Entertaining Business – did Sharks make a mistake?

by November 10, 2014

This week, we’re introducing a new regular column, Entertaining Business, in which Angel Cohn reviews business-themed entertainment programs. She’ll look at whether they’re show business — or business.

The latest episode of ABC’s Shark Tank was a prime example of why this show often tends to function more as a valuable business tool for new entrepreneurs rather than just entertaining television.

As often happens on the show, we saw the Sharks hamming it up for the camera (like Robert Herjavec doing some chin-ups) and jokingly antagonizing each other.

But there was a lengthy segment in which several of them went to the White House to help veterans learn how to start a new enterprise, once their military service is over.

This past Friday’s episode also had a pretty interesting hidden lesson in it: maybe a successful business doesn’t always need to grow into a million dollar operation.

Priority 1 Canine came into the show with a lot of flair, showing off its highly trained dog, which attacked on command. The company’s pitch was about its service working with families to assess their personal security needs and custom train a canine companion accordingly.

Due to its  expertise, and owner Wade’s military experience, Priority 1 Canine is able to charge between $20,000 and $40,000 per dog.

Wade and Lori had a lot of energy and a great presentation. At the end of the day, they make a really solid living, but their hands-on expertise is so ingrained in the product, it makes it hard to grow the business at a rapid rate.

Despite their plan to grow the business to close to $1 million a year, the Sharks didn’t bite. (Sorry.)

They couldn’t see the potential return on their investment. Each was looking for a bigger profit in a shorter period of time, and couldn’t see ow their expertise could help this couple.

Rather than invest, the Sharks told them they should be really happy they could do well, and support their family, on the business they had already created.

So, Is This Show Business, Or Is It Business? I say, business. What do you think?

The Full Shark Tank Episode

Priority 1 Canine

Starting a Dog Training Business 

Angel Cohn is a freelance journalist who has written about entertainment and television for the last 15 years. She is currently an editor at NJFamily.com. Follow her on Twitter at @angelcohn.


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