Every week, millions of people around the world invite Robert Herjavec into their living rooms to receive vicarious business advice as he listens to business owners pitching ideas on the hit show Shark Tank. As one of the main investors on the show, he has participated in all seven seasons, so if a new episode isn’t available, you can almost certainly catch a rerun. While this vicarious advice is helpful, I wanted to solicit some wisdom more specific to the Smart Hustle audience. I collected questions from our readers and sat down with Robert for a five minute “rapid-fire” interview.
Right now, Robert is working with Deluxe on the Small Business Revolution project where one of two small town finalists will win a $500,000 main street makeover. You can hear about it in the interview below, and also, check out our coverage of the story. May 10 is the last day to vote. Cast your vote and you’ll also be entered to win a trip for two to the winning town and a meet-and-greet with Robert himself.
In addition to talking about Small Business Revolution, I asked Robert five rapid fire questions about growing your small business. Get all his answers by clicking play on the video, and read on for a few select highlights.
How Do You Pull Off a BIG Scale?
Small business owners often get stuck scaling to larger levels – for example, how can you go from $5 million to $20 million? When I asked Robert this question, he said it really depends on the specifics of your business, but three things that will help you scale are:
- Hiring more people
- Going online (online marketing)
We often hear that scaling requires the ability to hire a great team and delegate tasks. We also know that online marketing is the portal to leads and customers. Acquisitions aren’t discussed as much, but Robert says they work. “Don’t be afraid to make acquisitions.”
Does Entrepreneurship Change Over Time?
Are entrepreneurs today different from entrepreneurs in our father or grandfather’s era? Robert says yes and no. On the one hand, the world is faster and requires a different skill set; however, in other ways, entrepreneurship is the same.
Robert identifies the biggest changes of today as:
- Cloud computing
- Having more partners to help your business
Both of these things can work in your favor. Cloud computing can streamline your business operations, making you more efficient and productive. On partnerships, Robert adds “I think the key today is knowing what you’re great at and knowing to find the right partners to help you with the things you’re not. Don’t do it all because you’ll suffer.”
The Question of Business Expansion
Finally, I asked Robert a general question about growing your business. First and foremost, he says “Congratulations on wanting to expand.” He says that although many businesses say they want to expand, they really don’t – but expansion is important. “Businesses are like sharks – sharks die when they’re not moving. You’ve always got to be moving forward.” To do this, he says to find a great marketing partner, go where your customers are, add value, and you’ll continue to grow.
If you haven’t done so yet, go back and click play to listen to the full interview. In addition to the questions above, I also ask him about how small businesses can grab customers’ attention, and how to choose which opportunities you should say yes or no to. Robert has worked to help dozens of small business grow. Now is the time to put his advice to work to find success in your own small business.