A Night In The Shark Tank -- Lessons from Daymond John

I recently attended a speaking event at a local college where Daymond John of FUBU and Shark Tank fame gave an inspirational message to the up and coming leaders of our time.
Attending with my group of fellow female entrepreneurs, we appreciated the value of his talk, punctuated with iconic images and music from our collective youth (which seemed like ancient history to the students attending). More than just relating to the story and vision of another entrepreneur, we walked out with some valuable lessons that, even as seasoned entrepreneurs, coached and informed.

Lesson 1:

Daymond wasn't trying to discourage invention, but rather help us realize that there are already a LOT of great ideas out there. In an era of iPhones and broadband, most of the successful ventures of our day and age will come from taking what we already do and making it better through innovation and technology.

 Lesson 2:

Acknowledging that millennials sometimes get an undeserved bad rap that, the People's Shark impressed upon us the importance of being responsible for all that you get involved in. Whether you are incubating ideas, growing teams or just achieving work-life balance, it starts with owning responsibility for all you are a part of. Through accountability, you will be more focused on achieving your goals.

Lesson 3:

Although it sounds like one of the most basic business ideas, it still rings true: without a goal, we struggle and fail. Daymond recognizes that an entrepreneur without a goal can only grow to assume the characteristics others (their competitors, their critics) apply to them. With a goal, we can become anything we imagine.

Lesson 4:

The longer we are in business, the harder it is to step backward. But as a seasoned investor, Daymond would rather see his companies try something and fail at a small (read: inexpensive) scale than go through massive growth only to find failure. The concept of "fail a little" to find remarkable success is one that has been proven in technology for over two decades. Remember, even when you have the time, resources or financing to take big chances, sometimes a smaller risk is a better choice.

Lesson 5:

Finally, one of the best lessons for well-seasoned entrepreneurs to hear at this event was a theme focused on the most important area for business growth. Daymond John wanted us to recognize that it's the people who make the company, not the service or product. Sometimes as founders, we get so wrapped up in what we've made that we can forget that. But just as you must get up and love what you do every day, so does everyone on your team. Pick the right people who can do that because they have the passion, drive, and dedication to be great at what they do. Make sure each can keep loving what they do by creating the environment that fosters inspiration and goal-setting. Make them successful and they will make a successful business for everyone.

That closing thought gives a true insight into the mind of a Shark!
Daymond John has an impressive story of growth, discovery, innovation and adventure. I hope that his audience of future leaders could glean as many lessons from his talk as the veteran entrepreneurs.