IT’S WHO YOU KNOW
A spice rub company couldn’t get arrested at Sam’s Club, they’d been trying to get their product stocked for years, but once they made a deal with Barbara Corcoran, voila!, they were in.
Stop becoming such an expert. You’re not. It’s great to be a student of the game, to know about royalties and players, but the best way to get ahead is to hire an intermediary, who will navigate the waters for you. And it’s less about knowing where to go, than knowing the right people to go to.
Who needs product? Who is open to making a deal?
And people who make a deal only want to deal with those they know. Of course there are exceptions, but very few.
You need a lawyer or a manager, someone who’s been there before. Don’t denigrate the players, INGRATIATE yourself with them!
No one wants to invest in someone without a track record.
How long have you been at it, how many albums have you sold, how many YouTube views do you have, how many gigs have you done, how many people have attended, how much money did you make?
Yes, enthusiasm is contagious, but it’s no match for data.
If you want someone to invest, you must have proof of concept.
If you don’t, it’s too early.
DON’T BE IRRATIONAL
Nothing spins heads as much as a newbie with little track record who turns down a deal because they believe they’re a winner. Then why are you looking for a deal? Of course you can go it alone, but if you’re looking for help, be open to it. Listen. You don’t know everything, you probably know very little. And initial deals with newbies tend to be bad, they only get better with a proven track record. And a small piece of something is much better than a big piece of nothing. They’re cliches because they’re true, like you’ve got to spend money to make money. Don’t reinvent the wheel, put it on your vehicle and roll.
No one wants to be involved with someone who’s a headache. If you’re headstrong, if you have a retort to all insight, no one’s gonna want a piece of you, no matter how good your product, life is too short.
NOT EVERYONE HAS TO LIKE YOU
You only need a deal from one shark. It’s great to get into a bidding war, but you’ve ultimately got to decide who to go with. And that person is frequently not the one who offers the most money. The struggle is just beginning. You need someone who will help you.
And, there are 300 million people in America. You don’t have to please all of them, a tiny fraction of fans will make you rich and successful.
Respect the sharks. They didn’t get there by accident. Sometimes daddy gets them in, but usually they’re self-made. Investigate why they’re successful, don’t put them down. They learned a lot of lessons, which can rub off on you if you’re in business with them.
BE WILLING TO HEAR THE TRUTH
An investor wants to know you’re open to change, that you’re malleable, that you can pivot. Someone kicking the tires does not need to know that everything is right, but enough things. It’s their job to give direction and input. If you need nothing but money, chances are people don’t want to be involved, they want to steer some. If you refuse all input, you don’t want a deal.
INVESTING IS POKER
Sharks don’t reveal their hand right up front, that’s your job. You’re selling. Negotiations are fraught with issues. And due diligence is key. Just because you got a deal on the show, that does not mean you got a deal in real life. When the cameras stop rolling the real work begins. You told a story, upon investigation, is it real?
EVERY DEAL IS DIFFERENT
How much equity, how much cash, a letter of credit? There’s no set term sheet. And every business is different. Some have cash flow issues, others need distribution… That’s one of the first things an investor asks, WHAT DO YOU WANT? The conversation starts there.
SMART IS ATTRACTIVE
You don’t have to finish college, but it helps.
When someone throws a curve ball, can you react? Can you think and respond on the spot? Can you do anything but get flustered and repeat what you’ve already said? Investors are looking for grace under pressure, from those intelligent enough to cogitate, to know that as hard as they’ve thought about it, they haven’t thought of everything.
YOU, NOT YOUR IDEA
The idea, the music, the product, is secondary to yourself. People are investing in YOU! Oftentimes the sharks don’t bid, but say the creator is a winner. Sometimes you just haven’t found the right idea, the right musical format. Winners keep changing, looking for gold. Losers just double down and tell everybody who disagrees that they’re wrong and will be proven so. They don’t realize everybody is laughing at them.
DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL
“Shark Tank” is based on the Japanese TV show “Dragon’s Den.” You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. You can take a preexisting concept and make it your own. And it’s about perseverance more than splash. There’s so much noise today that it’s about doing good work, being in the marketplace and waiting for word to spread. “Shark Tank” premiered in 2009. It doubled its ratings and audience over four years. It’s a long haul, some make it immediately, most don’t.
Every artist should watch “Shark Tank,” religiously. To see how the game is played.
But a great artist creates something ethereal, that is only quantifiable after the fact.
But there are very few great artists out there.
Being a businessman is very different from being an artist. It’s extremely rare that people are both. You need help. Take it!
“ZinePak Emerges Victorious From ‘Shark Tank’ With $725,000”: http://bit.ly/1EAw6rn
“With More than $3 Million in Annual Sales, Why ZinePak Decided to Go on ‘Shark Tank'”: http://entm.ag/1EDriS3
Mark Cuban was out. He thought the company was based in desperation, that physical is dying. But the other sharks wanted to make a deal. Was it ignorance or pure numbers? That’s one thing about an investor, he may be interested only in the money. If you want someone to hold your hand and be your best friend you’re dreaming. It’s about the cold hard cash.
As for ZinePak… Two women, negotiating the waters successfully. Selling millions. They could do it, can you?