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Shark Tank is a reality TV series which originally aired on August 9th, 2009. The show focuses on business pitches from hopeful entrepreneurs to a panel of prospective financiers (the sharks). As I followed the show, I learned a great number of valuable insights, concepts, and lessons. Today I would like to go over what I learned. I hope the following tips and tricks will come in handy sometime in your future.

Know your competition

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On the show, I often see entrepreneurs who don’t really have any idea who they’re up against. Their lack of knowledge is a huge disadvantage for them, the show, and in the real business world. Not knowing who your competitors are and what they’re up to is very risky. It’s like jumping in an ocean without realizing that there are sharks right under you ready to attack.

In the view of an entrepreneur, having a grasp of the competitors allows healthy competition. It stimulates the drive of businesses to be better than the other. Competitors in any industry are great, they make entrepreneurs work harder and think smarter. Without competition businesses would start slacking and become lazy.

Identify your strengths

Every time an entrepreneur walks onto the show, I always try to figure out which shark/investor is best for him. I am often right with my prediction, but that’s not the point. What I’m trying to say is that every entrepreneur should know his or her strengths. By doing this, you’ll know who to ask for help when sailing on your new business venture. Of course, entrepreneurs need an ally and the best way to find one is to look for an experienced business partner, investor, or mentor.

It only takes one idea to make a millionaire

Watching four seasons of this show made me realize that all it takes is one idea. That may be hard to believe, but several people become a thousand times richer because of one idea – of course not JUST an idea but a really GREAT one. No wonder millionaires and billionaires hire people with fresh minds to generate ideas that would make them even richer.

This insight also brings up another fact – there is still hope to become a millionaire. The only thing needed is creativity and a lot of critical thinking.

Networks are important

Another thing that I picked up from the show is that the investors value strong business relationships and networks. Gong back, networking allows entrepreneurs to get leverage in their business. It’s a powerful technique to speed up and sustain the success of an individual through mutually beneficial relationships. Always remember: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” 😉

Get advice

Many times I’ve witnessed entrepreneurs getting turned down by the “sharks” on the show. But only once have I heard an entrepreneur say “What did I do wrong?” This brings me to a very important lesson – getting advice.

I don’t intend on suggesting that entrepreneurs should only get advice when they’ve been turned down. I encourage them to ask experts beforehand. A good reason for this is that getting expert advice before starting a business gives the owner time to improve the things that don’t work. It’s kind of like cleaning a desk of clutter. You want to have a minimal desk, so you know where everything is and all of your tools are ready to be used when needed. In essence, valuable advice prepares you to be ready and a productive.

Investing discipline

While entrepreneurs with a heart touching story beg investors for a shot, I picked up another great lesson: It’s often hard but very important to separate emotions from money.

I don’t mean to give the impression that everyone should be heartless and focus on becoming filthy rich. I just want to suggest the idea that an educated decision on an investment will go a long way. I know it sucks to reject a hand reaching out for help, but it should be kept in mind that there are other ways to help those in need. Not just by funding their business idea and throwing money at them.

I hope these short and sweet lessons have helped you. I want you to keep in mind that success does not equal to having a large bank account. It’s much more than that. Financial stability might be nice, however it doesn’t bring happiness. If you’re an entrepreneur I would have to say that passion is the most important thing for what you do. Without passion you’ll most likely get bored in a year or so, and from then on you’ll have the pleasure of falling off a cliff with your friend named misery.

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos. Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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