I just read an article from Fast Company entitled 7 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Shark Tank. It was an interesting article, one filled with helpful advice for sure. However, as I have watched Shark Tank, I have compiled my own list of lessons (actually only one lesson).
Don’t sell your soul (or your business) to a venture capitalists!
I have to admit that before the show aired, I didn’t know much about venture capital. I have written business plans and have successfully negotiated revolving credit from my bank for a micro-business start up. But, to subject myself and my company to the kind of pressure (and often ridicule) that “Mr. Wonderful” and the other VC’s on the show (or in any office anywhere) is a non-starter for me.
Here are my three reasons to save yourself and your business from the teeth of the sharks:
1. Remember that most small businesses are an extension of who you are as a person, a community leader, and a business owner. So, why would you want to change it to change your company’s character/culture to meet someone else’s bottom line projections.
2. Let your business grow and expanded organically rather than through the steroid induced growth from venture capitalists. (Just remember the long-term effects of steroids on the human body!)
3. Remind yourself that the hard work that it takes to build an organic business let’s you sleep well and live at peace with yourself, your customers, and your community. (Making money is fine, but having money/success too quickly has been the downfall of many sports figures, entertainers, politicians, and entrepreneurs.)
Let me finish this thought by saying that I am a capitalist through and through. I have owned a business of one sort or another since 1987. I understand the lure of the “quick kill” and have watched companies rise and fall under the weight of that allurement. (Remember if your business fails, the VC’s write it off and move on to the next business while you loose everything.) For me, the weight of the venture capitalist is just too much to bear. The choice is certainly yours, but be sure to make the choice with your eyes wide open!