Running a successful home staging business can be hard work. If you are just thinking about getting into the industry and starting your home staging career, I have some simple advice, “Learn from those who have done it before.” Knowing what works and what doesn’t is a huge part of the battle. Those who are currently succeeding are an important tool in maximizing your efforts. With that, perhaps a little lesson from the Sharks is in order.
The hit ABC show, Shark Tank, allows entrepreneurs to pitch their companies to successful business icons. In a recent interview they offered their top 10 business tips. Here is each question, along with my favorite answer (as applicable to home staging). Click on the question to read all of the answers that the Sharks gave.
1. What makes a good business idea great?
Robert Herjavec: There are lots of good ideas but most great business are built on better execution of an existing idea. I am not a big believer in create a better idea and the world beats a path to your door.
2. What do you think are the traits of a great entrepreneur?
Daymond John: 1) Being driven; 2) Always educating themselves; 3) Doing something they love; 4) Willing to take advice; and 4) Resourceful.
3. How do I know if there’s a real need for my product or service?
Barbara Corcoran: Make a list of every product out there already answering the need and be super critical as to whether yours is a better mousetrap. Also ask your family, friends and enemies if they would buy it and what they would readily pay
4. What are the most important first steps a new entrepreneur should take?
Daymond John: Educate themselves in the product and the industry they are attempting to enter.
5. How do you create a business plan that works?
Kevin Harrington: To create a good business plan, you need a good format. You need to be sure that you cover all the basics. It’s important to be sure that your business plan is comprehensive enough for your business. Get someone with financial experience in your business category to give you advice and help you vet the plan.
6. Where can I get help creating a business plan?
Daymond John: Small business consulting firms. Then look for a consultant in the area of business that you would like to go in.
7. How do you compete against the big guys?
Barbara Corcoran: The big guys usually have the corner on money, but remember the little guy always has the corner on creativity. If you can position yourself as an expert in your marketplace early on, you’ll get the leg up on all of your competitors right away. I created market surveys on apartment sales in Manhattan to grab the attention of the press and make the Corcoran Group appear much bigger than it was. The media is always hungry for statistics, so creating your own market reports and distributing them will soon have the press calling you instead of you running after them for PR. And if you can steal the limelight, you’ll steal the market share.
8. How do you build a great team?
Robert Herjavec: Lots of ways – but the first thing is be a great leader. People naturally want to be lead and not managed. Look in the mirror – are you the one who can lead?
9. What makes an investor put their money into a deal?
Barbara Corcoran: My most important criteria when making the decision to invest are: 1) Do I trust the individual? and 2) Do they have the fire in their belly to bring the business to the finish line?
10. How do I find investors and business partners and what’s most important in my presentation?
Robert Herjavec: First step make sure you need investment – or do you simply need a loan. Most people that want an investment simply need a loan – keep in mind if a bank will not give you a loan – you are going to have a hard time with investors also. They are out there – this is the greatest time in history of concentration of investment capital in cash. Build a great business – everything else flows from that.
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