In the fifth season of Shark Tank, there is an episode in which Mark Cuban says, when expounding on why he has invested in a business, “it is a good horse, and they are great jockeys.” And it got me thinking…
A business can only be successful if the business is good, and the person running it is great! Let’s break it down. What are the qualities of a good business?
This list is by no means comprehensive; some of it is based on my experience, some on material that I have read and retained over time, and some on watching Shark Tank.
1. Is there a Market for your Business?
This is a broad question and it is not necessarily as straight-forward as it sounds. In considering your market, you also have to consider how much market-share your business can potentially get. For instance, there is a huge market for bras, but most women already have trusted bra-designers and sellers where they go to shop. So, if you’re going to start a business designing and/or selling bras, you need to come out strong, come out hard, and come out with something that will set you apart from every other person who’s selling bras.
2. Is your Business Scalable?
What is the potential for growth for your business? As they like to ask in the Shark Tank, “What is your ‘World Domination Plan’’”? How do you see your business growing from where it is, to the multi-millions?
There is also the question of upselling your clients. I went for a beautician’s appointment recently and I had only gone there for a waxing appointment. As we were chatting, we talked about hair and nails; and I ended up getting my hair done, as well as a pedicure! This is what up-selling is. You give your client what they’ve come to you for, then you provide them with other services that will complement what they’re buying. The customer is happy, plus it’s more money for you. It’s a win-win!
3. Are you Selling to your Target?
Is your product or service high-end, more around the middle, or low end? Recognizing to whom you want to sell, is effective in enabling you to make decisions such as: where to locate your business, how much to sell your products/ services for, how to reach your market e.g. through your website, Social Media, blogs, etc; and so on.
The second aspect that Mark mentioned in the quote above, is the jockey.
What Kind of Jockey are you?
Jockeys do whatever they can ethically and lawfully do to be able to ride their horses into championship. They are keen on their diet, their work-out schedule and their practice. They do these things because they need to remain lean and lithe.
What do you do in order to ride your horse into championship?
Some of the simple things that entrepreneurs do for their businesses are:
1. Pick up the Telephone!
I will admit it, I really do not like making cold-calls. Most of the entrepreneurs I talk to do not like it either; for the simple reason that we do not like to be turned down. I have learnt though, that when my back’s against the ropes, I will do whatever it takes to go just one more step forward.
Daymond John, the creator of FuBu and the branding expert behind numerous brands, started his first business selling hats at a street corner. Mark Cuban started by selling magazines door-to-door. Glamorous? Not at all. But they did what they had to do. And right now, there isn’t anybody who wouldn’t take their calls.
Grow your Brand and Position yourself as a person whose calls get picked
There are a number of basic things that you can do to show that you’re legit. I know that I am going to sound like a broken record here but, get your website up! Again, perceptions! Whenever you call a potential client, you’ve done your homework and you know that they can benefit from your product or service. So as you talk with them, they’re thinking, “Hmmm, this guy knows what he’s talking about.” Then he hangs up, tells you that he’ll get back to you, checks you up online and finds…nothing (?). What would you do if you were this guy? Would the trust that you were beginning to feel, remain intact?
The second thing that will really help your brand and online perception, is a Social Media presence. Entrepreneurs often over-look the importance of the word ‘social’ in Social Media. It is an opportunity for your market to share and interact with your words, your pictures and your brand very closely. If they love it, they share it, and on and on. It is a referral system that you cannot afford to ignore, regardless of what your business is about. We discuss more on this in the newsletter.
There was an article in the first issue of Tune Magazine, that explored the reasons why creatives make such lousy entrepreneurs. I haven’t quite brought myself to read it because it hits too close to home :-/. It may not even be true; but nobody can debate the importance of focus when running a business. On several episodes of Shark Tank, the investors have shrunk from investing into a business when they felt that the business owner was not able to remain focused.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m a scatter-brain :-/, but I will admit that I am not the most disciplined girl in the world. Knowing this about myself, I have put some structures in place; enabling me to focus and get the job done. The most important thing for me, is my schedule. Initially, I had gotten into entrepreneurship thinking that I would not need a schedule because, goodbye, 9-5!!! I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. Most entrepreneurs actually have to start their day earlier and get more done, because your paycheck depends on it, the growth and sustainability of your business depends on it, and your employees depend on it. Structure is important for any business because it directs your growth; as well as crystallizing your business in a way that makes it easy for investors to digest and buy into it.
As a great jockey for your business, you are responsible for your growth. Read. Study. Grow.
Get enough sleep, take vacations and eat nutritious meals.
A burnt-out jockey is no good for his horse. (Click here to Tweet this thought)