I’ve been watching Shark Tank for a few years now, and I’m a major fan-girl. But I’m certain I’ll never enter a casting call or send an email inquiry to throw my name in the ring.
It’s not because I wouldn’t love to share my business with the Sharks on national television, nor is it because I don’t believe in my business and its growth.
I’m beyond proud of the hard work I’ve done and the company I’ve created. I’m confident that I could pitch my heart out and that I would be winsome enough to capture the Shark’s hearts, if not their investment dollars. I even think the Weaving Influence story – and name – would be a hit with viewers.
But having watched nearly every episode, thanks to YouTube, and watching many successful and not so-successful pitches, there are at least four reasons I know stepping into the tank is not for me.
Sharks Don’t Invest In Service-Based Businesses
Really. I can’t even think of one. The Sharks are looking for tremendous margins and return on their investments. They get excited about products that cost a dollar to make and sell for twenty. Since my company offers services instead of products, the profit margins we’re aiming toward are not even close to what the Sharks look for.
The Work We Do Can’t Scale Fast Enough
My company more than tripled our income from year one, when I was part time for part of the year, to year two. Then from year two to year three, we nearly doubled again. But to gain an investment, a company needs to have potential to grow much faster than that. Since we work with individuals, and serve them individually, though we may grow and create systems that are more scale-able, we will never scale enough to be invest-able.
I Can’t Make A Case For Needing Money
Even if my business were invest-able, I can’t make a case for needing the capital. The Sharks always want to know how entrepreneurs will use the money. Many times, I’ve heard the them ask entrepreneurs why they don’t just seek a loan. They give advice to the entrepreneurs to grow more slowly and reinvest profits in their businesses. It’s actually great advice and I’ve done both. I’ve relied on a line of credit, at times, and I’ve re-invested income to grow my business. Currently, our cash flow is sufficient to cover expenses and build for the future without much financial angst and I’m grateful.
I Love Owning 100% Of My Business
I’ve seen the agony some entrepreneurs feel in parting with equity in their businesses. In most cases, it’s an excellent gamble because the Sharks are offering tremendous value. Without the Sharks’ investments, many of the entrepreneurs entering the tank would never achieve the success that partnering with the Sharks allows them.
In the early days of my business, I felt disappointed I wasn’t building an invest-able business. At the time, I saw landing investors as an external validation of my business’ value or worth. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want Mr. Wonderful to say their business is wonderful.
Even without that investment, it’s been a valuable benchmark in learning what kind of business I do have. And on every metric that matters – building something that I love, working with people I enjoy, providing for my family, being cash flow positive, and creating opportunities for others – the most important investor, me, wants to continue to invest every day.
Wow! This post, from title to content took angles I did not expect. That’s why you do what you do so well hey? I think it’s great that you get it. your reasons for not stepping into the tank make absolute sense, and also tell me you understand what you want and what they want. I am back in corporate, and I made the mistake of getting into bed with “Sharks” in one oF my previous businesses I was co-founder of. It was a great lesson. It’s also a long story. I just appreciate that you will make people reflect more on their business, where it’s at and what the vision is, as sometimes people jump into the Shark Tank without that in mind, and wonder why they feel rejected or give away value.
Great to hear from you and I’d love to hear about your recent journey, Thabo. I’m happy you found me here and grateful for your comment.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. While realistically speaking, I might not get invited to the TV show, I truly believe that the investments I’m making are the most important ones!