Living in the Shark Tank


Shark bait! That’s what you are every single day. You are swimming through waters where sharks are always watching and ready to snack on you.

If you are an entrepreneur, you have to be an expert in at least one thing – communication. Feel free to work towards expert level at other skills, but this one is mandatory. You may be thinking: I have failed relationships and faltering friendships; I am no expert in communication. That may be true, but that’s not the type I’m talking about. [More than likely you are self-absorbed. An important quality since an entrepreneur has to be focused on their venture in order to succeed, but people in your life may not take too kindly to it. But I digress.]

The communication I’m speaking about is specific to answering these questions from people:

What is your business idea?
Why do I care?
How does it benefit me?

Pretend you are on the TV show Shark Tank. You show up on stage and give your best sales pitch to a panel of potential investors; some are qualified to give their opinion and some just have a whole lot of money dangling in front of you but no relatable expertise. Regardless, they are going to attack every word. Their motto is “question everything.”

You’re wearing your blue suit (like a good conservative business person) with your snazzy bold button-down shirt (like a good hipster taking over the world). Your shoes are polished or colored with magic markers like I do to get rid of scuffmarks. You even have one of those padded portfolio covers to hide your pep talk notes.

Never show fear.
Confidence is your cologne.
Be sophisticated.
Don’t get offensive.

But those potential investors are going to tear your idea apart. The question words ‘why’ and ‘how’ are going to be spitballed at you. But like the budding business-rockstar you are, you did your research and know how to handle them. You’ve studied trends, financials, and ‘what if’ statements. You know your exact expenditures and what your profit margin is. You’ve practiced your pitch to your mirror, your mom, your best friend, and the grocery store checkout clerk. Prepare, prepare, prepare. When you know you are going to be on a TV show to sell the creative idea you’ve spent precious time cultivating, you are going to spend weeks preparing. Except every day of your life is a Shark Tank episode. Each person that you come across is a potential investor, supporter, or marketer.

I challenge you to approach all interactions as though you were competing on a TV show. Each-and-every person you meet is a part of your panel of judges. Sell it to me. Make sure I understand what your business is. And make sure I care.

You can talk to me all day about how wonderful your idea is and I may agree. I might get really excited for you. I may say it’s awesome, the world needs it, I can see how it will benefit people, and that you will succeed. And that’s great for a confidence boost, but you need to understand your audience. If you want me to be a part of your team, don’t start talking about profit margins; tell me how your idea makes my world better. That’s how you get free marketing and that’s how you get investors.


About Author

Christine Robinson

Previously having worked for start-ups, Christine G. Robinson thrives on the unequivocal pace of new ventures as well as organizing the chaos that ensues. An adventurer with a passion for saving the world, Christine loves grammar, cleaning, and Excel spreadsheets. She has panache for traveling, both domestically across the United States by car and internationally via all methods minus ballooning. Motto: "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:9,10)