
That's a valuation that was half of what the company generated in revenue in 2014 (the year the show was shot). As tempting as a partnership with a Shark is, I couldn't bring myself to devalue what I'd built by such a gigantic amount.
2. The Sharks' job, in most instances, is to inform you as to why there's no way in the world you are worth what you think.
This process breaks down your hopes and makes you second-guess yourself. And right when they've got you feeling that way, that's when they start making lopsided offers. I knew my numbers well, which I believe helped me think strategically and resist less-than-desirable offers. Knowing your numbers and your growth potential goes a long way.
This third reason is actually the most important to me.
3. Accepting $250,000 from Daymond would have been a safe bet.
Partner with a fashion mogul to build an apparel brand? Why not?! But taking an offer at the expense of my company's value isn't an "easy road" I'm willing to walk. Entrepreneurs don't look for the easy ways out. We take risks, and those risks often seem confusing to people not in that world.
If you're reading this and thinking, this guy really screwed up, I'll leave you with the wise words of Mark Cuban, a guy we can probably agree is smarter than the average bear: "He would be the moron of the century if he sold a million dollars in sales at a million-dollar valuation." Thanks, Mark!
When Mark Cuban became the majority owner of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000, the team hadn't had a winning season in 10 years. And because the team was awful, fans weren't showing up to games.
It took Cuban until 2013 to make the Mavericks profitable, but since he took over, the Mavs have made the playoffs all but one year since 2001 and have sold out every game since December 15, 2001, for the longest sellout streak in American professional sports, according to Forbes. They won their first NBA championship in 2011.
How did Cuban turn the franchise around? He approached the team like a startup rather than a legacy brand, Kirk Goldsberry argues in a new article for Grantland.
We've highlighted some of the key ways the billionaire "Shark Tank" investor turned the Dallas Mavericks from a joke into a championship contender, using the same principles he used in his business career.
He focused on the customer.
"The hardcore fan is not who fills our arena, not even close," Cuban tells Grantland. "The people that listen to sports talk radio aren't the people paying our bills. It's the signal versus the noise. They're the noise, they're not the signal."
Cuban says that it was heresy at the time to say they were selling an experience rather than basketball.
The way he saw it, if he could sell a fun experience for less than a night out at a restaurant or a movie, he could fill the upper levels of the arena. And if he could establish the venue as a place to be seen, he could sell costly courtside seats to Dallas' celebrities and socialites.
Eighteen months after buying the team, the Mavs moved to the new American Airlines Center. Cuban invested in a massive, state-of-the-art JumboTron that played videos emphasizing crowd interactions. He had the rims mic'ed up to get even casual fans excited about the games progression.
He treated his players better.
Cuban tells Grantland that the first time he met with the team, it was at the Holiday Inn they were staying at. Former Mavericks player Gary Trent told Cuban, "Mark, we get into Oakland, California, four in the morning, at the back end of a back-to-back, and we don't have room service in the hotel. How do you think we get food? What do you think we do?"
Cuban immediately made sure that the team started staying at nicer hotels and quickly bought a better team plane.
He helped build teams that clicked.
Grantland's Goldsberry credits Cuban with retaining coach Don Nelson — now remembered as one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history — and fostering a culture of success with young players Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash at the helm.
"It's hard to change the culture of an entire pro sports organization, but that's exactly what the quartet of Cuban, Nash, Nowitzki, and Nelson did,"Goldsberry writes.
He recognized the value of analytics.
The Mavericks were one of the first teams to use concepts from "Moneyball" in the NBA, crunching numbers to determine on-court success, and Goldsberry largely credits their 2011 championship run to the emphasis on analytics spearheaded by Cuban.
The Mavs' front office hired stats guy Roland Beech in 2005, and as his influence grew, the team was able to make decisions about individuals' playing time that may have initially seemed strange, but were backed by Beech's analytics and turned out to be smart choices.
Lori Greiner has seen hundreds of pitches from entrepreneurs over three-and-a-half seasons on "Shark Tank," but she's also been regularly giving pitches herself since patenting her first invention in 1997.
With more than 400 inventions and 120 patents to her name, as well as a hands-on approach to a diverse portfolio of investments in small businesses, Greiner has worked to become a reliable salesperson to some of the world's biggest retailers, like Bed Bath & Beyond and Target. And as the "Queen of QVC," her pitches to customers practically guarantee that the product sells out in a matter of minutes.
In her book "Invent It, Sell It, Bank It!," she explains that every great pitch — to investors, distributors, or customers — contains the same elements.
We've summarized Greiner's points on what makes a pitch work, and included some comments she recently made at an event announcing her partnership with Staples.
It's as concise as possible.
"A great pitch is when a person can describe what their business or product is within two sentences," Greiner said at the Staples event.
Buyers and investors are "smart, savvy, and expert at summing up a product's potential at a quick glance," Greiner writes. They don't need hand-holding, but they need to know why they should part with their money within a minute or two or else they'll stop listening.
"Any time you can make a buyer laugh or engage is a step closer to getting a deal," Greiner writes.
Draw the investors in with enthusiasm and passion. Remember that whether you're on "Shark Tank" or pitching to a single venture capitalist, your audience has spent either little or no time thinking about your product, which you may think is the greatest on the market.
If you exude confidence and energy, "you could pull a buyer out of a post-lunch stupor faster than any Red Bull," Greiner writes.
It makes the seller as appealing as the product.
"I look at who the entrepreneur is," Greiner said at the recent Staples event. "For me, it's everything."
An investor will be paying attention to how well you listen, and if you possess qualities that indicate you'd be someone easy to work with.
If entrepreneurs don't listen to questions asked during a pitch, "they're not going to hear you down the road, either, and they're not going to be a good partner."
It demonstrates why there's an opportunity that can't be missed.
As you give your pitch, retailers or investors are wondering how the money they give you will result in more money returning to them.
A key factor in this decision is determining whether consumers won't be able to live without your product.
"Not everything will be right for the buyer personally, such as when you're selling a female-oriented product to a male buyer, but buyers know their customers," Greiner writes.
It answers all questions about the business.
"You need to be accountable for and aware of every unit in the warehouse, every number on the books, every order coming in," Greiner writes, and you "need to have ready answers for how you intend to plan for the future."
Tell the truth, and admit when you don't know something. Knowing all of your numbers and facts will help you from crumbling under a line of questioning.
Greiner writes about a time when Brandon and Keith Marz came into the Tank to pitch their line of vitamin sprays at the end of a long day of shooting. The investors were exhausted and the male Sharks decided to try several spritzes of the Marz's caffeine spray. Suddenly, Greiner says, the guys perked up and became much more aggressive and fast-paced with their lines of questioning.
But the entrepreneurs "were prepared and had great answers for everything," Greiner writes. "It was memorable." Impressed with how they handled themselves under pressure and convinced of the products' efficacy, she made a deal with them.
It's based on data.
Following up on the previous point, Greiner explains that enthusiasm and passion can't replace the facts about whether the product has been or can be profitable.
If you need to continually explain why your product is unique, for example, then there's probably a gap in your market research that your potential buyer is driving at. Smoke and mirrors won't work with seasoned professionals.
Ensure that if you have a tangible product, you come to your pitch with a flawless prototype. If you give a demonstration, practice it repeatedly until it becomes second nature. Think of a pitch as a performance that you can fine tune before it matters.
"You cannot over-prepare for a pitch," Greiner writes.
A phrase you'll commonly hear on "Shark Tank" is, "You're a product, not a company," and the investor most likely saying it is either Kevin O'Leary or Mark Cuban.
O'Leary said it in the fourth season, for example, about the car accessory Drop Stop. He offered its cofounders Marc Newburger and Jeffrey Simon $300,000 in exchange for a royalty deal but suggested he didn't have faith that relying on a single product was profitable at scale.
"Right now what it does is it uses capital [and] the bigger it grows," he said. "It just sucks cash. The bigger you get, the more distribution you get, the more money you're gonna need."
Greiner, who made a deal with Drop Stop for $300,000 in exchange for 20% equity, says this is an instance where she fundamentally disagrees with some of her fellow Sharks.
"Just a product, like Drop Stop," Greiner said at a recent Staples event for its small business initiative, "has done $12 million in three years."
Greiner has helped bring Drop Stop's sole product, a rubber accessory that keeps items from slipping into the gap between a front car seat and center console, into Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Walmart and has boosted its QVC presence.
It's one of her most successful investments over the three-and-a-half seasons she's been on the show.
"I think [that if] you have one genius product and good entrepreneurs, you can then turn that one product into a huge success," Greiner said at the event. "And then of course continue to grow your business by creating other products, because you don't have to stop and be a one-hit wonder."
If O'Leary or Cuban sees a business as more of a single product than a company, they are seeing entrepreneurs who may have a great invention but haven't proven themselves yet. With a single product, they are on a hunt for specialized market share, and profits sustain just one item. When a company introduces new products, they are better able to meet a variety of customer demands.
Greiner, however, considers driven entrepreneurs with a successful flagship product to be enough reassurance to join them and establish the foundation for something huge.
"It's so much easier once you've taken one product and made that successful, to then start to think of other products that can then follow along in the same product line," Greiner said.
While Drop Stop has yet to expand its offerings, Greiner's biggest success, Scrub Daddy, has reached $50 million in sales by expanding from its hugely popular flagship offering into a successful variety of cleaning tools suited for different needs.
"So," Greiner said, "I love one great product."
A traditional MBA typically costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and two years of your life.
Is the degree worth it?
"Shark Tank" investor Barbara Corcoran says it's not. In fact, she thinks it could hold you back.
"If you're going to start a business, my own practical experience says it gets in the way," Corcoran recently told Bloomberg Television's Tom Keene and Olivia Sterns.
"It gets in the way because you study the theory of how to do a business. You understand all the language, the fancy talk, and in the end what you don't get is street smarts because you're busy in the classroom."
Stepping outside the confines of a classroom and getting real, hands-on experience can be much more valuable than an expensive degree, she says.
"Most of my very successful entrepreneurs, myself included, cannot read a financial statement. We don't know a thing about numbers," Corcoran told Keene and Sterns. "But what we're very good at is thinking on our feet and sizing up people. And what do you build a business on in the end? It's people."
When looking for entrepreneurs to invest in on "Shark Tank,"Corcoran does not scan for pedigree; she looks for "plain street smarts" and those who are able to jump over obstacles and not feel sorry for themselves, she told Bloomberg.
However, business school is not completely useless and can benefit a certain type of person, she says, like those working for large corporations who can use the credential to wield power and get promotions.
But if you're committed to the entrepreneurial path, you may want to drop the idea of business school and get to work.
SEE ALSO: If You Want To Be Rich, Don't Get An MBA
The top of the corporate food chain remains a boys club.
Women account for just 5% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.
However, it's not a question of intelligence, "Shark Tank" investor Barbara Corcoran recently told Tom Keene and Olivia Sterns on Bloomberg Television.
When asked how we can get more female executives, the savvy businesswoman who turned a $1,000 investment into a $70 million real estate business had an interesting answer.
"I don't think it's an issue of getting executives in the first place, because so many people are coming out of business school and pursuing a career like that," she told Keene and Sterns. "I think it's a question of how do you keep women in that position, or on the career path, long enough to get to the top office?"
So why aren't women sticking it out?
The "one great reality in life called having children," Corcoran explained. "Believe me, any woman who has a high-paying job and also is a mom at home can tell you how hard that is to juggle both."
That's where the intelligence piece fits in. "Women are smarter than men," she said. "They get to a point and think, 'Is this worth it?' The resounding answer is no, and they check out."
The fix, according to Corcoran, is for women to start their own businesses and be their own bosses.
But that's just the beginning. Even when women take ownership and jumpstart an entrepreneurial career, Corcoran has observed that their businesses are more likely to experience a downfall.
"If you're going to build a business, it's just a matter of jumping over a million obstacles and having the stamina to get back up and say ... 'hit me again,'" she told Bloomberg. "But women tend to pout a little bit more. They lay back and think, 'Oh my God, oh my God.' And while they're doing that, the next guy's running away."
To get her female entrepreneurs back in the game, Corcoran gives them a large dose of tough love.
"I shame them to death. 'What would your daughter think? Is she going to be proud of you if she reads this oh poor me email? Get the heck up!' I just badger them," she said.
Watch the full interview here.
If you can make it onto ABC's hit show "Shark Tank," you'll have an audience of about 10 million people to show your product. It's why even entrepreneurs who lose out on a deal often report a notable uptick in sales following their appearance on the show, which portrays negotiations between small-business owners and a panel of potential investors dubbed "Sharks."
But for those who do get a deal, "Shark Tank" can change the trajectory of their business, turning a fledgling company into a national brand.
The following entrepreneurs took a successful pitch and maximized the potential of the Shark they partnered with through focus and determination.
Wicked Good Cupcakes
Danielle Vilagie and Tracey Noonan are a mother-daughter duo from Boston with a company that makes cupcakes in a jar. In season 4, they made a deal with Kevin O'Leary in which he invested $75,000 for royalties instead of equity. He made $1 from every cupcake sold until he made his money back, and then began receiving 50 cents per cupcake sold.
Since its appearance on the show, Wicked Good Cupcakes has expanded to a new production facility and a couple of new locations, and it is planning to bring in $3 million in sales by the end of this year, WCVB Boston reports.
Husband and wife entrepreneurs Mark and Hanna Lim created the Lollacup as an improvement on the standard sippy cup for toddlers. Their product is BPA-free and spill-proof, and its straw is designed to catch every last drop of a drink. In season 3, the Lims partnered with both Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec for a $100,000 deal in exchange for 40% equity.
The Lims have brought in almost $1 million in sales, making the Lollacup the most successful children's product to come out of "Shark Tank."
Lani Lazzari was just 18 years old when she entered the tank in season 4 to pitch her skincare company Simple Sugars. She ended up making a deal with Cuban for $100,000 in return for 33% equity.
Within just 24 hours of her episode's premiere, Lazzari's sales jumped to $220,000 from $50,000, and she hit $1 million six weeks later. Today Simple Sugars products are in more than 700 retail locations and ship internationally. This year, the company has already brought in over $3 million in revenue.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Tipsy Elves cofounder Nick Morton went through 10 years of higher education so that he could become a dental specialist.
So when he and his cofounder Evan Mendelsohn made a deal with "Shark Tank" investor Robert Herjavec and sales of the company's holiday sweaters starting taking off, Morton was confronted with a difficult decision.
Should he continue seeing dental clients and hire an outside manager to assist Mendelsohn, or should he abandon those career goals and fully commit to the business he helped create?
The inevitable choice between drawing a steady paycheck or quitting your day job and risking everything on your business is different for every aspiring entrepreneur, Herjavec told Business Insider at a press conference for Deluxe's new initiative for entrepreneurs, Small Business Revolution.
Morton and Mendelsohn discussed the issue with Herjavec in his Toronto office, as shown in the premiere episode of the ABC series "Beyond the Tank."
"You've got to step off the ledge at one point," Herjavec said. "It's your company. You want to get to $50 million? You gotta do it."
After spending some time thinking it over, Morton decided to go all in with his company. Today, Tipsy Elves is a year-round apparel company that Herjavec is confident they can grow into a $100 million business.
Herjavec said his own decision in 1990 to commit to his first business, BRAK Systems, was easy. He was fired from his job at Logiquest and needed to make a mortgage payment.
Like Morton, he had never dreamed of one day founding his own business.
"Mark Cuban and I always argue about this,"Herjavec said. "He's always, 'Oh, when I was 12 I knew I was going to start my own business.' When I was 12, I didn't know anything. I just wanted to go outside and play. I only started a business because somebody fired me."
Whether entrepreneurs decide to fully commit to their business out of opportunity or a perceived necessity, they need to take the decision very seriously, Herjavec said, with their eyes to the sky but their feet on the ground.
"Don't quit your job if it's going to hurt your family," he said, "but at the same time, a business is a living, breathing thing. If you don't quit your job, it's never going to grow. But only you can make that decision."
When Daymond John was in his early 20s, his mother said to him, "Listen, you're going to have to figure out what you're doing the rest of your life, one way or another."
Growing up in Hollis, Queens, as the only child of a single mom, John had wanted to run his own business since grade school, and he was inspired by his mom's advice that a day job would never make him rich, but dedication to his own venture could.
So he told her one day in 1992 that he wanted to build an apparel company for young men called FUBU. She taught him how to sew, and he started making and selling hats. After seeing how passionate her son was about the project, she mortgaged her home to raise $100,000 in funding and turned half of her house into a factory, working alongside John when she could.
Six years later the company was an international sensation that brought in $350 million in revenue.
John recently sat down with his mom, who goes by Ms. John — or as her son now prefers, "Shark Momma John"— for a video produced by the Understood foundation for learning disabilities (John is dyslexic).
"We did it, and I believed in you because I saw how excited you were about being an entrepreneur, about making your own money, about making your own product," Ms. John told Daymond.
Today, John is in charge of a diverse investment portfolio under his company Shark Branding, which includes many companies he has invested in through the hit show "Shark Tank."
He told Business Insider last fall that his mother gave him his favorite piece of business advice: "Money is a great slave but a horrible master," she told him.
"I think that in the earlier days, when I was a 'wantrepreneur,' I was really doing things because I thought what I wanted was to be rich. For the most part, those businesses failed, and then later when I started doing something casually because I loved it, that business burst," he said, referring to FUBU.
In FUBU's infancy, Ms. John moved out of her house so that her son and three business partners he added could have more room to create apparel to meet increasing demand.
She was confident that Daymond had finally found what he wanted to do with his life.
"Any parent would have been so happy just to see their child so excited," Ms. John said.
You can watch the full interview below:
"Shark Tank" investing star Kevin O'Leary says women lead all of his companies that are showing returns.
"All the cash in the last two quarters is coming from companies run by women," he told Business Insider at a recent event for the startup Honeyfund, in which he is an investor. "I don't have a single company run by a man right now that's outperformed the ones run by women."
O'Leary has 27 companies in his portfolio, he said, and 55% have female CEOs. He has spoken about his faith in female CEOs in the past, but he only recently discovered just how divided the numbers in his portfolio were in terms of gender.
He noted that not all of his companies led by women were profitable, but some were — something that couldn't be said for any of his companies run by men.
He asked one CEO why she thought the companies led by women were doing better.
"She said to me, 'You know, if you want to get something done, give it to a busy mom,'" he recalled. "It kind of makes sense, right?"
We posited that maybe these companies' success has to do with women being considered better at multitasking than men.
"It could be," O'Leary said. "These are midrange companies in the sales range of five to 10 million dollars, so that multitasking could be very important. Large corporations are a different thing, but when you're doing venture investing like I am, it's startup to mid-level. They've got to work their tails off. They've got to work like hell."
O'Leary discovered this by accident. He asked his staff to see what all of the companies providing returns to his portfolios had in common, and it found that the companies returning on O'Leary's investments were all led by women.
"What's interesting is that these are companies across multiple sectors," he told Business Insider. "One is a company in the food business. Another is in consumer goods. Another is a manufacturing company. One is a biotech company. They have nothing to do with each other, and yet, they're still getting better returns."
His portfolio has been divided roughly 50-50 in terms of female-male leadership for about six years, he said, but he credited this more with ideas than gender.
"I just looked at deals," he said. "I never looked at gender. I have no bias. I want to make money. I'm trying to find the path of least resistance with the best people I can find. I'm agnostic to where they came from."
O'Leary never measured whose companies were more successful along gender lines before stumbling upon this recent finding. He is thinking about going back and taking a harder look at the trend over time.
O'Leary had just spoken at Honeyfund's event in the Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar when we caught up with him. He was heaping praise on Sara Margulis, the CEO of Honeyfund, who is one of the female execs bringing in the bacon for O'Leary.
Honeyfund is a startup that enables engaged couples to register for wedding gifts in the form of cash donations for honeymoon activities. The company also recently launched Plumfund, which opens the doors for other types of personal fundraising.
"This company's on fire," he said of Honeyfund, which he discovered on "Shark Tank.""It's basically doubling its platform with the Plumfund announcement. They've proven the model works with Honeyfund. I'm just pouring gasoline on the fire."
He added a final thought.
"One thing's for sure: We should be elevating women to the CEO position because we're getting better returns," he said. "You don't need another reason in business. In my case, the numbers speak for themselves."