By Hannah Whittenly
One of the most daunting aspects of starting a business are all of the uncertainties and unpredictability that accompany such an endeavor. At the very beginning, many wonder what steps need to be taken to ensure the profitability and success of their company. With little to no momentum, it can even be a struggle to get small businesses off of the ground. Fortunately for those of you embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship, there have been others before who have succeeded on a similar path who are willing to share some of their insights.
Shark Tank is a television series which sees aspiring small business seeking investments, pitch their business ideas to a panel of successful entrepreneurs. Regardless if the Shark’s make an investment or not, they always offer sound business advice for the companies involved. Having succeeded themselves, the Shark’s know first-hand what it takes to make a business grow. Here are just a few of the jewels of wisdom shared by the Sharks that anyone can begin implementing to help move their business upward towards success.
Be a Good Leader
Leadership is the guiding principle within any company. Now whether that leadership is effective or not is another question. A company without proper guidance is highly unlikely to become successful. This is especially true for smaller businesses who are just starting out. Those first few years of growth and struggle are arguably the most difficult and trying times for any business. This is when you are faced with the most uncertainty and the hardest obstacles. In order for a company to stay on track and come out the other side even stronger than before, there must be strong leadership. As an entrepreneur, that means putting in time and energy to ensure you’re instilling within your company the values and characteristics it will need to thrive. Those traits start from the top with you leading.
Some of the time and energy that you will have to put in will have to be dedicated to your leadership team development. After all, you can’t do it all on your own and you’re going to have to build a team to support you and your vision.
Learn From Your Mistakes
There’s an old adage that says the road to success is riddled with failures. Anybody who has given a valiant effort in any area of their lives knows what it is like to fail or fall short. It’s not a fun feeling, yet there is value in these shortcomings if we can look closely enough. The same is true when it comes to building a businesses. Sometimes we become so focused on achieving success that we forget that our mistakes and failures can actually help us reach our goals. After all, every time we fail at something, there is a cause. Determining that cause and learning from it supports our future success. It’s not so much about avoiding the failures and mistakes as it is about learning from them. The growth that is developed through these challenges is an invaluable asset for growing any business.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, you will likely hear more no’s in your life than you care to count. Starting a business is a risky pursuit. That idea alone turns many people away from even considering such a lifestyle. Keeping that in mind, not everyone will share the same visions you have for the future and your business. From investors, customers, partners, etc., an entrepreneur will consistently be denied and have doors slammed in their faces. One of things that separates a successful entrepreneur and a “wantrapreneur”, is the ability to handle this adversity and continue to persevere. As Shark Barbara Corcoran explains, “All the best things that happened to me happened after I was rejected. I knew the power of getting past no.”
One of the hallmarks of entrepreneurship is creativity and innovation. Some of the most profitable and successful businesses were started because there was an unmet demand that some entrepreneur capitalized on. Along the path of starting a business, a creative spirit will be one of your greatest assets and motivations. It will help you to come up with smart ways of dealing with obstacles and keep your business fresh and unique. Besides, entrepreneurship is all about setting yourself apart from the crowd. It’s about showing the world why your idea or business is unique and worthwhile.
Be Mindful of Money
Entrepreneurship takes passion and creativity, no one will deny that. However, there is also no escaping the logistical side of starting a business and managing cash flow is one of the most critical components. Kevin O’Leary, a Shark who doesn’t shy away from making it all about money, describes the method through which he employs money. “Here’s how I think of my money: As soldiers. I send them out to war every day. I want them to take prisoners and come home, so there’s more of them.” As a small business, there is a fine balance to be found between investment and income. When you’re just starting out, money will inevitably be spent in order to make money in the future. Remaining mindful of your cash flow and where it is spent is an indispensable key to ensure the stability and success of your business.
Although being as wealthy as the sharks are may be your dream, it takes a lot of hard work to get to that point. By following the advice of these self-made successful businessmen and women, that dream can become a reality.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer from Sacramento, CA. Most of the time she loves to write about business and family. She regularly interviews small business owners from around the world about their business practices, products, and services.