Guest post by Carissa Dunphy. Carissa hosts the “Small Businesses Do It Better Show”, interviewing small business owners, entrepreneurs and industry experts. Carissa also contributes to the Small Businesses Do It Better Blog, as well as her personal blog, Caffeine Keyboard which helps small businesses improve their online presence.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with many small businesses. When Shark Tank began airing and I started speaking with this new “breed” of entrepreneurs, I noticed that they really are different than the typical small business owner that I was used to working with. Whether or not these business owners’ products were cast on the show, they definitely swam in different waters.
Both types of entrepreneurs seek the “American dream”, want to make a difference, make money and be in charge of their own successes or failures. So what’s the difference? These “Shark Tank-preneurs” are the most resourceful small business owners I have ever met. By far. They have all heard “no” a countless number of times, but keep on going, because they honestly know that their business will succeed. The businesses of Shark Tank caliber find each other and make themselves available to bounce ideas off of each other and really band together. Every one of their resources and experiences end up being something for others to learn from. They all reach out to each other to ask for advice on a new product idea, marketing plan, investment opportunity, socially share each other’s promotions, and so on. These waters run deeper than a social media group or a one-time encounter; I am consistently seeing status updates about amazing phone calls that were had or meetings that are scheduled.
Don’t misinterpret this generosity though; These guys are super supportive and definitely first in line share their knowledge, but they know how valuable their time is. When talking with any of these entrepreneurs, the time is extremely well spent and straight to the point, yet fun and exciting. Rarely have I spoken with an entrepreneur in the Shark Tank circle who has wasted any time, who is not giving 110% every day or who is not grateful for any help.
This is one of those entrepreneurial habits that you get out what you put in. If you don’t take the time to seek these like-minded entrepreneurs and actively participate in conversations, it’s like they don’t exist. You may wonder why you can never find the answer anywhere, or the right person to ask. Networking with entrepreneurs on the same wave length is worth its weight in gold time and time again.
Case in point, Shelly Ehler – creator of the Show No Towel from Season 3, is a prime example. Talk about resourceful, Shelly traded her fabric and sewing skills for the Patent Attorney work for her towel. Additionally, between Shelly and her husband, who also owns a small business, she seems to know people in every industry, which I’m sure helped her get ahead faster when bringing her product to the market. Many times I have heard, “Shelly introduced me to so-and-so”. It’s all about who you know!
Go ahead and swim with the sharks – you’ll make it safely to the shore with pockets full of cash if you can learn these productive and resourceful habits and incorporate them into your business.