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Shark Tank’s Celebrity Investors Share Their Secrets

Image For anyone who knows me KNOW I LOVE SHARK TANK  just as much as I love SCANDAL so when I came across Carol Tice’s article about each Shark’s “quirks” I had to re post.  The original article can be found here—> reached out to the some of the “Sharks” to get their unique take on what makes an investment-worthy business — and what makes a successful business pitch.

We talked to:

  • Scrappy real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, who parlayed $1,000 borrowed from her boyfriend into a $5 billion empire.
  • Larger-than-life dotcom billionaire, Dallas Mavericks owner, and guest-Shark Mark Cuban.
  • Infomercial king Kevin Harrington of TVGoods, who also helped establish the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).
  • Technology wizard and the son of Croatian immigrants, Robert Herjavec, who now lives in a 50,000-square-foot mansion and owns his own island.
  • “Godfather of Urban Fashion” Daymond John, who built FUBU clothing into a fashion empire from scratch.
  • Software industry billionaire Kevin O’Leary, known as a ruthless, opinionated businessperson — though the company he sold to Mattel for $3.7 billion makes learning software for kids.

Here are the Sharks’ characteristically unvarnished opinions on what turns them off — and what makes them whip out their checkbooks: What is the biggest turnoff in a business pitch?

Herjavec: A boring pitch. I say, it’s not my responsibility to listen to you, it’s your responsibility to make me want to listen.

Harrington: People who’ve seen me on Shark Tank will say, “You were so stupid to invest in that deal. You should do my deal.” Insulting someone up front is generally not a good idea. It’s also a turnoff when people don’t understand who I am, what I do, or what my sweet spot is for investing.

Cuban: When people start looking for sympathy: “I was in the hospital, it’s been a rough road, my parents divorced when I was three . . .” You just cannot go there.

John: People who know too much. They’re not willing to listen. You want me in there as a strategic partner, and then you’re not going to call me back. You’re not interested in my ideas. If I just want to pay to argue, I’ll stay with my ex-wife.

Corcoran: When they’re a plodder. I want a racehorse, not a workhorse. Good entrepreneurs are kicking and wanting to go, go, go. If they don’t have the fire to run hard, they’re not going to make it to the finish line.

AB: What gets you excited in a business pitch?

Cuban: When people have an operating business, they’ve already gone for it, and they’ve invested everything. They’ve put their heart, soul, and time into the business — they just need a little bit of help.

John: I want to hear a very good sales number, a patent, or a very large distributor or retailer who is taking it in the store — not “interested in it,” but it’s physically there.

Herjavec: A chance to make money. I also want to hear the amount of revenue and the time it took to get it. We’ve had people say, “I’ve got $500,000 in sales.” I’m like, “Great.” Then they say it took them five years to make that money . . . Not so great. I’d rather hear, “I got $100,000 in sales in two months.”

Corcoran: The product is something I can get my hands around. I love products that have female appeal because it’s a huge advantage to me against the other Sharks.

AB: What is the most important question entrepreneurs should be ready to answer about their businesses, but often aren’t?

Harrington: A lot of times, people haven’t done their homework on the marketplace and the cost to get into the marketplace. They can’t define the use of proceeds — what do you really need the money for?

Corcoran: Why is there a need for their product? They’re often in love with their idea, but they assume there’s a need, and very often there’s absolutely no need for another golf bag that holds beer cans.

O’Leary: A basic question comes up about the numbers, and they can’t answer. You say, “What are your gross margins?” And they have no idea. There are a million deals in the naked city — as soon as one question goes awry, I’m gone. You’re dead to me.

AB: What is the most common mistake entrepreneurs make when they’re pitching?

Harrington: They don’t know how much money it’s going to take and don’t know their market. Then I don’t feel confident I’m going to get my money back.

Herjavec: Number one is they don’t know their numbers. You ask, “How much sales do you need to break even?” And they say, “Gee, I don’t know.”

AB: What makes you pull the trigger and say, “I want to give you money”?

Herjavec: The quality of the individual. I need to be able to say, “I want to be in business with these guys — they can run their business,” because I don’t have time to run their business.

Cuban: It has to be a business I can see a future to, that really has promise and potential. I understand the business and can add value to it. And it’s got to be a person I believe in, who has the commitment and passion for their company.

AB: Do you ever invest in “prerevenue” companies?

O’Leary: I do 5 percent of my portfolio in prerevenue deals. The success rate is like 1 in 17 now, but every once in a while you get a hit that makes up for all the mistakes. I’m sectorally agnostic, too — I look at everything.

John: I do only [prerevenue deals for] technology [companies], or if they have a strong patent. I’m doing one now — they have patents on hospital gowns that have strategic openings for mammograms and such, so you can keep your privacy.

AB: What companies have you invested in from the show that you’re high on, and why?

John: One I liked from the first season was Treasure Chest Pets. Not sure how big it will go in revenue, but I do think it’ll do well. Lisa Lloyd is a great entrepreneur — that’s what I loved about doing that investment.

Corcoran: The Ava the Elephant medicine dispenser. It talks to the child and then squirts out the medicine. The guys were not buying it; they’d never been up in the night giving a kid medicine. When I realize the bidding is going to be thin, I can make a better deal.

AB: What’s your best piece of advice for owners looking for investors?

Cuban: Be prepared. You have to know your business better than anybody in the world because there’s somebody competing with you and wanting to kick your ass. Anybody who shows a level of success, it’s like a magnet for people who want to come take that away from you.

O’Leary: Successful entrepreneurs are able to articulate their idea in 90 seconds. Explain to me why it’s a great opportunity. Then spend the next few minutes explaining why you’re the right person to execute it.

Harrington: Understand how to structure a deal. If it’s a high-risk situation, I may need double or triple my money as a return, and I’ll seldom take less than 50 percent [equity stake]. I pitch investors myself for my company, and I’ll say, “I’ll give you 80 percent of the profits until you get a 20 percent return, and then 20 percent of the rest of the profits, forever.”

John: You have to research who you’re pitching to, because you want your pitch to resonate. A lot of times people [present] me with other urban clothing brands; I’d be cannibalizing my own product. But I did the HillBilly deal. It’s a similar product, and the urban space is 10 percent of the size this brand could be, potentially. It’s complementary.

Ditch the Press Release? Not So Fast.

A counter to Maggie Patterson’s post 5 ways to ditch press releases Sarah S. From PR Newswire sounds off. The debate has begun with whom do you agree?

Beyond PR

who readsIs it time to ditch the press release? That’s the question posted in a blog post titled, “Five Ways to Ditch the Press Release and Actually Reach Your Audience,” published earlier this week on Social Media Explorer.

Unsurprisingly, the short answer in my mind is “No.”   Of course, you’d expect me to say that – after all, I’m a newswire veteran, and am in the marketing department here at PR Newswire, the industry’s largest newswire service.   But before you dismiss me as being entirely self-interested, consider these facts:

  • Press releases on garner millions of reads each month, and more than 60% of those find the content directly via search engines;
  • Journalists registered for PR Newswire for Journalists tally more than one million news release reads each month
  • Press releases are shared multiple times a minute on social networks.
  • More than 10,000 web sites worldwide repost news releases…

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Ditch the Press Release | Social Media Today


I really agree with WomeninPR on this one. There is a lot to be said about publicists most articles quote the negatives and unpleasantness; the media makes everyone thinks publicity is like Scandal’s Olivia Pope…well its not exactly. Read on to get a better understanding of what to expect and what you should be looking for in a publicist.
Have more ideas and tips? Let me know!

Women Of Color In Public Relations

by londonnicole This post can be originally found here

So, you’re the next incredible brand on deck and you’re ready to hire a publicist? Read this first:

Know exactly what a publicist does.

A publicist/PR pro is a public relations practitioner. And, public relations is the art of influencing public perception using strategic communication. “PR” is commonly used to describe the practice in general, not the practitioner. If your potential publicist refers to herself/himself as a “PR”, run.  It’s the equivalent of Metta World Peace saying he is a basketball. He didn’t say that, by the way.

Side note: Publicists don’t like to be called publishers either, unless in the rare instance he or she actually publishes books too.

A breakdown of a publicist’s tasks include:

Creating exposure: Your publicist should craft or oversee your Electronic Press Kit (EPK). Draft press releases to announce news worthy happenings. Pitch you to media…

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Illinois tornados. How to help.

Sunday the 17th was a frightening day for the residents of Morris and surrounding areas. Many lost their homes, mementos, pets. Insurance only goes so far, human contact is needed along with donations.
Take that extra step by doing one or more of the following:
Go online or call: 1800 RED CROSS
A simple phone call to any and all loved ones.
Governor Pat Quinn addresses Illinois tornados

Struggling to think of an effective creative name for your start up? Take a couple of tips from this article. Let me know your thoughts.

Check out @projecteve1’s Tweet:

Taylor Swift needs to rethink her PR strategy

YES! SOMEBODY WHO AGREES WITH ME! I felt since the inception of her career that it was all an act. She was exactly who she is to the core in that interview. As she gets older her true colors will unleash themselves just like Chris Brown…Miley….and wait for it…..dare I say Bieber Fever will have its run too…..

Thank you WomenInPR these are definitely great unique ways to start your own PR firm!

Women Of Color In Public Relations

Setting up your own public relations, or PR, firm begins with a concise business plan to identify the services you’ll offer and the type of clients you’ll target with your marketing program. Depending on your background and previous position, you may already have contacts that could become clients. That can give you a head start in building a business from scratch. The challenge is to win those first clients and turn relationships into work that you can invoice.

Identify the range of services you can offer clients. Use any specialist experience, such as financial relations, employee relations, reputation management or crisis management, to differentiate your firm from consultancies that offer broadly based public relations services. Highlight your expertise in certain market sectors, such as information technology, government, health care or utilities, for example. A study by Hinge Marketing found that high-growth professional services firms were characterized by factors such specialization…

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Watch “Spotlight: Think Excellence, Not Difference” on YouTube

This video is about positioning your company’s services based on what you do best. credit: Morningstar Communications, Eric Morgenstern I believe he hit it right on the nail. Do you agree or have anything to add? Share your thoughts.

What to do when your client won’t listen?

As public relations specialists we are called to be the experts in the industry in which we choose to serve our clients. They pay us for our time and expertise to build their business.  But what happens when your client doesn’t agree with the knowledge you privide them to enhance their business?

You are not trying to change their business model but if a client is trying to put the buggy before the horse or debate with you on which publication the press release YOU wrote for them should featured then as the expert we are to properly and professionally inform them of the facts.  in the P.R world facts are our friends.  Numbers don’t lie.  The best way to handle that stubborn, or know it all client is to stick to the truth about the situation and topic and share your reasoning with them.

We often find ourselves in a position of being an educator to some of our clients.  This isn’t such a bad thing as it helps establish our credibility and trust.

What happens when all else fails?  My opinion: Don’t ever be afraid to walk away from a bad relationship.  We will discuss HOW to professionally walk away from a bad client relationship.

What tips do you have for dealing with a difficult client? Share with us!


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