Too Early for Shark Tank

Jumped on Twitter after doing a small load of laundry and having a great breakfast of Bisquick’s Gluten Free pancakes with sweet apple sausage.  I am attempting to interact every day even if it’s only for 15 – 20 minutes at a time.  We’re all busy and I know that you know that.

While reviewing my notifications I noticed a tweet from @jamesoliverjr and long story short we had a few things in common.

1) Shark Tank

2) Both of us lived in Brooklyn

3) Both of us went to the same HS

This is why I love Twitter!  It makes our great big world so small.  But the real reason I’m writing this post is because of his post about how he did not get to pitch the Sharks for the final round to get on the show.  You can read his post here.  While you would expect a rant session in his post you won’t find one.  James has a balanced viewpoint and he is still very enthused and confident in the success of his company WeMontage.  His company creates montages out of your photos utilizing photo wall paper, stickers, decals, etc.  You can then transform any room, or space, with your own personalized photos.

I read his post with an understanding smile on my face.  In the days before Shark Tank, I had a business that was I so passionate about I did not sleep.  I worked several 24 hour days to fulfill orders.  I raised funds from friends, raided my 401k — I did the grind as well.  My business was a vegan bakery.  At the height of my business, I supplied 13 restaurants/diners with my baked products in the mecca of vegan eateries that was (and still is) New York’s City’s the Village.

Restauranteurs told me customers came from Connecticut to get my baked goods on a weekly basis.  But I was baking from my home.  I became partners with a couple and we went into a lease for a space in a location that could have been pretty good — by the entrance of the Long Island Railroad on a busy street in Brooklyn.

SharkTank Sharks

However, for reasons too numerous to recount here, the business did not fly.  I was able to release myself from the lease without penalty and walked away from my business and my customers.  So, I know a thing, or two, about disappointment.  While I highly doubt the Sharks would have been interested in my business due to the relatively low revenues generated.  I know Mr. Wonderful would have asked me if I would want a royalty deal.  Barbara may have asked me if I would be willing to license my recipes to a large manufacturer.  Mark would have been out along with the other Sharks who would have cited scalability issues.

But Barbara might have done the deal.  I grew something out of nothing in a niche market that was then just beginning.  I was at the forefront of the vegan baked goods upward trend (maybe a couple of years prior to the big hit).  This was in the late 90’s.

I’ve been an entrepreneur at heart for a long time.  I respect people like James Oliver, Jr. and his incessant grind towards making his business dream a reality.  To that end, please share your business’ website/links in the comments below to let us know what you’re grinding towards this year.

I wish James and all of the other Shark-preneurs out there a very profitable 2015.

Ta-ta for now,

NB