Even though Friday night is typically TV's death slot, ABC's Shark Tank has managed to draw a big audience, and an affluent one, boasting the fourth-highest median income among viewers of any series on the major networks this season.
Shark Tank has become one of my favorite shows, part of my weekly informal "continuing ed" lineup. So on Friday night when the show comes on, instead of winding down after a week of work, I refuel my business engine. "Sharks" Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, and Daymond John have become a part of my life.
- Kevin O'Leary is all about licensing, return, dividends and money; as he likes to say, "No one has a monopoly on good ideas."
- While Mark Cuban can be volatile, he is at the same time observant and practical, often waiting to see what offers have been presented before deciding to play ball or not.
- Daymond John loves opportunities to leverage his strengths and branding savvy and is a true believer in the power of passion for any business. His approach to business relies on personal conviction: "Whenever I approach a project, I take a deep look at everything I can control and make sure that I do everything in my power to ensure it's the best work I can do. It makes no sense worrying about the aspects of your life that you have no control over, but you've got to make sure everything that you can control is fully taken advantage of."
- Lori Greiner knows her sweet spot. If there's a story that can be told (and demonstrated) to consumers with a solid offering, she is all over it. And she's practical in terms of making smart moves with smart returns, or in her own words, "Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week."
- And then there's Robert Herjavec, seemingly the most patient of the Sharks. Herjavec has a fundamental belief in people. "People come up with great ideas regardless of their education or background. And entrepreneurs will make this country's economy great again," he says. But interestingly, as different as Herjavec and O'Leary appear on the show, Herjavec's point of view actually aligns most with the most abrasive Shark, "Mr. Wonderful" himself, focusing on leadership.
Here are the trends each Shark will be watching in the coming year.
"2013 will be no different than any other year. Work smart, take care of your customers, always look to differentiate your product and focus on sales and you will succeed. Don't and you won't."
"Advertising is changing in 2013 and is greatly impacted by social media. If you and your team are savvy and focused, social media is a great way to get out more information on your brand or the products you are launching. This can also go viral reaching a massive amount of people without the cost of a TV ad. Of course, this always has to originate with a great product or idea. Look at the Zero or Hero app I developed on my website to check the viability of your concept and get tips, and then kick ass in 2013."
"One of the trends I see for next year is individualizing mass-produced products. In this economy, a lot of the success of any company is dependent on the people that run the company and their approach and ability to find what sets them apart from their competition. As I like to say, 'Tough times never last; tough people always do.'"
"The year 2013 will continue to bring more economic instability. As technology develops, personal interactions will also continue to decline. This is an opportune time to stick to the fundamentals of business. Pay special personal attention to your staff, supporters, and customers. Remember: ‘The only thing more important in business than the numbers are the people.' If you follow this rule, you will continue to separate yourself from the ever-growing cold divide of modern business practices."
"In what is sure to be 2013's sometime questionable economy, if you find a growing market and great product, you'll see entrepreneurs swapping out weak management with strong management. While it's more than half dependent on product and market, lots of great leaders blew their companies' bottom line in 2012. At the end of the day, while nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, I predict that the restructuring of companies' leadership will make the difference in big upsides in 2013."
The common thread I see connecting each of the above points is that it comes down to being ready to do what's necessary to breathe life into our endeavors. Not half-heartedly, not in a been-done-before approach, but with a willingness to challenge the norm, raise the bar, and do something remarkable that would, in other hands, be ordinary.
Now that we've tackled the future, ready for a swim?
FUBU Founder Daymond John's Advice For Launching Multi-Million-Dollar Businesses
7 Entrepreneurial Lessons From "Shark Tank"
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—David Brier is a brand identity specialist, an award-winning package designer, and a lover of branding. Brier's blog covers all aspects of branding including his latest post, "46 Logos: The Steve Jobs Acid Test." His presentation "What's Killing Your Brand? (and how to kill it before it kills you)" has been viewed by over 61,100 professionals. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel or request your own free copy of his eBook, "The Lucky Brand, 10 Golden Rules of Branding to Outshine, Outperform and Outlast Your Competition." Follow David Brier on Twitter.
[Image: Flickr user WIlly Volk]