Is Shark Tank Syndrome Stifling Your Success?

One of my favorite TV programs in ‘Shark Tank’.

Taken from the UK program called ‘Dragons Den’ it’s a show that allows inventors, entrepreneurs and anybody with a killer business idea to pitch their product or service to a group of multimillionaires and billionaires.

They usually offer a percentage of their business for one or more of the ‘sharks’ to make an investment and become their business partner.

The ideas range from ‘OMG, OMG, OMG, why didn’t I think of that it’s so obvious and so brilliant!’

To ‘OMG, OMG, OMG, this guy must have done way too much acid when he was younger because that is so stupid I have no clue how it got past the production team’.

It’s fascinating to see how the different people deal with these super successful business owners and what their level of preparedness is.

Some will rattle out answers to the most technical financial and business questions and you can tell they really know their shit, not just about the product, but also about what is needed to take the product to market and make a success of it.

Whereas others when asked simple questions like what is their client acquisition cost go as blank as if they’d just been asked to name the fourth largest city in Liberia.

I’m often left shaking my head and wondering if the people looking to hook a shark have even bothered to watch previous episodes to get an idea of what may be expected from them.

One of the things that bugs me (and the sharks) is something I have termed ‘Shark Tank Syndrome’.

It’s something a lot of Life Coaches are guilty of and it goes something like this.

‘All I need to be successful is to gain 1% of market share because it’s a $100 million per year industry and then I’d be sitting pretty’

Or in the case of Life Coaches, ‘I only need two clients per week to absolutely crush it and hit my financial goals’

It sounds easy grabbing 1% of the market share, or generating two additional clients doesn’t it?

Well sadly, both are very hard.

To grab 1% of any market means you either have to expand demand and grow the market, or take business off an already established competitor.

Similarly, getting an extra 2 clients for your Life Coaching services means you either have to generate demand that wasn’t previously there, or take clients off somebody like myself who is already established.

It can be done of course, but you need a PLAN if you’re going to do it.

Just needing 1% market share or only needing 2 clients per week is not a plan, it’s at the very best merely a demonstration of potential.

Every time we do a launch at Coach the Life Coach we have a plan.

We know how much it costs us to acquire new subscribers. We know roughly the percentage of new subscribers who will be interested in what we have to offer.

We also know how many emails we have to send out to have a successful launch and how long we need to run an early-bird for.

Without any of that knowledge we’d have no clue what to do, we’d be totally in the dark and we would almost certainly fail.

Knowing that information doesn’t guarantee success, but it makes it exponentially more likely.

You do need to know how many clients you require to make coaching financially sustainable for you, but that knowledge in and of itself is useless.

You need a plan in place to acquire the requisite clients and that is where the vast majority of coaches fall down because they don’t have one.

They have an idea that they will utilize Social Media, do some blogging and maybe start up a newsletter, but again that’s not really a specific plan because everybody is doing that to some extent.

You need a plan that will help you stand out and allow you to demonstrate your worth to people, because if you don’t a coach who does will happily take your prospective clients off you.

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2 thoughts on “Is Shark Tank Syndrome Stifling Your Success?”

  1. Love the analogy of our coaching business to that of Shark Tank. Initially, I thought Shark Tank Syndrome might be related to the limiting belief that one is not good enough to get started unless his/her business is good enough to be on Shark Tank. I also liked how you described the Red Ocean strategy (compete for existing customers) vs a Blue Ocean strategy (expand the market). I support discovering your uniqueness to differentiate yourself and create on blue ocean strategies. How do you feel about our market’s natural growth rate? For example, the number of baby boomers entering retirement each day, or the number of Millennials entering management and leadership positions. Do we even have to consider red ocean strategies to succeed?

    • Is blue ocean strategy expand the new market? I *thought* it was create an entirely new market.

      On reflection the two could in some cases be one and the same.


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