Mr. Wonderful on @ABCSharkTank sometimes speaks with forked tongue.
I am a regular viewer of Shark Tank, ABC’s hit show that lures budding entrepreneurs onto the set to, at times, do battle with the rich and famous. If you pay attention, you can learn from the presentations and reactions. But on more than one occasion, two plus two doesn’t add up to four. Case in point.
The January 24 episode introduced a musician hawking a pill that potentially could keep a person from starving to death given an unforeseen bad situation. This presentation had its issues, among them, as the sharks so vehemently pointed out, were no research, no testing, no FDA approval, and on and on. They got quite upset with this guy.
Enough already. I focused on one point Mr. Wonderful targeted. I’ll paraphrase it. “How can I make money with this product? A person will buy it one time and that’s it.” The implication here – if the product doesn’t generate repeat sales, it can’t make money for the investor. Wait a minute. What about hammers? There are plenty of them on the market. I bought one once. But I don’t buy a new one every month. They’re still on the market making money for someone. The size of the target audience determines a product’s success given adequate marketing.
Here’s another Mr. Wonderful pronouncement, “You haven’t got a business, you only have a product.” This statement, or a version of it, has been shared quite a few times. Implying what? My conclusion – so what? In a past episode, a Rabbi presented a plastic sound diverting invention that fit on a laptop. One product – no business. A shark made a deal. On another occasion, a gentleman presented a magnetized eyeglass holder. One product (no business) that solved a problem. As Lori Greiner stated in her tweet, “To be a successful entrepreneur, find a problem and solve it.” Lori made a deal with this one product guy.
On another occasion, a guy invented a small plastic cover that fit on a laptop. It was designed to obscure the camera’s lens. Simple. A useful idea? Probably not. Mr. Wonderful was quick to point out the he had a product and not a business. Enough already! With deals going to entrepreneurs that have one product or a slew of products, the determination seems to be whether an investor can make money or not. So please Mr. Wonderful, bag the product versus business rhetoric. It may make for a good sound bite, but your argument has been nullified many times over by your fellow entrepreneurs.
BTW, I have a patent pending on a new product that has a target audience of 55 million+ in the USA alone. One product – no business. I designed a solution that solved a problem.