What I Learned from Shark Tank: Jan 24, 2014

Companies

  • SwimZip
  • Fit Deck
  • Life Caps
  • Freshly Picked

Have a clear and consistent company vision (and plan)

Far too often do I see companies pitching on Shark Tank with a lack of a true, consistent vision of where they want the business to go. For those that do, the vision is sometimes unrealistic or mis-guided. Let's walk through some of the companies plagued with this problem:

SwimZip

The big red flag was that the owners (who are related) did not share the same feelings about appearing on the show. One thought they would be fine without it, the other thought the company would drown without the knowledge and experience of the Sharks. Although the mission was clear (to prevent skin cancer in kids), the plan on how to execute and get there was not.

Fit Deck

Let's look past how over-qualified this guy was to be on the show and instead look at what he was trying to do. In an already over-saturated market (fitness), he was trying to grow a business around playing cards (I haven't owned any since my childhood Pokemon days). You have to applaud him for making some sales, but Robert quickly pointed out how his math didn't add up - he was burning through half a million a year in....I'm not quite sure...R&D...for CARDS? If your goal is to take your experience and build a financial cow of a business with relatively high margins, how can you not be a bit more frugal with our earnings, or at the very least, be able to properly defend how that money is being spent.

Now, let's look past all of that as well. What really started striking cords with the Sharks (most notably Mark), was when he started talking about moving into mobile. So now, he's abandoning his original business concept of making fitness playing cards and trying to get into the (even more saturated) app industry. Daymond summed it up best:

[Apps] are the new gold rush. Everyone with a computer thinks they have the next best one.

Life Caps

This one stumped me. The guy's overall mission seemed to be to provide a food alternative for use in catastrophic situations, although he went on to talk about how one can lose weight by taking the pills because of how they're designed to force your body to live off its stored fat. He seemingly had the next best weight loss supplement, but didn't want to advertise it as such. What's worse is that he never made any advancement in having clinical trials done. Here's a good example of a decent product with potential, but absolutely no vision of how to make the company successful.

Freshly Picked

Absolutely nothing negative to say here. This woman started with absolutely nothing, worked her ass off to get our business off the ground, already had sales, knew what she had to do next, and didn't take any crap from the Sharks. A+.

On a completely unrelated note, my absolute favorite part of this episode was when the Life Caps guy called Lori Barbara.