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Why Robert Herjavec Supports the Small Business Revolution

Photo: Courtesy of Lesley Bryce Photography

For Canadian entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec, being a part of Small Business Revolution was an easy decision.

The process

Created as a way for the Deluxe Corporation to celebrate its 100th anniversary, the Small Business Revolution campaign asks people across the country to nominate notable small business owners to receive $25,000. Herjavec and a panel of experts from Deluxe will choose a finalist that is, in addition to being a favorite business, involved in the community and committed to employee needs and well-being.

“The company created this documentary about the importance of small businesses, and it makes you realize how integral they are to America,” Herjavec says. “Small business is near and dear to my heart, as it is for everyone on ‘Shark Tank.'”

Tips to entrepreneurs 

Herjavec, who says that he still goes to work every day and loves the process of building a company, has three general rules for entrepreneurs to keep in mind when starting a business. “The first thing any small business has to do is to have customers,” he says. Focusing on product first and hoping customers will find it is, in a sense, putting the cart before the horse. “The purpose of any business is to create customers.”

“The second thing is, you have to have an understanding of cash flow and basic business numbers. If you don’t have an understanding of basic accounting, you’ll be in trouble.” Herjavec uses Oprah Winfrey, a onetime neighbor of his, as an example. “She signs every check in her company that is for more than $10,000. When she first started her company, she signed every check that was for more than $100. You have to know where the cash is going.”

“The final thing is that, on a macro level, you have to be adding value and be innovative in what you’re doing. The world is hyper-competitive and it’s one of the best times in history to have a business, but also one of the hardest.” 

Sales 101

For entrepreneurs hoping to take home investment capital on “Shark Tank,” Herjavec says the Sharks look at more than profitability. “You have to sell us on yourself. Some people come on the show and don’t know their numbers, and we jump all over them. Other times, they don’t know the numbers and we say, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it.’ It typically depends on how people present themselves.

“The other question we have is, how do we as Sharks make money? We’re not a family and this isn’t; this is an investment. A lot of people don’t address that question.”

While Herjavec is quick to point out that getting funding on the show is not a measure of success or failure, he adds, “The show is a microcosm of the real world. If you can succeed on ‘Shark Tank,’ you can succeed anywhere.”

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