Think Like A Shark: Success Strategies For Small Businesses

Shark Week

It’s Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, so that means just one thing. Get your butt in front of the television and watch the greatest week of marine programming known to man. What? You have a business to run? A family to feed? Well, you’re in luck because we just so happen to have some extra-sharp Shark Week tips that can help you stay creative and keep your small business swimming at the speed of a great white, all while you’re in the midst of your couch surfing marathon.

Like the sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank, we’re no strangers to what it takes to run a business. We’ve been doing it for years. Follow along with us to learn five ways that you can think like a shark.

Craft The Perfect Elevator Pitch

Hungry shark
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Your shark instincts are telling you that you’re hungry, but you can’t quite smell the prey. There may be other fish around, but maybe they’re not interested just yet. You’ve got to assert your dominance and show them that you mean business. How do you do that for your company?

You can start by developing a simple, interesting, and engaging elevator pitch–something you can rattle off to your prospective customers in 30-60 seconds that tells them who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how. Once you figure out exactly how to convey these important facts about your brand in this short amount of time, you move one step closer to gaining customers. 

Develop A Larger Story Around Your Business Or Brand

Coral Reef Shark
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Oh yes, you’re mighty hungry now. Your elevator pitch has opened the door and the other big fish are running scared, they know a shark is coming. As they flit behind their coral reefs, or scurry up onto the nearest land they can find, you’re tracking down the best dinner you can find. To use a fishing pun, you’re about to catch them hook, line, and sinker.

Once you’ve hooked your potential customers with an elevator pitch, meaning they are interested in learning more, you can draw the story of your business or brand out further. Maybe an in-person conversation is not the best moment for this, but social media is a great way to tell your story in an interesting and meaningful way.

Create a blog detailing the conception of your business, or to journal your daily thoughts and business occurrences. Inject personality and life into your Facebook page by posting small anecdotes, or things that are relevant to your customers throughout the day. Creative storytelling leads to building your business and getting people invested in what you’re doing.

Seek Out Your Customers On Their Home Turf

Shark School
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You’re a shark. You are a wild, untamed thing, and you have no fear. You’ll infiltrate any of your prey’s dwellings if it means you can satiate your primal instincts. Just like sharks, business owners would do well to seek out customers where they are, not where they think customers will be.

Say you’re a company that specializes in custom designed apparel (hmm, sound familiar?). Where do you find your customers? Well, you can seek them out at youth sporting events, college organizations, fraternities, and sorority meetings, or at VFW meetings. The possibilities are endless, it’s all about proper targeting. Your situation might be a little different depending on how big or small your business’s niche is, but the principle holds the same.

Find out where your customers like to hang out and meet them there, where they’ll be most impressionable about a product that may help them or that they didn’t know they needed. Don’t forget your elevator pitch and direct them to the longer versions of your stories, perhaps by handing out flyers or coupons with your social media handles on them to incentivize them both to engage with your brand, and make a purchase. 

Creatively SELL Your Business To Customers

Jaws
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Do you hear that? That’s the Jaws theme song playing because you’re circling in for the kill. You are the greatest shark that’s ever lived and you’re going to show these nasty fishermen who’s boss. That’s right, in this version of the movie, the big kahuna wins.

Selling is the most critical aspect of your job as a business owner or brand leader. All of the actions you took previously led you to this moment: building a pitch, a longer brand story, and seeking out your customers. How do you get from those steps, to the point where your customers are actually interested in buying your product? Simple. Demonstrate the usefulness of your service, product, or brand. Fulfill the customer’s final need, the one you’ve been dangling by a string, but haven’t dropped yet. Paint the picture that they need to hear to make the purchase. The more visual you can get, the better.

Celebrate!

Shark
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Once you get a new customer to make that first purchase, take a moment to celebrate–you’ve done it. You followed your instincts through the deep, dark sea, and came out with a full belly (and hopefully a nice paycheck). While we don’t recommend celebrating for too long, taking a moment to revel in your successes will always feel good. Until you get hungry again!

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