When you don’t take Mark Cuban’s advice…
If you’re an entrepreneur you likely have seen a show called Shark Tank. If not, you better go back and watch every episode. It is completely unrealistic to what really happens when it comes to pitching and advice investors often give but, the energy and spirit of the entrepreneurs was ALWAYS my favorite part. Infectious even. I would watch the show and right after you could catch me on a late night binge working on my business. Often times, it was a dang support system from afar to watch the fight and vigor of people that sometimes, didn’t have the greatest idea but, they were hell bent on giving up everything they had just to succeed. That part I was always in awe of. How could people do that!? Until I sold my house and just about everything I had and did the exact same thing.
Tv you have to take at face value. You see the stories but, you get a glimpse of maybe 25% of what it is really like or who those people really are. I should know, I was on a reality show 7 years ago. (whoa! Can’t believe it has been that long.) The show I did was a hair competition that put me through one of the hardest struggles I have experienced that taught me so much about myself. While I did it, it was hell on earth and I regretted every day I was there. I pushed through and made it to 2nd place…
Afterwards I took the experience and grew with no regrets. There are a lot of things like that in my life that most would break to and I just keep pushing on forward knowing I beat the last bullshit, I can beat this… I eventually attempted Shark Tank too. I made it to two of the rounds right before they pick for filming but, it was the last group to fill the end of the season. I got the “come back next year” comment and at the time, I thought “HELL YES! I will be here!!”.
It didn’t take me long until I found another way to track down Mark Cuban and get myself in front of him to pitch directly.
I practiced, I studied, I did my research and business plan for months. I have pitch deck on pitch decks..on pitch decks lol. I had mentors and even a business professor from the University of Stamford that also was a judge for pitch events, advise me.
I didn’t get the deal but, he gave me the best advice ever, that I of course did not fully take. lol He told me to just focus on Sales… I had everything I was doing right. My growth, my hustle, my concept. I also had everything I needed to bootstrap and continue to as long as I focus on sales. With my business model, at the time I did not understand how to sell.. Although, we were growing organically with great numbers..(which maybe was my problem. Organic growth meant it was a different kind of hustle than how to RUN a business. More on that later). My company provides services. I never looked at it as sales. I never thought of myself as a sales person. SO, I focused on marketing! haha way to take his advice. I am a creative at heart so naturally I wanted to create..not sell.. I thought if I just get in front of more people with pretty stuff….it’s a no brainer they will choose us and then BOOM! We grow.
And..We did grow.. But, it was expensive, hard as hell, with blows that I have taken time and time again. At the same time it was exciting, inspiring, and holy crap educational in more ways than ever. SO, no regrets. Looking back on the year, every single thing had it’s purpose and place. If I focused on just sales.. really, I would NOT be in the position I am now and I will say, I am so freaking happy for the shit storm and the greatness that all occurred.
I think everything happens at the time it needs to because you HAVE to go through the motions of some things. If I am being fair, Mark Cuban amongst most easily put my business in this On Demand Beauty Box that is everywhere now and I didn’t “sell” them enough that I was different. To me that meant I was marketing my brand and myself wrong. SO, I spent a year learning marketing, getting the best software, rebranding, working with my graphic designer and even hiring a person for my new fancy marketing position.
It was honestly one of the best journey’s of my business life. I don’t think I ever did more research, read more books, and sacraficed financially more than I ever have. It was also the hardest. Professionally and personally. I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But, it’s kind of like when there is a hurricane and then the storm subsides.. the rainbow comes out..and everything around is so peaceful. I kind of feel like that today. I look around and see what beauty came out of it and the people, old and new that rocked with me through it..The ones that didn’t make it..served their purpose.. and inevitably I learned what I did need in my life and what I absolutely did not. The experience connected me to some incredible people I have in my life today and the value I undoubtedly have for the people that are still here from yesterday. I will cherish each one that much more….
I created a brand… and identity. One I can not only explain in clearer terms but, one that gave me a foundation and direction. Knowing exactly what my business is, what my business needs, and what my business will do next..“You don’t really know shit..unless you experience shit and even still you won’t really know jack shit…because shit will always change...”… Pretty genius quote right? I just made it up ;) It’s the truth though if you think about it.. Because you have to always learn and experience, and learn again..It’s a never ending cycle. Like every cycle.. you have to circle back.
Mark’s words were ones I have held on to. It’s been almost 2 years since he gave me that advice. I can tell you, not only am I a different business woman and company but, my vision is clear. Now I understand whats sales means and how it is related to my business… After getting a taste.. I have a recipe for something I can say most entrepreneurs and business owners are often missing.. now I know WHY 9 out of 10 businesses fail… They got swept up by the hurricane. I used to want to be apart of changing that statistic.. but, it’s a true testament to a person’s vigor and strength and often that can’t be taught from a blog or a book.. What I can do in my writing is hope to inspire and give voice of reason to those in the eye of the storm when NOTHING will make sense... Take your time. Take your own advice and tid bits of others..… Even if it’s Mark Cuban that gives you advice…Sit on it for a bit and do what you think is right for you and your business, then circle back and take that man’s advice!! He didn’t know my business well enough in my 90 second pitch.. Which pointed out, I didn’t either if he didn’t get it… Now I do.. through and through.. So now it is not only marketing that will sell this business or these services… it’s Sales… Because you can have the prettiest diamond on display with the best bells and whistles and that is all it is… something pretty to look at… But, it’s the ability to have that customer understand why they need that beautiful diamond alongside how it can be the best decision ever because of how happy it will make them. Then you create value…which is worth a lot more than how much it costs. And then my friends… not only do you have a business that is beautiful, you have a growing one…
Til next time on this crazy ass ride of mine… who knows what will be shared next!