Shark Tank Tycoon Reveals What It Takes

Shark Tank, my all-time favorite competitivereality show, starts a new cycle tonight on ABC, so you know what I'm doing every Friday night for the next five weeks. The premise, which uber-producer Mark Burnett based on Great Britain's Dragons' Den, has average Joes like you and me pitching our business ideas, in hopes of receiving seed money and expertise from a panel of five self-made million/billionaires.

The business, service and product pitches range from the sublime to the sub-par, and it's always fun to see which ones soar and which ones sink. Among some of the more memorable products have been a golf club with a hollow shaft in which an urgent golfer can relieve himself, underwear with a built-in charcoal odor filter and gluten-free play dough, in addition to more ordinary fare. You wouldn't believe which ones got funding (hint: two of the previously mentioned three).

One of the coolest and kindest of the Sharks, and certainly the best dressed, is Daymond John, the FUBU clothing magnate. He built his clothing line from one little tie-top hat into a multimillion dollar, international sensation, with his For Us, By Us label even being referenced by President Obama. He's heavily involved in charity work, and in mentoring and inspiring other entrepreneurs.

I had to ask him what it would take to be a successful entrepreneur in 2010, or if it's even possible. He quickly came up with the following ten tips:


1. Learn the business you want to be in, from the bottom up. Intern, go to school or work at a company that is in the same business.

2. If you have partners, be very clear on every person's role and duties in the company.

3. Legally and properly set up your company with trademarks, patents, and partnership contracts.

4. Have a clear mission statement and a time line, and review it annually.

5. Develop a master team of advisers whom you respect.

6. Test your product with strangers and people who have no vested interest, or don't want to hurt your feelings.

7. Be clear about what margins you must make to be successful.

8. Make sure you pay yourself and others who work for you. Many discount the labor factor, then when they finally make enough money to grow, they realize they left out this major line item.

9. Know what your competitor is doing, and the major challenges that are occurring in your business.

10. Network with others in your field.


Those contestants making pitches would do well to run down this list and make sure everything is covered. Sometimes the Sharks have passed on a really great idea merely because the originator forgot to get a patent, or didn't have a clue where their product's market was headed.

But then again, if you covered everything on this checklist, you might not need a Shark Tank investment--you could already be incredibly successful.

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David

I enjoy watching the show. I enjoy seeing new idea's and gadegt's that people are trying to get marketed. However, the MAIN reason I like the show, is the same reason I watch American Idol and show's like that. It help's the person that normally would never get the chance, get the chance. I believe that there should be more show's like this, to get idea's out there, to get the next paper clip, the next thumb tack, the next computer, the next WHAT?????????

January 16 2010 at 5:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bobbi

I do sincerely hope that the company...FUBU ..."For Us By Us" makes their clothes in America with American labor, especially in the Black intercity community! I am happy for his success, but I hope that part of the FUBU includes the clothes being made by US! Otherwise it is taking from "US" and not helping with the American job market.Best wishes...B

January 16 2010 at 4:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ANGELA

THANK YOU FOR THAT INFORMATION. I'M WELL ON MY WAY TO OPENING UP MY SCHOOL. I'M NOT TRYING TO BE A MULTI DOLLAR MILLIONAIRE,JUST ENOUGH TO SURVIVE AND BE COMFORTABLE FOR MY CHILDREN.I RECIVE DISABILITY AND WAS UNABLE TO CONTINUE WORKING.SO I TOOK WHAT I LIKE DOING AND MAKING A BUSINESS OUT OF IT.KEEP INFORMING US ENTERPRENEURS WITH INFORMATION LIKE AND WE WILL GO A LONG WAY. THANKS EMAIL ME WHEN HE RESPOND TO MY EMAIL WOULD LIKE TO TALK MORE WITH HIM.

January 16 2010 at 2:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fatcats9111

Daymond what if you have a good idea, but can't get product in stores,how did you do it? Really all i get is the run around, what was your connection or who help you in the markets? Thanks, please responsed !!

January 16 2010 at 1:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Donna

This comment is for Kevin. i.e Wee Can Shop, the three yr olds run the retail economy. In my store three yr olds pick out what they want and if necessary throw a tantrum until parents give in and purchase. The couple have a great idea, but haven't done their marketing to get the sales up.

January 16 2010 at 1:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sanco

For O.J. & others who may not know the "secret" way to get back at the advertisers...In their blog box, upper right corner is a grey rectangular box. Click on this to report spam or harrassment & the webmaster will review said contents and will take it down if it warrants.

January 16 2010 at 1:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sanco's comment
OJ

thanks for the reply sanco. I do know about the gray report box, just had to do a little venting about this problem.
They're all over the internet.

As for the Shark Tank, I like the show some of the ideas are very good, and the article was well written.

January 16 2010 at 2:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

When I talked to Damond and his partner Keith about a clothingline called AFROLETIC which also caters to the African-American consumer they told me that I should scrap the idea because African-Americans wont support the clothingline, and also that the dollars wont equal what mainstream designers will get. I just thought...What If their investor, (samsung) told FUBU the same thing when they started out. Would they have just scrapped the FUBU idea?

It seems that when you achieve a certain level of success, you forget about where you came from, and those who were where you were when you started out.

Bless,
11434

January 16 2010 at 12:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
noelle

I don't where to turn for assistance in developing a fantastic idea. I have a prototype, the market and the manufacture. What I need is a serious financier. This product is extremely profitable and in demand. I have e-mailed The Shark Tank several times and even mail them the material, but never received any type of response. If anybody knows a serious source of finance, please contact me with the info. Thank you!

January 16 2010 at 12:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

Daymond is not just handsome - the man is HOT

January 16 2010 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jacquie

What is white folks issue? They are so self-indulged, they don't comprehend that he would not have created that name if we were given equal opportunities in employment, advancement, raises, etc. etc. etc. You are the reason he & others are successful. You deny, so we become creative. We created the iron, the broom, the mop, the toilet . . . and so many other products you use everyday that your forefathers used to make our forefathers do with their bare hands. Dummy!

January 15 2010 at 11:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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