This evening, as I was installing software on the new laptop that I ordered, I turned on "Shark Tank" (which I haven't watched in over a year) just to have something going while I waited for certain things to load. I was amazed to learn two lessons from this show that are important for every business person.
Photo by Breakingpic from Pexels
The first lesson that came out of this show was to know your business. Many times we are so consumed by what we are doing that we don't see the big picture. For example, in this particular episode a mother and her engineer son created a business selling foam party hats. When they made their pitch, they were wearing foam party hats. They shot off confetti cannons and used noisemakers to set the party mood. The over 60 different designs were all created by the mother. A lot of these designs were created based on requests for custom hats (they even created a Covid-19 hat) and were looking for ways to ramp up their business. One of the sharks pointed out that they probably thought they were in the party hat business, but they weren't. They were in the fun business.
Have you taken a step back to look at your own business? Are you so focused on your products or service that you don't know what business you are in. Think about who you serve. What are they looking for? Theodore Levitt said, "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole." What is your business? The business you are in will dictate where and how you market your business.
The second thing I learned from the sharks is to focus on one thing. So often, we think about all of the ways to branch out our business in order to reach more people. The problem with that is the fact that if you don't focus on just one thing, you'll never be an expert in any of them. In this same episode, a lady was trying to sell workout weights made from firehoses. She had a contract with the military. She had another contract with fire departments. She was selling through her workout partners and looking into selling direct to consumers online. She was trying to branch out in so many directions that the shark told her that most people have a problem being successful with one direction and multiple directions almost guarantees failure.
Are you trying to offer too many options in your business? Narrow your focus. Are you offering more that one product or service? Narrow your focus. The smaller your niche, the higher your probability of success.
So, to recap, here are the two important lessons I learned from the sharks:
- Know your business.
- Focus on one thing.
Be the expert in your niche.