Fans of “Shark Tank” know there are some cringe-worthy moments in which hopeful entrepreneurs convince the investors to do anything but pour money into their business.
Like revealing that you’re unaware that your product is a potential fire hazard.
Yet there are other, less obvious missteps that can sabotage an entrepreneur’s pitch.
That’s according to Randi Zuckerberg, CEO of Zuckerberg Media and one of four investors on the new Oxygen docuseries, “Quit Your Day Job.”
The catch? All four investors have to agree on whether to invest in each business. Along the way, the investors mentor the entrepreneurs and give them specific challenges to prove that their business concept works.
Business Insider recently attended a panel featuring some of the “Quit Your Day” job investors. After the panel, we spoke with Zuckerberg further about some of the most common mistakes she saw while filming the eight-episode series:
1. They don’t know their numbers.
Zuckerberg told the audience that some entrepreneurs come in saying, “I will work hard for this,” without presenting any specific data.
While a solid work ethic is impressive, “data speaks really loudly,” she added.
Moreover, Zuckerberg said, you’ll want to use those numbers to show the investors “why you,” as opposed to someone else in the industry.
2. They don’t toot their own horn.
In the interview with Business Insider, Zuckerberg said this can be a problem for women especially.
Many male entrepreneurs “tell me how awesome they are,” she added, which can put women entrepreneurs at an immediate disadvantage.
One of the best ways to learn to advocate for yourself, Zuckerberg said, is to have a peer network who can do it for you.
For example, maybe they will share news about your business on social media and you’ll do the same for them. Presumably, that’s a little less intimidating than having to engage in shameless self-promotion.
3. They choose a cofounder with the same skills.
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of choosing a cofounder who has the same skill set that they do, Zuckerberg said in the interview with Business Insider.
That’s likely because they know they will be spending a lot of time with that person, so they want to like them.
But what entrepreneurs should be doing is partnering with someone who has a different skill set. That way, their skills will complement each other, instead of overlap. Plus, they won’t step on each other’s toes, and will have a better chance of leading their business to success.
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