Business Advice from Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec
Get-It-Done Guy: Where is the balance between simply trying to maximize business success and do good for the world overall? (After all, in some sense, we collectively agree to the rules of business as a society only because we believe it will produce a better life for everyone over time.)
Robert Herjavec: I firmly believe you have to be striving for something greater than yourself. A business that’s solely driven by an entrepreneur wanting to make a buck will not thrive in the same way that a business will if there is a greater purpose or motivation pushing the entrepreneur forward. People start businesses for all kinds of different reasons but those that strive to do good by their families, in their communities, and in the world at large, are those that truly make an impact in my experience.
GIDG: You say that being strategically ruthless is OK, but not with "behaving brutally on a personal level." Can you explain how you're able to "swim with the sharks without being one"? What suggestions do you have for those who feel pressured to perhaps "behave brutally" in order to succeed?
RH: It's funny because my new book is called You Don’t Have To Be A Shark. I’m a bit old school in my belief that you treat others how you would like to be treated. I’m always watching those around me: Are they holding the door for the person behind them? Are they polite on the phone? Do they say thank you to the waiter or waitress at the restaurant? When you treat others how you would like to be treated, you demonstrate the ability to work as a team. You never have to behave brutally or badly to succeed. In fact I think it’s the opposite. I’d rather kill someone with kindness and enjoy the experience of working together than behave poorly and not see mutual benefit.
GIDG: What are the essential sales skills that everyone needs to learn? What should they do to learn and practice them? Not necessarily to be an entrepreneur, but for success in any job?
RH: You’ve got to be able to showcase yourself first and foremost. Know what you want to get across, speak confidently, and engage your audience. It’s not my responsibility to listen to you; it’s your responsibility to GET ME to listen. You should also do your research. If you’re going for a job interview, know something about the company!! I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve sat across from someone who just didn’t know what my company did. Research, tailor your resume (or pitch) and focus on what’s going to set you apart from all the others (your unique selling proposition).