For years, the American reality TV show Shark Tank has done wonders for entrepreneurs and small businesses. In the US, the award-winning reality show is in its thirteenth season and recently aired the first season in India on Sony India.
If you’re new to the show, it’s about aspiring entrepreneurs who get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pitch their innovative business idea or product to a panel and ask for funding in exchange for equity in their business. The panel is made up of self-made, incredibly successful investors, aka the “sharks.”
They’re some of India’s top business leaders like Vineeta Singh (CEO and Co-Founder of Sugar Cosmetics), Peyush Bansal (CEO and Co-Founder of Lenskart), Ghazal Alagh (Co-founder and CIO of Mamaearth), Aman Gupta (Co-Founder and CMO of bOAt), Namita Thapar (Executive Director of Emcure Pharmaceuticals), Ashneesh Grover (Co-founder of Bharat Pe), and Anupam Mittal, (Founder of Shaadi.com).
Interested sharks make a “gentleman’s agreement” to further the business idea or product. As thrilling and entertaining as it sounds, it also helps HRs learn a thing or two.
HRs, here are a couple of key lessons you can pick up from the show.
1. Be crystal clear
Once you enter the room, you have about ten seconds to capture the attention of the sharks and make a lasting impression. How do you do this? You need to communicate about your business and its profitability clearly.
When you lack clarity and conviction in your idea or product, how can you exude the confidence to capture the investors’ attention? This results in unclear direction for the company, and the sharks are unlikely to invest.
As in the shark tank, where you need to be able to articulate your business idea along with numbers in a brief span of time, clearly, the same applies to real life.
Unclear ideas or thoughts lack any direction and it’s difficult to focus on what’s important and achieve goals. When you have clarity, whether it’s communication, giving direction, managing your team, communication with higher-ups, etc.
Everything is more seamless and easy. Moreover, you will have a clear understanding of your purpose and what you want to accomplish.
Of course, on a day-to-day basis, you’re not standing in front of a multimillion-dollar venture capitalist. But follow the same practice whether you’re facing your client, customers, employees, partners, etc. and it’ll help you a great deal!
2. Don’t mope over problems, try to find a solution
If you’ve watched the show, you’ll notice that most business owners have developed a service or product in response to a problem they face on a personal level.
Whether it’s a service that simplifies things, a children’s toy, or a healthy alternative, most of them answer prickly questions. You’ll see how they’re always working for answers rather than complaining about the problem.
Be it the pandemic or any other challenges at work, being adaptable and finding a way around your problems is something all successful people follow. Sounds pretty straightforward and a no-brainer, but very few actually implement this or follow through. Clearly, it’s easier said than done.
Whenever you’re presented with a hurdle, get creative and introspect on your own ability to adapt. It will surprise you!
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3. Learn to speak your mind and deal with the consequences
What better way to illustrate this point than watching what actually happened with the founder of Bummer, Sulay Lavsi.
He had an excellent product, and it was worth investing in. When he was asked if he wants an offer from a particular shark, he responded that he was specifically looking for offers from Vineeta or Aman.
Considering the panel has experienced sharks, and he chooses just two of them, it shows he knows what he wants and he’s going after it. Along with this, also draw inspiration from his ability to work under pressure and his confidence.
Be it personal or professional, no matter your setting, speak your mind but also be open, of the people around you and you’ll get this back tenfold. Even if others have a different opinion, be open, respectful, and try to come to a mutual ground.
This will take you a long way in all walks of life. You’ll be able to build strong connections and work with your team to achieve bigger-picture goals and objectives.
4. Implement original ideas
Imagine if all the novels you read by Stephen King, J.K Rowling, or George R.R. Martin had the same storyline, they would have been boring! Similarly, whether you’re pitching a business idea to sharks or looking for different ways to engage your employees, originality is the spice of life!
When sharks hear novel ideas and entrepreneurs’ passion to pursue them, it instantly stands out and catches their attention.
As an HR, employee satisfaction, morale, productivity, and experience are a few key criteria for you among others.
So find unique ideas to keep them on their toes and engaged.
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5. Ooze passion
Passion is what separates you from the ordinary.
Whether you’ve watched the American version or the Indian one, you’ll see how passionate entrepreneurs quickly become the life of the show. Their ideas follow suit. And investors see this and it attracts them.
Passion is something that’s everlasting, drives desire, gives you a sense of purpose and change, and adds that edge.
Here it might be pitching a business idea, but in real life, when you’re passionate about your job then you love doing it, and it interests you. You ensure whatever you dip your hands in, you do it accurately, attentively, and wholeheartedly. As a result, there’s no room for distraction or disruption.
Moreover, when you enjoy your job, your mental state improves. You’re more innovative and relaxed which helps bring out the best in you.
6. Keep cool under pressure
Image facing the likes of Peyush Bansal, Namita Thapar, or the other sharks, it’s definitely not a piece of cake! But that’s what adds to the fun. When you see people face such high-pressure situations, you get to learn a thing or two.
The funny thing is when things are going well, everyone can stay calm. So the key takeaway from here is to learn to keep your cool no matter the circumstance. If not, you will crumble under the pressure. Don’t let pressure take over.
Whenever you do, quickly take a second, take a deep breath and get back on your feet. Doing so will help you look beyond the chaos and find a solution.
A leader who learns to keep their cool is remembered positively and as the one others like to follow.
7. Make moves that make sense for you
As Gary Vaynerchuk, the chairman of VaynerX says, “Many people are happier making $50,000 than others making $150,000.”
What does this mean? From a Shark Tank point of view, some small businesses should not go to investors and must continue doing what they’re doing.
At the end of the day, everyone strives to be successful. But you need to dig deep and figure out what success means to you. In reality, success means whatever you want it to mean. It may be monetary, it may be emotional, it literally means anything.
One person’s success differs from another, so it’s best not to compare. And believe it or not, you’re already successful in some way and you haven’t realized it yet!
Focus on things you want to achieve and give it your all.
8. Perseverance is key
Quickly, watch the video below then come back here. Now, did you see how Kamlesh Nanasaheb Ghumare, aka Jugaadu Kamlesh exudes perseverance? You see why Peyush Bansal chose to invest in him despite his lack of a degree, resources, or money.
Jugaadu Kamlesh has been at his idea for 7 years, without giving up, and finally made his way to Shark Tank. It just goes to show that persistence is a winner!
Such a simple person teaches you such a valuable and enriching life lesson - keep it at whatever you’re doing and don’t give up. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.
At your workplace, when you want to achieve your business goals, there are bound to be curveballs. Face them head-on, don’t give up, and eventually, you’ll see your efforts coming to fruition.
You Got This!
Would you have ever thought that you’ll pick up valuable life lessons from Shark Tank? Interesting, right?
Work on implementing these simple yet effective learning in your daily life and at the workplace and you’ll be on the road to success.
Always remember, life is all about learning new things and going ahead. And Bansal says so himself, “I am still failing, learning and hence revising my own thoughts every month...sorry every hour.”
The real accomplishment lies in carving the path to success by overcoming every challenge that comes your way.