This is the sixth instalment in a series of articles wrote from my time on Shark Tank.

SHARK TANK #6: The most valuable asset you’ve got

There are many assets that you develop in your business journey but often the biggest asset is ignored or not given the importance it deserves; and that is your reputation.

The business journey is a marathon not a sprint and if you screw people along the way and do not deliver on what you have promised, I guarantee you there will be a time in the future that it will bite you back. Deal with people how you believe you would like to be dealt with.

This doesn’t mean you have to bend over to other people’s demands, but it does mean that you always treat people with respect.

Scrubba Washbag

Ash Newland
$178,000 for 8%

Ash is an impressive young businessman. He knew his business back to front and he truly understands the value of IP. Of course, that’s what he does for a living, so it would be a worry if he didn’t! To have the coverage he has in protection worldwide has huge value. His business is already in a number of countries and has distributors locked in. Ash reminds me of me: willing to listen, willing to work hard and wants the assistance in the key areas that he sees his weaknesses in.

You have to do business with people you like. It’s like a marriage – there will be tough periods – so if you like and believe in the people you are in business with then, trust me, it’s much easier to work through the tough days that come often in start-ups.

I think all of us form an instant impression of someone when we meet them. Rightly or wrongly my face will tell you very quickly my impression. There is no question every deal I do on shark tank will be with someone I get an instant good feeling about.

Given his existing sales and profit, Ash was asking for a reasonable amount that made sense. He was interested in joining up with investors that would provide knowledge to fill his gaps. You will often see me gasp at requests for millions in valuation with no proven revenue. I guess it’s because at the end of the day, I came from nothing and value every dollar. I have risked everything to achieve what I have today.

Since filming Steve and I have caught up with Ash and he continues to impress us with his vision and focus for the business. I am also thrilled to do a deal with Steve, as I rate him highly as a businessman and he can teach me an enormous amount about the online space. But don’t tell him that because we need to manage his ego now that he’s a TV star! J But I also think he is a great down to earth guy. This will be a fun journey together.

 

K-Lite

Kerry Staite
$50,000 for 25%

Wow! Kerry has some amazing energy and is an expert and highly regarded in his field. The product looked good and to be able to charge your phone was an added bonus. But as the presentation went on it came clear that the cost was over $500 to have the light. When we dug deeper, we found that the market was people who travel thousands of mile across the desert and really just elite cyclists. The market was just too small to get traction but he will do well in his niche market.Smart guy, great invention for people who love the sport, but I did not see it as a business that could be huge. I have been wrong before.

Side note here: We do not know the businesses when we go onto stage but we often just see the logo while we wait for the person to go through the shark tank. Steve was sitting next to me looking at the logo over his glasses quite perplexed and turned to me, and said, “The name is a bit rude. Wonder what the business is?” I read the name and had no idea what he meant. The penny dropped that he read it read it like Clit not Klite. Needless to say I got heaps of mileage on that one!

Evil Corp

Kate Rose and Jaye Rose
$500,000 for 50%

I love a good scare. My boys make me watch The Walking Dead, which I am now addicted to, and as a young girl I read every Stephen King book, so I loved the pitch from the Evil Corp group. They did a great job. They were very experienced in this space and clearly scarily passionate about their business. The location that they were talking about seems like a perfect spot. But when we dug deeper down into the business the risks were just too high as it is just an idea until they actually get the business up and running. $500,000 is a lot of money and it was too much of a risk for me without proof of concept. You didn’t notice it on the TV but when the husband came in with the chainsaw, John was nearly on Naomi’s lap! It was a very funny moment. So happy that they started at John’s end. They also cut out heaps of expletives!

Bottlepops

Stephen Brooks and Greg Jury
$95,000 for 15%

Just a boys’ toy, I thought when they first came out. I am a very practical person and though I would never have this in my bag to then get out and open a bottle of beer. Mind you, I’m not a beer drinker so the product had very little appeal to me. The guys were great, passionate and had completed a huge amount of work to get this business to where it is today, which was a real credit to them. The IP protection was an issue for me internationally, and their strategy to launch and then do the IP, in my opinion, was the wrong way around. The reason is that when they start to spend money on their brand, someone can easily do a quick search and notice that they haven’t got the trademark. They then get the trademark and you spend ten times the amount buying it back. I know it is expensive but they really do need to protect their product.

Having been a director of the Hawthorn football club, I understand the merchandise side and how much money there is to be made. This product was perfect for them. I think they will do really well but for me, if I don’t love it, then it’s best not to invest.

Thrilled they got a deal, and from all reports the business is going gangbusters.