Entrepreneurship: 10 Business Tips from Robert Herjavec of Shark Tank



What is the best investment you have made to date on Shark Tank ?
Chordbuddy comes to mind – great guy and an even better investment – product has found a niche and we have had spectacular growth. 

Have there been any deals that you had wish that you made in hindsight? Any investment that you wish you hadn't made?
No – my life has no rear view mirror – constant forward momentum. You can't change the past. 

Any service/product that you wish you had invented yourself?
No – I'm not a big believer in invention - I have lots of ideas, but the magic is not in the creation of ideas – it's in the execution of the plan. 

Is there anything that has surprised you over the season in terms of the pitches?
People know us – they study us – they are becoming more astute – we have to elevate our game – not only with the pitchers but also against the other Sharks. 

Is it possible that someone can have a great idea, but fail in the tank because they can't pitch?

Yes – happens all the time. A great business is a mixture of the right entrepreneur, product, execution and so on. You can't have one without the other – a great idea without a great entrepreneur is not a business – it is simply potential. 

What's your best advice on how to pitch?
Get us interested (quickly) – bored Sharks make snap decisions – and not always in your favor. Once you have us interested – know your numbers. 

Do you have to be memorable to make a good pitch?
No – but you have to be able to make an impact while you are in front of us. 

What's the most important lesson an entrepreneur can learn by watching what goes down in the Tank?
If the 6 of us can be successful, anyone can – and more importantly any business, in any field can be a great business – look at the varied set of products and services people come to us with. 

What's been the most memorable part of being on the show for you?

Inspiring others – when I was growing up being in business was not cool. I think Shark Tank is making business cool in our own small way – and of course, as a boring old computer guy, I am appreciative that my name and cool would ever be used in the same sentence.

1. What makes a good business idea great?
There are lots of good ideas but most great business are built on better execution of an existing idea. I am not a big believer in "create a better idea and the world beats a path to your door."
2. What do you think are the traits of a great entrepreneur?
Many – but most important is the ability to be relentless as the sand shifts around you. I always say "quick is good – relentless is better."

3. How do I know if there's a real need for my product or service?
Ask the only people who matter – paying customers – emphasis on the word paying. RIM (the makers of Blackberry ) never develop a new product until they have a client who will pay for it.

4. What are the most important first steps a new entrepreneur should take?
Find a customer!

5. How do you create a business plan that works?
People spend way too much on a business plan. When you start – it is important to have vision but a business plan is theory and when you are starting there is very little room for theory. At the beginning, any plan beyond the next quarter is a dream; after you get bigger the next quarter becomes the next 2 and so on. As you grow, size gives you some predictability.

6. Where can I get help creating a business plan?
Spend less time on your plan and find more time talking to people who will actually buy your product. I never had a business plan for my first four businesses.

7. How do you compete against the big guys?
The smaller you are the more laser-like your focus needs to be. A single man cannot defeat an army unless he finds their weakness and attacks them at that point one on one.

8. How do you build a great team?
Lots of ways – but the first thing is be a great leader. People naturally want to be lead and not managed. Look in the mirror – are you the one who can lead?

9. What makes an investor put their money into a deal?
A great probability of a healthy return on the capital – and the likelihood of capital being returned (element of risk ).

10. How do I find investors and business partners and what's most important in my presentation?
First step make sure you need investment – or do you simply need a loan. Most people that want an investment simply need a loan – keep in mind if a bank will not give you a loan – you are going to have a hard time with investors also. They are out there – this is the greatest time in history of concentration of investment capital in cash. Build a great business – everything else flows from that.

Kyle Phoenix
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