Winning in the Shark Tank Requires True Grit

Are you ready to swim with Sharks?

Much has been written about the success and popularity of the Shark Tank. What makes Shark Tank fun to watch, and a hit among its approximately 5 million viewers, is the quick-paced give-and-take, that occurs among five very different personalities who are standing in judgement of the entrepreneurs business pitch. But it can also be very instructive as well for those aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages who are watching intently. Keep in mind that if you are to survive swimming with the sharks, you will need a big dose of true grit. John Wayne knew a thing or two about grit. This is the stuff that pioneers who settled unknown territory and inventors who no one understood had in full measure. Today, we need a full dose of grit for our young generation to take on the big challenges and come up with innovative solutions that are valued and therefore will succeed in the marketplace.

It isn’t good enough to have an idea – lots of people have ideas. Ideas may be born out of frustration, a desire to find a better way, to solve a problem, or to create something that didn’t exist before. Whatever the impetus the entrepreneur will need to draw upon their best critical thinking, problem solving, competitive analysis, and finance models to predict and manage cash flow as well determine the most effective go to market sales strategies and any possible manufacturing and distribution channels that might be needed. No matter what your idea might be – it will be rare that you can do it all alone at least for long if it is to grow. You will need the help of a great team that must be selected with complementary skills to help your dream succeed. Here again is where grit comes in. It is hard work to be an entrepreneur.

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Selected tips for entrepreneurs from a few of the Sharks made famous on the NBC hit show as quoted in Success Magazine: Shark Robert Herjavec, “The harsh reality is instead of just money, what they really need is advice. The key to success in business is execution,” he says. “A bad business with money is still a bad business.” Barabara Corcoran, “When they’re no good under pressure, I’m out.” On the other hand, she says, “Assertiveness is a beautiful thing to watch. You believe in yourself, you have a right to be there and a right to ask. Those are beautiful qualities in an entrepreneur.” Finally, Mark Cuban said: “We romanticize entrepreneurship so much that people don’t do the work… It’s not just a dream, not just a goal; it’s a lot of hard work. A lot of people are wantrepreneurs, not entrepreneurs. I use that line a lot.”

Just as the Shark Tank is watched to learn tips and insight into how to create, support and defend an innovative idea – young people (who are 11-15 years of age) come to Camp BizSmart to learn, practice and develop the skills that will help to solve problems, seize opportunity and acquire entrepreneurial muscle and grit that will help them go the distance when they do swim with sharks or enter the Shark Tank to pitch their own idea.

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