Lori Greiner of ABC’s hit reality show Shark Tank is famous for knowing if a business idea is a ‘hero or a zero.’ When considering an investment in an entrepreneur’s company, she looks for something that has broad mass appeal, solves a problem, is unique, and is affordable to a large customer base.
While the “Queen of QVC” can spot winning pitches, she also points out some major faux that those entering the tank should avoid at all costs.
No patience for arrogance
A self-made millionaire and inventor, Greiner has a net worth estimated at $100 million, according to The Street. Needless to say, she knows what is required for building a business and creating a successful partnership. She tells aspiring entrepreneurs that they have to be, in a nutshell, likable.
“Remember, if you’re trying to convince someone to invest in you, they need to not only like what you’re asking them to invest in, but they also need to like you and believe in you,” Greiner told Entrepreneur.
The Shark Tank star can also quickly detect whether or not a potential partner is a good communicator. “If entrepreneurs don’t listen to questions asked during a pitch, they aren’t going to hear you down the road, and they’re not going to be a good partner,” Greiner said.
The QVC mogul also stays away from people who come off as difficult to work with, saying, “It doesn’t matter how great a business idea or product is, if the entrepreneur is going to be a problem, nothing is worth it.”
You gotta show some spunk
While one would think someone who builds a business from scratch would be excited over their creation, that isn’t always the case. “I’ve seen the greatest ideas fall completely flat when presented by someone who lacks enthusiasm,” Greiner revealed.
For the millionaire inventor, enthusiastic dedication goes a long way when she considers an investment. “For the entrepreneur, I love to see someone who is energetic, passionate, honest and driven,” Greiner said. “I want to feel that they will do whatever it takes to make their business a success.”
She shared that being passionate about a product has actually saved pitches for entrepreneurs, despite the idea being a success or not. “I’ve seen great entrepreneurs convince others to buy or invest in things that they would never have under any other circumstances, but for their passion… Ryan ‘Cowboy’ Ehmann was one of the funniest and most crazy. I couldn’t figure out what he was selling, and Daymond John gave him a deal for his rodeo-themed Cowboy gym — go figure!”
Biggest pet peeve
Greiner shared that the biggest mistake aspiring entrepreneurs make in the tank is not knowing their business down to the letter. “You should know your product or business inside and out, and be prepared to answer any question about it,” she said, revealing that lack of preparation is her number one pet peeve. “Whether the question involves finances, manufacturing, inventory, or processes — you should know every single detail.”
She feels the lack of knowledge and pitch planning indicates many negative aspects about the entrepreneur. “It shows a lack of commitment and caring and is reflective of their work ethic,” Greiner explained. “It also lets me know that they would probably not be successful.”
Greiner sees every pitch as a learning experience for each entrepreneur. “There are always valuable lessons to learn from every experience, and I think that even though sometimes the questions from the Sharks or what happens can seem quite difficult, I think you will walk away learning a great deal and correcting what went wrong,” she shared. “You learn the most from what you consider failures or difficulties. I look at them as the greatest and most valuable lessons. There are no failures in life, just great lessons.”
Watch ABC’s Shark Tank on Sunday nights!