Sharks With A Passion

You’ve gotta read this article written by guest blogger Susan Placek.  It takes more than a good idea, money, and a desire to build a successful business…
Sharks With A Passion
By Susan Placek
You won’t find me in front of my TV very often, but Tuesday nights I treat myself to my new favorite show, Shark Tank.
If you are one of the many, more or less struggling entrepreneurs or just about to become your own boss, I strongly recommend taking the time to watch.
Kudos to the abc executives and Mark Burnett for delivering such a refreshing and valuable alternative to toddlers in heavy make up, dressed up like hookers and other weird television insanities.
The show airs weekly and gives desperate and hopeful entrepreneurs a chance to fish for investment money by throwing business proposal bait to a group of 5 sharks in business mogul costumes.
Shark Tank episodes are entertaining business lessons and a window to the vast world of tireless people, following their dreams of becoming successful with their own inventions and new business ideas. The range of products and businesses presented couldn’t be more diverse, from down to earth yummy potato pies to sophisticated safety-equipment inventions and protective underwear for flatulence.
After presenting their business in the best light possible, the candidates face the difficult task of convincing at least one of the sharks, to invest money in exchange for business equity.
Arriving ill prepared is not a good idea. It takes a perfect pitch and a profit promising business concept to get the sharks’ attention. Once the last shark decides to pass on the offer and announces, “I’m out!” there is only one direction for the ambitious entrepreneur: Out.
One of the featured products in the first 6 episodes was a line of special sports bras. All 5 sharks rejected it and agreed, that marketing this product would be too costly and competition too strong. Kevin O’Leary is one of the sharks and referred to the business as hopeless. The desperate business owner passionately believes in her product though and refused to give up, which resulted in Kevin’s comment, that there is no place for passion in business.
Indeed, chances are very slim for the bra lady, especially without a big financial marketing boost.
Kevin explains: “Here’s how I think of my money — as soldiers — I send them out to war everyday. I want them to take prisoners and come home, so there’s more of them.”
I have a lot of respect for anyone, who managed to build an empire from scratch with very little starting money, which is exactly how the sharks did it. But frankly, I detect a flaw in Kevin’s business philosophy.
Making money obviously is the purpose of doing business and should be the first priority in making important business decisions.
However, when the first excitement of starting a new business evaporates in the heat of unexpected and sudden challenges, when the road becomes rockier and the trip longer, much longer sometimes, than in the business plan suggested, this is when passion comes handy. Money and success is the destination of any business venture, passion for what you do is the fuel, which will give you endurance to make it through rough times. It is something to hold on to and the remedy for disastrous business days.
A lack of passion may result in loosing hope, a positive attitude and sight of the goal. Let’s face it, the “get rich quick” template works for very few people, most entrepreneurs work long and hard to get, where they want to get. Those who believe passionately and hold on to their dreams will become successful sharks some day too, sharks with a passion.
These are the people we need, to get our economy back on track, the long distance runners who won’t give up when the going gets tough and who’s passion reflects in the quality of services and products they offer.

Robert Herjavec, another one of the five sharks, brings it to the point: “If you’re emotional and you’re great at something, the money will follow.” Robert, you are just my kind of shark.


Visit Susan at

Have a desire to learn? Seek and ye shall find!

If you really have a desire to learn, there are all kinds of resources out there just waiting for you to find them.  There are three that you might check out if you aren’t familiar with them already.

One that I discovered recently, or rather the owner of the blog discovered me and introduced me to her site, is “Selling Wholesale to Gift Shops”.  I’m aware that most of my readers are more interested in buying wholesale than selling wholesale BUT information from this blog is invaluable to all of us.  Selling is selling.  And, tips for owning and growing your own business apply to any industry.  This blog, written by a sales rep in the industry, is a goldmine of information.  Take the time to read “My Story” as well.  It is an excellent example of building relationships on the internet by letting people get to know you as a person rather than just another blogger.

And, if you are a gift basket company that wants to grow not only your internet business but your local business as well, you should be a member of GiftBasketNetwork.  It’s an online directory that you pay to be listed in, but has been proven (read the testimonials) to drive traffic to your website and business.

And, of course, there is our own GiftRetailersConnection online magazine.  Published bi-monthly, it is jampacked with valuable information and resources to help you grow your business with content created by the top people in the industry.

The resources are there for you.  If you really have a desire to learn and to grow your business, you should be taking advantage of them.

Two Functions for Business Success

A business has two functions:

  • To serve its customers better than anyone else
  • To make a profit

If your business fails in either function for any length of time, the business itself will fail.

So you already provide great customer service and you’re still not making a profit?  What can you do?  Profit is simply the difference between income and expenses.  You can either cut expenses or increase your income or you can do both at the same time.

Your financial records can point out some ways to cut expenses but increasing profits may require some creative thinking.  But, after all, we are creative entrepreneurs or we probably wouldn’t be in business.

Put on your thinking cap, brainstorm with friends and associates, and make a list.  Include everything you think of regardless of how silly it may sound.  Write down the traditional ways but make sure that you also think outside the box.  Every industry will be different but regardless of whether you’re a service or a product-oriented business, by being creative, you can increase your income.

For example:

  • You’re a gift basket business:  Think more than gift baskets.  Individual products can sometimes sell better than the baskets.  Add a new niche to market to, for example, apartment move-in gifts or locally-themed gifts.  Is there a service you could provide- such as gift wrapping, personalized products, promotional items?
  • You’re a bed and breakfast business:  How about partnering with a local tour company, restaurant, or transportation service and receive a referral fee for sending referrals their way.  Add a bicycle rental service for your guests.  Provide a cake and decor for special occasions–for an extra charge, of course.
  • You’re a website designer:  Add hosting, templates and help for DIY folks who want to create their own website with some help.  Offer classes either at your location or through the local community college.  Offer a class for seniors at the local senior center.
  • You’re a retail store owner:  Add a workshop or one-time class on anything that relates to your business and would be interesting to your customers–and charge for it.  If you have some extra space in your store, contact a local homebased business owner whose products would complement your business and offer to rent them that space to display and sell their wares.
  • You’re a Realtor:  How about an ebook that you sell on your website about “The Ins and Outs of Buying or Selling a Home”.   Advertise that you will help For Sale By Owner people ,who have found their own buyers, go through the process of dealing with the mortage and title companies all the way to the close of escrow–for a fee, of course.  Manage rentals for out-of-town owners who haven’t been able to sell their house in this down market.

So be creative.  Think outside the box.  And that next bright idea might be just the one that you need to increase your income.  What other bright ideas can you think of for your business?  Share your thoughts with our readers.

If you enjoyed this post, then make sure to subscribe to receive an email each time a new post is made.  Also, think outside the box and add your comments.


Edit What You Write

I am a busy person.  I check the computer many times each day in order to pull orders as they come in.  Once or twice a day, when I log in, I quickly check my emails, forum postings, and blogs that I follow regularly.  And I have no interest in along self-indulgent email or post about something of little importance to anyone other than the person who wrote it.  Fortunately, I don’t run across these very often and I read by scanning. 

But your customers may not be speed readers and will quickly go to something else if you don’t catch their attention immediate and KEEP IT!

Here are some tips for doing just that!

  • When writing business memos, letters, blog posts, emails, and articles, get to the point quickly and don’t digress from your message.  Follow the journalist’s mantra of include who, when, what and why in the first paragraph.
  • One of the most important things that I learned in writer’s workshops was that it is best to set your work aside for a few days, let it season, and then come back and reread it before clicking send.  That’s not always possible in today’s fast-paced techno world, but at least take the time to read through it again before sending it off.
  • If you’re a fisherman, you know you have to keep the tension on that line all the way from the time you hook that trout until you reel him in.  A reader shyould feel the same sort of tension.  Otherwise, just like that big fish, you’ll lose him!
  • If you’re writing something that will be around for awhile, such as an article, it helps to read it out loud.  Some writers read into a tape recorder and then play it back.  If you stumble while reading or something doesn’t sound right to your ears, it may not read right either.
  • Remember to use short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs. 

Consider the Possibilities

Ever now and again, I make a post just to make us think and call it “Today’s One Minute Wisdom” because that is about all the time it takes to read.  As we approach the 4th quarter–our busiest season–here is something to think about.

1. Never reject an idea because it is impossible.

2. Never reject an idea because you won’t get credit.

3. Never reject a possibility because you see something wrong with it.  Separate the problems from the possibilities.

4. Never reject an idea because it’s not your way of doing things.

5.  Never reject an idea because it will create conflict.  Attempt to do something great and fail rather than attempting to do nothing and succeed.

6.  Never reject a possibility because you don’t want to let go of your frustrations.

7.  Never reject a possibility because your mind is already made up.

8.  Never reject an idea because you don’t have the money, the manpower, muscle or time to achieve it.

9.  Never reject an idea because it is sure to succeed.

10.  Never reject a possibility because you’ve rejected all hope.

Written by Anonymous