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Lessons from the Shark Tank & Beyond: Small Business Advice with Robert Herjavec
  • 29 August 2019
  • Lindsay Weightman

Lessons from the Shark Tank & Beyond: Small Business Advice with Robert Herjavec

Robert Herjavec recently served as keynote speaker and judge for the Small Biz Challenge, hosted by The UPS Store, Inc. in collaboration with Inc. magazine, in Los Angeles and New York.

Robert Herjavec onstage observing contestants at The UPS Store 2019 Small Biz challengeRobert can relate to the business owner contestants, as he also shares an entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering dedication. He founded Herjavec Group in 2003, now recognized as one of the top global cybersecurity companies.  Robert is also an investor on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank for more than 10 years. From pitching his own business ideas to listening to others pitch their passions, he has learned quite a few lessons on what it takes to run a successful business. Whether you’re a small business owner gearing up to pitch a Shark like Robert, or simply creating a roadmap for your future, here are a handful of his best tips:

1. Sell yourself

The quality of the person pitching a business is just as important as the business itself. From the second a small business owner steps into the Shark Tank, Robert notices every detail about their demeanor. A great small business is highly focused and extremely capable of success, so an entrepreneur should be no different. If you can’t sell yourself, you’re not going to be able to sell your idea to a customer.

2. Where you look is where you go

One of Robert’s biggest passions is racing cars. He believes that the first thing you are taught when racing is just as applicable to business: where you look is where you go. If your car is spinning at 200 miles per hour next to a wall, your natural tendency is to look at the wall. The next thing you know, you’re hitting the wall. In business, where you focus your energy is where the business will go. He advises every business owner to stay focused on positive momentum, believing that it will work out. If you want your business to make it to tomorrow, you need to believe there is going to be a tomorrow.

3. Sales make or break a business

If you can’t sell, you will go out of business.  With so many great minds in this world, Robert believes it’s unlikely you’ll have an idea that others haven’t thought of yet, so it’s all about your ability to make it better. It comes down to execution.

4. Outsource the infrastructure

Unless something is an integral core piece of your business, Robert suggests getting someone else to do it. Outsource everything related to infrastructure. Don’t do things yourself that you can take to the experts, such as those at The UPS Store or elsewhere. We live in a time when it’s easy for small businesses to gain access to the same resources large companies use, so revel in that and take advantage of the assistance.

Robert Herjavec and The UPS Store employee on-stage

5. Talk to your customers

Robert emphasizes that small business owners need a very clear idea of how they’re going to capture customers. Great ideas and exemplary execution matter, but you must find the right customers. That’s where a lot of businesses crumble. Many people are deathly afraid of rejection, so they go out of their way to avoid it when starting a small business. Don’t spend valuable time in the early stages building a nice office when you can spend that time speaking to and interacting with real customers. It’s one thing to have people like the idea of your business, but the power lies in the ability to speak to a paying customer who holds the keys to real, sustainable success.

In the end, near perfect execution, a clear path and a commitment to understanding the customer is what tends to separate those small business owners who succeed from those who don’t – whether that’s in a national competition, on Shark Tank or otherwise. Congratulations to the winners of this year’s The UPS Store Small Biz Challenge.  

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