If you’re not familiar with the hit television show Shark Tank, it is a wildly popular show in which entrepreneurs and inventors get the opportunity to stand in front of a panel of angel investors to pitch their idea or company in exchange for some form of an investment.
Ideas and companies like Scrub Daddy, Hold Your Hanches, ChordBuddy, Kisstixx, Lollacup, and Cousins Maine Lobster are just a few of the most successful Shark Tank businesses today.
So, what can we learn from these entrepreneurs?
How can we take their experiences on the show and translate those into actionable lessons to grow and launch our own businesses?
To get the ball rolling, we sat down and put together this list of five things inventors can learn from successful shark tank companies. What would you add to the list?
Learning from Shark Tank: Inventor Takeaways
#1: First and foremost, always remember that your odds are just as good as anyone else’s odds
Nearly half of all of the inventors and entrepreneurs that appeared before the sharks were able to negotiate some kind of a deal, with at least one investor investing in their product or company. Obviously there are other factors that go on behind the scenes of the show, but still that’s not too shabby. Remember that your odds are just as good as the next person, and ultimately it comes down to dedication, great ideas and a lot of drive.
#2: Customer needs will always trump customer wants
Time and time again, Shark Tank demonstrates that products or companies with mass-market appeal are the way to go. But did you know that historically there are even some mass-market categories that perform better than others? “And what do these categories have in common?” you may be asking yourself.
Well, the answer is simple. Products with mass-market category appeal, that address a consumer need, rather than a consumer want, have historically performed much better in front of the sharks. Take clothing, for example. This category obviously fits a consumer need, and often resonates with the Sharks.
#3: Don’t overthink it
This one should seem like a no brainer, but it’s true. Keep your ideas simple. You may think that some of the crazier or more outlandish stunts on Shark Tank are done just for TV ratings or to garner 15 minutes of fame. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Take it from us — and we’ve seen it all! Don’t get too “out there” with your ideas or your pitch. Keep it simple, and focus on a design or product that will make your customers’ lives easier.
#4: Focus on the customer
We cannot stress this one enough. Often times, and entrepreneurs and inventors, we get so wrapped up in thinking about how we would use a product, the functionality that we would like to see in a product, and so on. The truth is plain and simple: you are not your customer! A compelling personal story does not always mean that you have a connection with what your customers need – or even want.
#5: Don’t nickel and dime when it comes to negotiations
We understand the importance of wanting to get the best deal possible when it comes to negotiating. And at times, your negotiations may come to a stand still – at which point, it is usually better to leave a lopsided deal on the table and walk away. However, keep this in mind: you will likely have to deal with a buyer or licensee for some time to come, and as they say, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. A hostile tone during negotiations will often sour the whole process and can even kill the deal – either on or off the table.
Would Your Invention Get a Deal on Shark Tank?
If you think have a great idea or already have a produced product that you feel could get a deal on Shark Tank, then we should talk.
With years of experience in the patent marketing industry, our team is well suited to be your guide throughout the process – from the initial idea to store shelves – and everything in between. When you’re ready to take the next step towards monetizing your intellectual property, we encourage you to connect with our team. We look forward to hearing from you and to helping you the fruits of your labor.