Each week, millions of Americans tune into “Shark Tank” and watch as savvy entrepreneurs face off against some of the world’s most celebrated investors. From first-time founders to veteran business owners, each hopeful enters the tank with the goal of turning his or her budding enterprise into a booming empire.
In “Shark Tank” Secrets to Success — the latest business book from ABC’s hit show — I went behind the scenes to showcase some of the most accomplished entrepreneur alumni and find out what it takes to run and grow and prosperous venture. Below are some of the most critical practices utilized by this handpicked selection of high-achievers.
Practice Fearless Audacity
In order to build anything of value, one must be brave enough to move beyond the safety of analysis and embrace bold, unrelenting action. In the book, we meet a slew of entrepreneurs who went all-in and dared to face their fears — even when the stakes seemed impossibly high.
Take, for example, the mother and daughter team behind Wicked Good Cupcakes. When Tracey Noonan and Danielle Vilagie started the now thriving bakery, the duo had no reason to believe it would ever be a hit. Neither possessed any traditional pastry training or culinary experience. Furthermore, they were entering an industry rife with competition and littered with rules and regulations.
Wicked Good Cupcakes prevailed thanks primarily to the founders’ commitment to remain optimistically audacious — to advance beyond anxiety and traverse the terrifying threshold of apprehension.
Risk Smarter Not Harder
While it’s true that entrepreneurs must learn to cultivate a certain propensity for risk, the cofounders of Tipsy Elves believe you can greatly reduce the chance of failure by reverse engineering the ideation process. Instead of dreaming up a product they thought customers would buy, Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton used keyword data to design a catalog of targeted apparel that directly addressed consumer need.
As the company grows, they continue to rely heavily on customer data and feedback. They’ve even gone so far as to track products based on specific themes, mapping and measuring each against a discerning list of criteria. This process ensures they make the right product for the right person.
Build a Reliable Team
Many entrepreneurs struggle with delegation, especially during crucial growth periods. But TITIN founder Patrick Whaley has learned that building an effective team is the best way to safeguard against fatigue and burnout.
When hiring, Patrick looks for people who not only share his passion for the product but who are equally dedicated to the company’s core mission. What’s more, he tries to find employees with a broad range of talents and abilities that round out his own skill set. This, he believes, is the only way a business ever reaches its full potential.
Focus on the Details
For the husband and wife team behind Grace and Lace, sustainable success is about learning to calibrate long-term goals with short-term action — a process that requires executing each detail with absolute excellence.
The founders first adopted this dedication to detail after reading a book about how navy seals are groomed and trained. Surprised by the overlapping themes, they made a commitment to become a more detail-oriented company and approach each goal with precision and finesse—a commitment that has taken the company further than either founder ever imagined.
Michael Parrish DuDell is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and the bestselling author of the official business books from ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank.” Recently ranked as one of the top three most popular business authors by Amazon.com and named “one of nation’s leading Millennial voices ” by IBM, he is a recognized business expert and television commentator. His new book “Shark Tank” Secrets to Success is available in stores now. Follow him on Twitter @notoriousmpd or LinkedIn.