The Two Best Shark Tank Questions


If you love the show Shark Tank, you know there are some great personalities and entrepreneurs who headline the show.  Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, Robert Herjavec, Damond John, Lori Greiner, and Barbara Corcoran.  Each world-class entrepreneur has a unique story of what got them on the stress-enduced ABC stage. They also have a simple and fundamental understanding of what works and likely what doesn’t when they evaluate prospective deals.

Watch every episode and you’ll come away with two questions:

  1. What are your sales?
  2. What does it cost you to make/distribute/service your product (i.e. profit)

No sales. No deal.

The more my career evolves, the more I understand there is no value, zero, without a sale created.  Ironically from a “sales guy’s” perspective I didn’t understand this right away in my early 20’s.  I loved marketing, the style, the brand identity, value and overall quality design big projects yielded. That said, sales make the world go round and everyone (EVERYONE) has something they’re selling.

The sharks know, if you don’t have sales, they don’t have an offer.  Goodbye!

If you’re not selling, you’re sold to the fact you’re stuck.

Step back and think of everyone selling something today…not who you think:

  • Presidents of colleges are selling their institutions of higher learning for grant money and talented professors
  • Parents sell their children nightly on the value of homework and good decision making
  • Nonprofits sell their ideology to prospective donors
  • A mid-level marketing manager is selling a new idea to his boss to drive more market share.  His commissions: $0
  • College coaches out on the recruiting trail are selling their school, their knowledge, and their vision for the future
  • A new pilates instructor is selling prospective students to fill up her “pilates for moms” 6-week evening class
  • I’m selling my blog and my ideas.  The ideas that will make you a healthier, wealthier, and more fulfilled life.

If for some reason you don’t like the word selling, immediately start getting comfortable with the word: influence.

Your ability to influence, directly impacts your ability to achieve, advance, or crush your goals.

ACTION ITEM: If you find yourself in a position of not getting what you want, or what you think you deserve, find your way back into your passion and selling/influencing an idea. Creating opportunities for your team, company, or even yourself will get you what you’re looking for!

The Beauty in Paranoia

I don’t think paranoia is a dirty word when used correctly.

When you think of paranoia, how do you feel?

  • Anxious
  • Worried
  • Scared
  • Cowering
  • Trembling

A couple weeks ago, I was watching an episode of Shark Tank I had on the DVR and Robert Herjavec said something I’ll never forget to a show guest.


The Most Paranoid Wins

He said, “In this and any other business, the most paranoid wins!

The most paranoid wins?  Are you nuts?

This statement may have sent shock waves through thousands of viewers throughout the country, but I think they’re missing the boat.

Paranoia in business isn’t about fear, Xanax, or meetings with a mental health professional.  I believe it’s the exact opposite.  Paranoia in business is about being proactive.  The more paranoid, the more prepared.  This was Robert’s point.

The business world today is being recreated weekly if not daily.  New triggers and trends are impacting our world from hundreds of different angles.  Mistakes are being made in the thousands if not millions, and people are learning from these mistakes at a phenomenal rate.  The business owner looking for funding on this specific project wasn’t paranoid enough and Robert sensed it with his super-human shark senses.

That said, how can you be more paranoid about your business today so you don’t make the same mistake?  Below is a list of five questions you can ask to be better prepared (or more paranoid).

  1. What keeps your client awake at night?
  2. How can you make your product/service offering better immediately to the end user?
  3. What are you missing to achieve more scale with your efforts?
  4. Are you building a business or collecting transactions? (There is a difference)
  5. Have I taken time alone this week to think about our client/customer?

Paranoia in business revolves around two key words.  Solutions focused.  Paranoid leaders are challenging leaders inspecting their team’s work and process.  Paranoid leaders think of their offerings from the client perspective instead of always from the business owner’s viewpoint.  Paranoid leaders don’t know all the answers, but they’re not afraid to ask the questions.

Lastly, paranoid leaders think a great deal about their PEOPLE.  Are they challenged? Are they having fun? Are they growing personally and professionally?  This is the leader’s responsibility, and the paranoid leader isn’t afraid to challenge themselves to get better daily.


Tough times never last; tough people always do

ACTION ITEM: Try and be a little more paranoid this week and utilize one or a few of the five questions listed above.  If you put them to use and see results, I’d love it if you’d share your outcome with the group.