What advice would you give to startups in need of financial backing?
First, bootstrap as long as you can, and do not take in other funding until you learn all the benefits and the hurdles of the brand. Secondly, take small, affordable steps in regard to selling your product. And finally, look for strategic partners: people that know aspects of your business that you don’t know and can accelerate your company’s growth quickly. Not only will you be able to accomplish things you couldn’t have otherwise, but it’s also the cheapest way to learn.
What do you wish you would have known when starting your own career?
I wish I had a better grasp on financial literacy. I created an amazing company and brand and almost lost it all due to the lack of my financial intelligence. It’s the cornerstone of every business, and not something to disregard.
What do you look for when selecting brands for the show?
No. 1, you have to have a great operator. You need that CEO at the end of the day that can make it happen. No. 2, you need a business that is scalable. I’m all for small businesses that are self-sufficient and supporting their family, but from an investor standpoint, scalability is crucial. No. 3, I need to see a proof of concept. You need to show me that you have an idea or concept that works and complete strangers have already given you their own cash to buy your product. This way I’m able to help to turn your spark into a fire.
Is there anything that’s an automatic turnoff for you when hearing a pitch?
I hate when I hear how the individual will hire all the people and the assets that they need once they receive this great amount of funding. Also, I’m immediately turned off when the individual states how huge the market is and if they only get 1% of that several billion-dollar market. That’s not a justification that you will get business because the big players in your industry will spend millions and millions of dollars to keep that 1%.
Who has been the show’s biggest success story?
I believe it’s Lori Greiner and the Scrub Daddy. Last time I heard, they’ve done $15 million in sales. She’s killing it with those little sponges!
Source: Advanstar Global LLC