After years of being on Shark Tank, I’ve seen many different types of people come through the tank. As a Shark, we’re not just investing in the business – we’re investing in the entrepreneur. We look for their passion, knowledge, preparation, and charisma. In light of my newest book, You Don’t Have to Be a Shark I sat down to interview some of my favourite entrepreneurs. They each have their own unique stories of sacrifice, failure, and accomplishment. What advice do they have for a new generation of people chasing their dreams? Read through our conversation below and get inspired to #CreateYourSuccess.
My first impression of Brent and Bryan – Keith wasn’t at the pitch – was that these guys know their stuff ! Radiate came into the Tank as a competitor to a product already backed by two Sharks so they were grilled from the beginning but they knew what made their product different. Better yet, they knew their numbers and had the sales to back them up. I loved their energy and go-getter attitude. At no point did these guys get defensive when the Sharks were hard on them – instead, they answered rationally and I appreciated that a lot ! Good entrepreneurs are passionate but great entrepreneurs are passionate and rational. I have no doubt that Radiate is a product that’s here to stay and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them!
To your success,
So how do you stay motivated?
Creativity –that’s what motivates us. Most people perceive creativity as an artistic pursuit, but we truly believe you can be creative in business as well. We are motivated every day to find creative ways to solve problems, generate sales, and successfully market unique products to a growing customer base.
Completely agree – there’s a lot of creativity involved in owning and running a business ! Tell me why you started Radiate.
We’ve had other successful partnerships together, each of us complementing the others’ strengths and weaknesses. When one of us has a new idea, we always think of how we can work together to make it successful. When we looked at the Radiate Portable Campfire at its early development stage, we knew that we had something special but all three of us had to be on board with it.
It’s very important to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Let’s talk about your Shark Tank experience. What did you take away from it?
- Prepare, prepare, and prepare again! And then realize that the Sharks are still going ask questions that you weren’t prepared for.
- Know your numbers backwards and forwards.
- Know your industry better than anyone – but still be open to advice and criticism.
Couldn’t agree more – I loved that you two were well-prepared to talk about your competitors! What made you want to pursue entrepreneurship?
We’ve always tried to invent solutions to problems. Sometimes our solutions are successful and others end in disaster – that’s just how it is. But creating a product, manufacturing and bringing it to market is so fulfilling. We wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.
Let’s switch gears and talk about success – what does success mean to you?
To us, success happens when you can solve a problem or make someone’s life easier. On the other hand, your company’s success will always be measured financially. Are you profitable? Are your investors getting a return? If yes, then your company is successful.
That’s a really good way of looking at success – differentiating between your personal and your company’s definitions of the same thing. Success always has a price. What was yours?
There are many different prices you pay for success but the biggest price is time. Your company is like your child. When it’s young and still growing, it needs constant love and attention. We’ve been able to achieve a measure of balance because all the partners understand that family comes first. We trust that the company will be looked after as our second priority. If we have to get something done, maybe it’ll happen after the soccer game or dinner with the family, but that is the balance. The next big sacrifice is security. Starting and running your own company is a huge risk. You are not guaranteed a reward for your time, energy, or investment. We have all sacrificed working for a more secure paycheck to pursue entrepreneurship.
I love that you’ve prioritized balance when it comes to your business and your families. That’s very important! Can you tell me about a time you’ve failed? When was that and what did you learn from that experience?
All of us have failed many times over. As a result, each of us knows how to avoid different pitfalls and offer different strengths. The key to a successful business partnership is to take the lessons learned from each partner and apply them to our business allowing a much great opportunity for success.
Agreed – you must always learn from not only your mistakes but from others around you as well. In terms of sales, what has been your biggest obstacle so far? What did you do to reach the next level?
The first store sale is always the hardest. Once you stock the shelves and have data that the inventory is selling, it gives you a lot of confidence that the product is a winner so being able to close our first nationwide chain was a great milestone to reach.
One last question – what’s next for Radiate?
We’d really love to get to a point where we’re selling 1,000,000 Radiate Campfires per year.
Awesome – I know you can do it !!