Welcome back to the Shark Tankaway series! We are excited to dive into one of the most common challenges facing entrepreneurs. How to overcome hearing “no”. It’s a vital skill because hearing no is not the end.
We all know the feeling of rejection. It’s the worst! The sentiment can take many forms such as “thanks, but no thanks”, “I like you, but not the idea”, “I don’t see a market for this product”, and so on. Imagine, you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into building a business idea from scratch. You finally share with friends, family members, investors or potential business partners and what do they do? They take you out with an unexpected low-blow.
Before you know it, you’re on the ground trying to get your bearings wondering what the hell happened? It’s like you’re Steve Nash trying to lead the Phoenix Suns to their first NBA championship back in 2007. You’re seconds away from winning a huge playoff game when out of nowhere comes Robert Horry. He shoulder-checks you into the scores table. Not even the best game plan could have prepared you for such a cheap shot. Okay – so hearing “no” after you pitch your business idea isn’t quite the same. It’s still upsetting and a real fork in the road moment for you as an entrepreneur. More than anything, it’s a reality check. The vision and purpose were so clear and valuable in your mind. Was it as clear to your audience?
A gift that keeps on giving.
Most of the time receiving negative feedback is one of the greatest gifts you could ask for. Exploring why your idea did not resonate with your audience will help you improve your approach. It could very well be that the messaging wasn’t clear or there weren’t enough quantifiable data points to justify the story you were hoping to convey. It’s possible that your tone was off. Were you speaking about your idea with enough passion? Could you have come off as disingenuous about your idea? You need to dissect the possibilities to get to the root reasons.
This is where asking for and incorporating feedback is beneficial. We know there are several ways to incorporate the feedback you receive. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it burns to hear “thanks, but no thanks” about something you’ve poured so much of your time and energy into. Being told your idea is not achievable, scalable or investable can be a huge blow to your confidence. That’s why we thought it would be helpful to share some of our favorite examples of people hearing “no” on Shark Tank and persevering.
Shark Tankaway #2
Hearing “no” is not a permission slip to stop pursuing your idea.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, hearing no is not the end in the world of entrepreneurship. First and foremost, let’s dive into the facts. There have been dozens of ideas that have appeared on Shark Tank that did not result in a deal. That doesn’t mean the idea was bad! As we mention above, there are a variety of reasons at play – timing, presentation style, etc. Check out this YouTube video from mojo.
They’ve collected 10 fantastic Shark Tank pitches that were rejected on the show but went on to become successful. They are excellent examples of not allowing “no” be the end of their journey. Pitches from companies such as Xero Shoes or Proof are amazing examples. In each case, the company story was appealing, the product was built and sales were strong. Despite this, the sharks still did not see the same value as the entrepreneurs and, as a result, no deal was made. They have both grown exponentially since appearing on the show. In the long run, hearing no may have been the best thing for both companies.
The takeaway here is that you cannot be derailed just because someone else (friend, investor or otherwise) did not see the potential of your idea the way that you do. Do not let yourself be tricked into no being the end of your pursuit.
If you want to read more of our Shark Tankaways, please check them out here! Visit our store to explore our wheelhouse workbooks. We have built each workbook to focus on helping you overcome challenges when it comes to starting a business.
– Trevor Lightfoot