Business Growth and Sales Insights from the Original Shark: Kevin HarringtonDecember 16, 2020
As the creator of “As Seen on TV” and the original shark from Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington is the definition of a serial entrepreneur. Harrington started putting products on TV almost 40 years ago when he realized that unused airtime could be utilized for advertisements. After his success of promoting over 500 products with billions of dollars of global sales, Harrington sat down with GLO to discuss business growth potential for entrepreneurs.
Covid and the Era of Digital Advertising
Covid has undoubtedly accelerated the transition toward an e-commerce centered retail market. Harrington noted that despite this, advertising revenues in the US went down as advertising campaigns were abandoned on TV. He notes this as a lost opportunity, as an individual’s time spent watching TV and on the internet surged as a result of all other forms of entertainment came to a halt. Harrington began to focus on customer acquisition in the digital world and found great success in that realm.
Harrington’s advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs in the time of Covid is to revise your strategies to accommodate this shift. He interestingly points to the goliath Walmart, as they aggressively turn to a combination of retail and digital formats. Especially coming out of Covid, individuals continue to want to be able to have experiences. There are products that are sold best by the consumer being able to touch and feel them. Adjusting your business model to accommodate that idea is important to maintain a competitive advantage.
Investing during Covid
Harrington has developed three key aspects of making a great pitch. Formulating a great pitch to raise capital is more important and more difficult than ever. To succeed, you have to pitch to an investor’s needs and wants.
- Tease with an attention-grabbing problem.
- Grab the investor’s attention by stating a problem.
- Please with benefits.
- Solve the problem with powerful benefits.
- Offer a magical transformation.
- Seize by creating an irresistible offer.
The key to creating an irresistible offer lies in knowing each individual investor’s needs. Some may want to see profits, whereas others need greater customer acquisition. Doing your research is integral to making a great pitch.
Harrington sees many great investment opportunities arising from Covid. “I like to get in on the ground floor, but also like companies that have plans to be public so you can quickly monetize your investment.” This flexibility allows him to take a look at smaller businesses that he sees opportunity in and invest in companies that he will be able to see quick returns.
Harrington noted that crowdfunding has been “exciting for deals” right now, allowing deals to come together despite the economic hardships of Covid. He has continued to invest during Covid, finding exciting products that have been successful in advertising digitally. In all cases, Harrington likes to “test before he invests,” and finds that if he has a knack for finding the best products when he tests them himself first.
The Importance of Mentorship
Harrington attributes his foundational success to his mentors. His father was entrepreneurial too and had Harrington working for him at the age of 11. Zig Ziglar taught Harrington how to sell and stack value so it is above the selling price. From this teaching the concept of “But wait, there’s more!” arose. He found mentors that taught him how to sell himself and has found great success as a result.
One of the mistakes Harrington made early on was finding employees within his pay range to help transform his business. He learned quickly that he needed the best of the best in order to succeed, and sometimes that meant paying talented individuals more upfront to achieve success. “Don’t hire the people that you can afford, hire the people you need to run your business.”
Of his mistakes and successes, Harrington’s premier advice is to join peer to peer networks such as GLO to find mentors in other entrepreneurs. These forums can help entrepreneurs build networks and scale their businesses more successfully than if they did it alone. To learn more about Kevin Harrington’s keys to success, sign up here.
Samantha Braffman is a Philadelphia based writer for Global Leaders Organization. She is also an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, working towards a bachelor's degree in Political Science and English.