The Best Advice For Entrepreneurs From the Shark Tank Investors

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There is a lot of advice for entrepreneurs out on the internet but none of it is better then what comes from the investors starring on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank. Below you will be reading quotes from big time investors such as Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Daymond John, the creator of hip hop brand FUBU, and money hungry Kevin O’Leary. Let’s get started.

Mark Cuban

“Don’t drown in opportunity.”

What does it mean? When you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, you’re constantly battling in the trenches. No one wants to give you the time of day. But once you get something off the ground and people start to notice, opportunities will be coming out of left field. Be careful and make sure to think long and hard before making business deals.

“What I’ve learned in these 11 years is you just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment.” 

What does it mean? How many times have you thought something and done something completely different? And how many times have you said to yourself, “Damn, I knew I should had done that other thing?” Regardless if it is about something minuscule or life changing, always trust your gut instinct. It’s usually right.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You just have to be right one time.” 

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What does it mean? This doesn’t even need to be interpreted. It’s pretty cut and dry. Ever wonder why the stupidest startup ideas get millions in funding? The investor is just making a bet – taking a risk. If an investor has a portfolio of 50 companies and 49 of them fail but one makes it big life is good.

Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful)

“Get clear on what our goal is: I don’t invest to make friends. I invest to make money. If you want a friend, buy a dog.” 

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What does it mean? Some entrepreneurs get side tracked with feel good missions which steers them away from the main goal in business – to make money (or more specially, profit). You can have all the fun you want with OPM (other people’s money) but if you don’t start making money and start the path to profitability you’ll lose everything.

“You haven’t answered my question. HOW DO I MAKE MONEY?”

What does it mean? When speaking with investors, stop beating around the bush and feeding them BS. Get to the point and intelligently communicate why you need their money and how you will make them money.

“She’s always encouraging bad ideas because she’s worried about someone’s feelings.”

What does it mean? Sometimes the truth hurts. Even if hundreds of people – friends, family, business colleagues – tell you that your idea isn’t good. That it simply is a bad idea – you don’t listen. So before you start pouring thousands and thousands of dollars into a bad idea…just stop.

Barbara Corcoran

“Fancy talk doesn’t work. Entrepreneurs have to talk plain to get bought.”

What does it mean? Too many people add fluff to the conversation when it isn’t necessary. Leave the run-around to the politicians and get to the point in an easy to understand way. Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” How is someone going to partner with you if you, yourself, don’t understand what you have to offer?

“They were the best looking bikes I had ever seen.”

What does it mean? Your offering must be unique. In a saturated market you have to be different. You have to stand out and it has to be clear.

Robert Herjavecs

“Don’t take a royalty deal. Use the money and reinvest it into the business to grow the company.”

What does it mean? There is a literal and figurative interpretation here. Essentially, it’s hard to not take a paycheck when you’re a struggling entrepreneur. But sacrifice a little now to reap the benefits in the future.

“You’re valuing your company at one million dollars. How did you come up with that valuation?”

What does it mean? Seems like a simple question but so many entrepreneurs think they have it figured out when they really don’t. Know your numbers. A lot of entrepreneurs are good at working hard and making their ideas become a reality. But there is a lot more to running a business so before you start talking to investors you should have all your ducks in a row – especially financial numbers.

Daymond John

“Mentors, by far, are the most important aspects of businesses.”

What does it mean? Some entrepreneurs struggle to make it on their own but 99% of the time we all need help from somebody. It’s important to find someone early in your career that you can trust. Someone who will help you (without expecting anything in return). I was lucky enough to find someone like that roughly five years ago. You should follow him on Twitter @sujanpatel.

“The only thing more expensive then education is ignorance.” 

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What does it mean? This can be interpreted a lot of different ways. To me, it has nothing to do with the actual cost of education (undergraduate/graduate expenses). Daymond is more of a street hustle kind of guy so my takeaway is that you need to constantly be learning and that you can lose a lot more (deals/cash/dreams) becoming egotistic and ignorant.

“A piggybank with two nickels in it makes more noise then a full one.”

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What does it mean? Someone who lacks knowledge and power always speaks up and talks more then someone who is full of knowledge and power. This comes straight out of the fourth law from Robert Greene’s book 48 Laws of Power – always say less then necessary.

 If you have more advice to share feel free to do so in the comment section 🙂

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