Every entrepreneur dreams of being on Shark Tank and pitching their business to the famous sharks. In today’s episode the founder & CEO of Chirp, Tate Stock, is sharing all of the inside details of what it’s really like to be on the show.
It all started when Tate was at his Aunt’s house and he saw an 80s yoga wheel. When he tried searching on Amazon for something similar, nothing came up and he knew he was on to something.
He went out and built a new type of yoga wheel, posted it on Amazon, and the rest is history.
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How Chirp went from $12k to $100k
When Tate created the first Chirp wheels he used a $400 sewer pipe and a $50 yoga mat. He posted them on Amazon without any branding or logos, and then he sat back and waited. In two weeks he had made $12k, but he was also kicked off of Amazon because he couldn’t ship the product fast enough.
It turns out, it was a good thing since it then forced Tate and his team to create a website of their own. And they hired influencers in the yoga space to promote the product for the first year and a half, which helped them get to $100k.
Some entrepreneurs try to have their products and ideas perfected before launching a business, but Tate says most of the time this is not the best way. There are some exceptions, but for the most part you need to just get started, and don’t sweat all of the details.
Tate says, “I think people get too caught up in perfecting all of the other little tasks in their life or with the product or the business before they're ready to prove it. And it just wastes a lot of time. Like we didn't we didn't need a shipping box. Because in two weeks, I wouldn't have needed a shipping box anyway, if it didn't sell. We didn't need a logo because in two weeks, if it didn't sell, I wouldn't even need a logo, right? I needed a product that could help someone stretch and yoga.”
What it’s really like to be on Shark Tank
For those of us who watch the show from our couch at home, it may seem like the entrepreneurs are only in front of the sharks for 10-15 minutes, but they are actually in the tank for a full hour. The experience also starts long before the taping even begins.
Tate shares that he actually spent 200-300 hours just applying to be on the show. Once he was selected for the show he flew out to Vegas and had to quarantine in a hotel for 2 weeks because of the pandemic. They had to stay in their room the whole time, they couldn’t even go down to the ice machine. But it gave him and one of his employees extra time to rehearse their opening, get to know the sharks, and prepare for their time in the tank.
They ended up getting a deal with Lori, but because of due diligence the deal is still not finalized. As Tate shares, only about 50% of the deals made on TV actually end up going through. But even though they are still waiting on the deal to be complete, Shark Tank had a big impact on their business. The night the show aired and the day after brought in tons of sales and it helped launch them into the holiday season at the end of 2020.
What entrepreneurs need to know about equity
A lot of entrepreneurs, when they first start out, wonder what they should do about equity. Is it worth it to keep total control of the company? Should you give away equity, and if so how much? Tate believes that every business owner should try to keep as much equity as they can. It is important to remember that once you bring a VC on, you now have someone to answer to and you give up a lot of the decision making.
Tate suggests that entrepreneurs know their strengths and weaknesses, and if you have a certain weakness that someone else is good at and they want to come along for the journey, then you can do that, but if you feel that you can do it alone, you should.
The bottom line is make sure you save your equity for people that really add value to the company and help you grow the business.
Advice Tate would give his younger self
If he had to start over, what advice would Tate give to his younger self? First of all, he says, “Be patient with yourself. Whether the business works out or not, be patient, keep working hard. But if you're doing the right things, then it's gonna happen at some time or another right, you're gonna see success.”
Tate also says it is important to find people with experience who you can learn from. In his journey he did it all on his own and he learned lessons along the way, but he believes he could have learned faster and easier if he had found someone that had been through it all before.