Call him a Dragon or a Shark, Robert knows business. One of ABC's Sharks talks with JB about the new reality show.
Jeremy Bradley- Robert Herjavec -- or Jaws, as I call him -- is joining us on the line right now. Hi, Robert.
Robert Herjavec- Hey, how are you doing, Jeremy?
JB- I'm good. How are you?
JB- So, are you ready to eat people alive on this show? Tell me what happens on Shark Tank. Basically your plan is to scare people, right?
RH- Well, it's a combination of both. It's definitely scary. Can you imagine: you spent a couple hundred thousand dollars of your own money, or in some cases your family's money, to build a business or invention and you come out and find the five sharks who are either going to give you the money, or you're going to get nothing. And, in some cases for some of these people, Jeremy, this is their last stop. They've gone to the bank, they can't get funding. They're family's been tapped out, they've got a mortgage on their house, so it's pretty serious for a lot of people. It's the real deal. If they get that money -- it's really my money -- and I become an investor in their business.
JB- Right. So, tell me about the show. People will have a business idea or product idea and they pitch it to you, essentially.
RH- It can be anything. We have people come on the show from a pure concept idea -- "I've got a thought. I woke up in the middle of the night and had this euphoric moment" to an invention to a business. That's the difference right now that we're seeing because the economy and the recession -- real businesses can't get funding because the banks aren't lending. So, for the first time we're seeing those types of companies come on the show.
JB- When they're pitching or presenting, they sort of feel it's intimidating, right? But, I think it shows a lot about a person's talents or business sense if they're able to overcome what seem to be hard questions when they're put on the spot.
RH- Obviously it's very, very intimidating but I think it's a real learning experience. If you can't communicate the idea of your business clearly to others in a very short amount of time, you're never going to be successful. And that's a real opportunity for these people and people at home to learn how to get investors, how to get customers, and what makes a good pitch.
JB- Is that one thing you look for… OK, so I'm about to present to the sharks, is there something I need to do or say right off the top to hook you?
RH- You know, there's really no one thing -- that real silver bullet -- but whatever you do you've got to capture my interest immediately. I mean, people aren't going to give you the benefit and expect the other person to listen for you. You've gotta communicate. So, that's the first thing. Secondly, you've gotta show why your business is going to be successful. And then third, you've gotta show me how I'm gonna make money as an investor with you.
JB- You know, like you said, a lot of people think they have the next brilliant product or business idea, is there one mistake you see… like, what's the one thing people don't fully think through or leave out altogether?
RH- Jeremy, I think that everybody deep down -- whether they've admitted it to themselves, their family, their friends -- think they're one idea away from a million dollars. So, absolutely, you're right. We see that all the time. The biggest mistake people make though is you've got to execute. It's not enough to have a great idea. How are you going to get that idea to market? How are you going to sell it? Why are people going to buy it? The fallacy is that people think if you invent something great the world is going to beat a path to your door. And that's just not reality.
JB- Really it's as simple as I have an idea for some sort of kitchen product that I came up with in my home, I don't necessarily have had to put together a business plan to come on the show and pitch to you, I just have to really believe in it and sell it to you, essentially?
RH- I think you're going to have a hard time because we're investors so if it's a pure concept, man, it better be a one in a million, because I don't want to work with you, you know, I don't want to show up at your office every day because I've got a job and the other sharks have their own company. We want to invest. So you've gotta have a way, you've gotta have a plan to take it to market.