There is one TV show that I watch ever week without fail. It’s Shark Tank. I, like millions of viewers around the world watch each week looking for inspiration. They inspire me each week to become a better person, leader and business owner. ABC’s hit show has truly influenced and inspired a new a generation of entrepreneurs.
The success of the men and women invested in by the sharks can be attributed to the characteristics that the Shark Tank team all share. Here are eight of those characteristics.
1. They’re not afraid of failure. They embrace and learn from it.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once,” Mark Cuban is quoted as saying.
The Shark Tank team, like great entrepreneurs, realize that failure is a part of the journey. Daymond John admits he’s failed way more than he’s succeeded, but he, nor the other sharks let failure hold them back or prevent them from achieving their dreams. Instead, they learn from it, and use to their advantage. “All the best things that happened to me happened after I was rejected,” said Barbara Corcoran. “I knew the power of getting past no.”
2. They don’t procrastinate.
“Don’t wait for the ‘perfect time,’” John said. “You will wait forever. Always take advantage of the time that you’re given.” Corcoran adds, “If you have an idea, immediately move on it. Start that fire and get it burning immediately… it’s everything.” And, thanks to technology it’s easier than ever to act on your idea.
3. They always find solutions to problems.
“As an entrepreneur, you can always find a solution if you try hard enough,” says Lori Greiner. That’s a mentality and characteristic that she shares with the rest of her colleagues on the show.
“Don’t start a business. Find a problem, solve a problem. The business comes second,” suggests Robert Herjavec. Remember this when writing your business plan. John explains, “Every problem can be solved as long as they use common sense and apply the right research and techniques.”
4. They work hard and play hard too.
Cuban has famously said, “Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.” Grenier adds that “entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours per week.”
While there’s no denying that the Shark Tank team works their backsides off, they also know how to let loose and have fun. Corcoran has said, “I built the business exactly the way my mother built and ran her family. I wanted a replication of the big, happy family I grew up in. I wanted happy people having fun.” Herjavec adds, “Work hard. Have fun. Be nice. Play fair. Dream big. We only get one chance at this life. If you’re going to play this game, play it to win.”
Cuban knows how important it is to have a little fun in the workplace. “Keep a pulse on the stress levels and accomplishments of your people and reward them,” he says. “My first company, MicroSolutions — when we had a record sales month or someone did something special, I would walk around handing out $100 bills to salespeople.”
5. They surround themselves with the right people.
Entrepreneurs realize the importance of not only hiring the right employees, but also finding the right partners and investors. As John has said, “Align yourself with the right people, forge the right relationships, and you’ll set yourself up for the long run.”
Corcoran agrees. “Make sure you pick good people to build your business with, as they’ll determine 80 percent of your success. The best people are honest and have lots of enthusiasm. Don’t worry too much about their level of experience when you’re interviewing, as the right attitude always delivers much more than just experience.”
“My partners taught me that in order to create wealth, I needed to pair up with people whose strengths compensated for my weaknesses,” says Kevin O’Leary.
6. They take calculated risks.
“No balls, no babies. Once you are prepared and you think you have every angle of preparation covered, you have to go for it,” Cuban has bluntly stated.
But while entrepreneurs are risk-takers, the most successful entrepreneurs realize that these aren’t impulsive decisions. O’Leary has said, “I like to take risks. That’s how I make money. But they are calculated risks.” A similar sentiment was echoed by Herjavec. “”Be risky at work. Be safe with your investments.”
7. They trust their instincts.
Instinct is a lifesaving characteristic for both sharks and entrepreneurs. We’ve all experienced those times when we ignored our gut and made either a poor decision or didn’t jump on an opportunity. While listening to your instincts can be easy, successful entrepreneurs have learned how master this art so that it benefits them and their business.
- They educate themselves.
While entrepreneurs and sharks are able to listen to their instincts, they’re also aware of the power of education and learning. “What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? It takes willingness to learn, to be able to focus, to absorb information, and to always realize that business is a 24/7 job where someone is always out there to kick your ass,” says Cuban.
John believes that he would have been more successful if he were more knowledgeable about the business world. “No matter what business you’re in, business is business, and financing and money are critical. I would have made a lot fewer mistakes if I had more schooling in that area.”