Apr 28 2015

Tank Shark Tank

shark tank

SHARK TANK: Entertainment


(But NOT Entrepreneurship)


It’s entertaining. It’s helped popularize the word entrepreneur and expose the hind flanks of what entrepreneurial pursuits are all about.  But TV’s “Shark Tank” is an entertainment product of pure fantasy. It bares almost no resemblance to the day-to-day real-world inhabited by zillions of struggling ideologists trying to piece their brainstorm ideas together with some magical business glue, and create success.

There’s really nothing “wrong” with the show or its (rather engaging) celebrity sharks. And “Shark Tank” is often amusing, provocative, comical, and at times even heart-rendering, but real entrepreneurs need to dismiss the show’s odds for funding success as akin to winning the lottery. And the occasional investment “loser” who ends up a winner –just from being on the show and gaining favorable PR exposure– is highly unusual.

Yes, there are some big-time “winners” plucked from the many thousands of applicants and auditions. But for the vast majority of contenders, time and energy expenditures alone can cost a fortune in opportunity losses.

So take Shark Tank for what it is: A source of amusement at seeing SO many people work SO hard to get to the point of not having the answers to questions they knew they’d be asked before they ever even set foot on the stage. If anything, the show is a rude awakening for those who think they can simply stroll into a bank, finance company or venture capital firm, talk about how great their ideas are, and leave with bulging wallets.

First of all, it is with rare exception that a business startup (or even a successful ongoing venture) cannot be more successful by focusing on making the creator’s idea work, instead of on seeking funding support. Ask anyone you know who’s made it, and they are likely to tell you that when they made their idea work, money simply came to them from out of nowhere – customer sales and investment offers. If your idea is great, money will find you!

Remember, ANY one can have a creative idea. It’s the ability to be innovative and internally driven to take that idea and run with it–all the way through to completion–that makes entrepreneurs and entrepreneurially-minded product and service developers stand uniquely apart from all other business careers and lifestyles.

Entrepreneurs are not just saying, “Hey! Look at this!” They are saying: this is how this works, this is what it costs. This is the market. This is how we can sell it. This is the profit margin. This is the next step, etc. etc. Unlike the fake version, Entrepreneurs, REAL entrepreneurs, don’t sit on an idea, or analyze it to death, or form a month’s- or year-long study committee. They just do it! Then they adjust it. Then they do it again. Then they adjust it again. Then they do it again and adjust it again, and keep going . . . until it works!

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Hal@Businessworks.US               931.854.0474


Many thanks for your visit and make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Sep 11 2014

STARTUPS: Stop Looking For Money!!!

The longer and more energetically


you look for venture capital, the


quicker the likelihood your new


business will go down the tubes!


The process of seeking startup funding is like trying to put the roof on a new garage that you’ve already rushed to park in… but that has no studs in place or foundation to hold them. Advice: If you’ve gone this far, don’t be sitting in your car, especially if it’s a top-down convertible. After coaching 500 successful launches, I know whereof I speak.

With extremely few exceptions, I have found that the physical, mental, and emotional drain an entrepreneur experiences while chasing money ends up costing so much in time, energy, attention, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost opportunities, that new business ventures are often thrown under the bus before they can even get reach the intersection.

USE your time/money/energy instead to make your ideas work. When you ignore your finances and focus on making your idea work, on the market you’re going into and on the marketability of your product or service, money will come to you, seemingly out of nowhere and from sources you might least expect.

Don’t let others (including TV programs like Shark Tank or websites like Kickstarter) fool you into thinking that formal business plans, for example, are the answer. They’re not.

I’ve written scores of formal business plans, some of which raised many millions of investment dollars. But those winning plans were for established businesses seeking capital to expand. And they took four to six months to write. That’s a big chunk of time to not be head-down-and-charging-forward with birthing your business.

And all formal business plans cost some substantial dollars for professional fees (CPA, attorney, writer, researcher, printer, etc.). Well, what about offering those folks equity? you might ask. Think hard about that one. Even if they love you and your ideas, they got where they are by charging big-time fees, and your credit sheet, charging for telephone time, for example, won’t be any exception.

The best business plans (unless you are truly at the break-out point of needing venture capital or a bank or small business loan, which unfortunately still all call for formality) . . . the best plans are typically scribbled on the back of an envelope, folded into a pocket for a few days, then replaced with another updated version, which is folded into a pocket for a few days, then replaced . . . etc., etc.

These “Envelope Plans” are best because they are real-time happening and they keep your attention on what you need to do today, tomorrow, this week.

Goals are great and highly recommended if they are specific, realistic, flexible, due-dated, and are in writing. But thinking too much about your goal puts your mind into fantasyland and pulls you away from your immediate purpose. Runners who focus on the finish line too much, trip and fall.

If your idea is good and marketable, stay with it. Work it. Make it happen. After it’s working, if you want to expand operations, then consider formal business plans. But don’t distract your commitment and passion at the outset. Would you put a new baby down in the middle of a high-traffic expressway so you could run a few miles to go buy extra diapers?


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 Hal@BusinessWorks.US or 931.854.0474 or comment below


Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT Day for someone!

No responses yet

Apr 19 2011

Business Hockey?

Is your business on thin ice, 


racing around in circles,


bashing competitors in the


teeth, and getting nowhere?



If your answer to the headline question above is “YES,” then it’s probably time to pack up your puck and hang up your skates, or look for a different sport for your business.

The problem is not how you got where you are, nor is it –at this point– knowing where you’re going. Like extracting an accident victim from under a car or caved-in roof, concern one needs to be: How to get yourself out.

Entrepreneurs often dig themselves into holes (especially financial ones) while they have their heads down and are charging forward trying to make their ideas work.


The tendency is to grasp desperately at the first straws offered by the first investor who comes along and seems willing to plunk down enough rolls of quarters to post bail and get the new business venture out of the penalty box. Oh, sorry, back to hockey. (I never did like fighting with sticks, and on skates no less.)

The point is that jumping at an expression of interest from a venture capitalist, who may want to own 51-75% of your business is never a good idea . . . unless you’re a serial entrepreneur and looking to get in, make a quick killing, and then get out. And even then, it may not be a wise move. S~L~O~W yourself down. This is marriage.  

Venture capital (VC) deals are particularly risky if you know down deep that the business is teetering (no, not Twitter Tweeting) on the brink of bankruptcy (which is not always evident on the surface . . . and which many entrepreneurs refuse to accept or think about even when it’s staring them in the face!). 

First off, most VC professionals don’t make a practice of investing in incipient bankruptcies, so –even though our unprofessional federal government has proven that it thinks nothing of throwing good tax-dollars after bad business operations– a floundering business startup is not likely to see any real bailout options come along.

Unless money comes from an “Angel Investor.”


An Angel Investor might be Uncle Louie or Auntie Oprah or some recently re-acquainted long-lost college or Army buddy, or a wealthy next door neighbor who’s been watching the business take over the garage and who figures he can always foreclose on your property if a loan isn’t paid, and become a serious land-owner.

Before a struggling venture surfaces long enough to search for financial relief of any kind, it makes the most sense to look first INSIDE to see if overhead and/or operations can be trimmed or scaled back first without sacrificing the essence of the business’s product or service offerings. Note the word “essence.” (“Quality” and “Value” are variables.)


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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]
Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Dec 05 2009

Startup Funding

Money money everywhere,


and not a cent to start with!


     Sure there are all kinds of venture capital dollars and small business loans out there. There are also slot machine, blackjack, horse race, football pool and lottery winnings to be had.

     Forget ’em all! REAL entrepreneurs don’t gamble. They’ve also probably learned the hard way to not trust outside funding sources.

     Don’t believe — for even one minute — that you can waltz into a small business loan package deal, government SBA, bank or credit union, and waltz back out of it.

     First off, unless you really enjoy building productive partner-type relationships with the IRS or motor vehicle bureau (and those examples are just for openers), reality is any government -affiliated loan arrangement will leave you so tangled up in your underwear that your business will probably fold while you’re struggling to get through the mumbo-jumbo paperwork, acronyms and legalities.

     And don’t you just love that the daily lineup of eager-to-please loan officers require only that you put up enough collateral to cover the amount of the loan … like your home, your sister and your oldest child? Duh, if you had all that net worth in your closet, why would you need a loan?

     If you think it doesn’t seem fair, it’s because it’s not. Business is not fair. Neither is life, so say those who have failed because they couldn’t get the loans they needed to avoid bankruptcy and foreclosure.

“Yeah, but I’ve got a great, earth-shattering

idea that will make millions, billions even!”

     Good luck!     

     Of course there’s always the mafia. Can’t find any around? Drive to New Jersey (apologies to my former neighbors) and just ask. You could maybe even Mapquest it. Then, you need only be willing to give up your life in return. Hmmm, not a bad deal: business survives; you die. Oh well.

     Venture capitalists want 45-60% control ownership and immediate return on their investment. You’ll be amazed how fast 180 days go by, and wait to see how much fun it can be having to get approval for a printer cartridge purchase.

     Uncle Charlie? Maybe, but probably not a good thing unless everyone else in your family is already dead.

     So, what’s a bright up-an-coming entrepreneur to do?

     Sweat. Work hard long hours. Believe in yourself and your ideas. Be passionate about them. Have a burning desire to achieve them and be willing to pursue your goals at all costs. Keep your head down and charge.

     Never give up. And when you stumble, get up! Be the posterboy or girl for TRUST and AUTHENTICITY and INTEGRITY, and don’t let anything or anybody get in the way of that! 

     Be single-minded enough to not be side-tracked, but stay flexible and resilient enough to make adjustments along the way. Surround yourself with positive people and cultivate positive thoughts and attitudes. Take lots of deep breaths. Don’t take anything for granted. Work it yourself. Sell yourself, and earn enough to fund yourself!

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Reply Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US (Subject: “Blog”) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day!  Blog FREE via list-protected RSS email OR $.99/mo Amazon Kindle. Branding Line Exercise: 7Word Story (under RSS). GREAT GIFT: new Nightengale Press book THE ART OF GRANDPARENTING http://bit.ly/3nDlGF

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