If you’ve seen the TV show Shark Tank, you’ll have some idea of what an entrepreneur could look like. Successful entrepreneurs are like “swimming with sharks.” There’s something to be learned from this idea of sharks – the investing entrepreneurs are thought of as predatory, conquering, and huge in their target markets and business practices. Successful. Is the real world like what we see on TV? What makes the shark analogy so applicable?
Sharks are Adaptable
Sharks, through their many species and kinds, have grown to adapt and evolve to thrive in many varieties of oceans and temperatures. Some flourish in deep ocean waters, and others flourish in shallow waters. Sharks can adapt, acclimate, and own the changes that occur in nature and their environment. In business, entrepreneurs must be capable of doing the same — entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. The environment, market, customer, product, and the entrepreneur himself are always changing — and will be. If you can’t adapt, you’re simply not going to make it.
Sharks Do What It Takes and Aren’t Terrified of the Space
“Most sharks are most active in the evening and night when they hunt. This will take them over entire ocean basins.” Are you working long hours? Are you in it for the end of the day, and are you willing to go the distance required by your company or your idea? Your company or your idea won’t wait for you. You have to make it happen.
Sharks Learn What They Need to and Reason for Themselves
When shark pups are born, they hang around for only a short period of time and come prepped with what they need to take care of themselves. Mouths filled with teeth and an intimidating demeanor, sharks can take what they need from their environment very quickly and then apply it to their own lives and seek their own meals. Nobody else is going to be able to tell us the right choice every time or how to manage our ideas. Advisors, friends, family, and people will come out of the woodwork with their opinions, thoughts, and sometimes great advice. Entrepreneurs must filter through the nonsense and learn what they need from the environment, and at the end of the day, nothing trumps experience and the act of doing. We’re accountable for our business decisions.
Sharks Aren’t Normally Harmful (You Can Even Swim with Them!)
When people think of sharks, they often think of cold-blooded killers like Jaws. Shark attacks. Monsters who can smell blood from miles away in the ocean and are ready to pounce on their kill. Truth is that out of 470 species of shark, only four of these are identified in attacks on humans. If you’re one of the four more aggressive types, you may be driving out your employees, your team, and your customer, or even ruining your product/idea.
We could keep the analogies going throughout the entire article; the point is that the analogy is there for a reason. An entrepreneur must be an entrepreneur to their core, in the same way, that a shark is a shark. To be a successful entrepreneur, though, you need to balance these traits and utilize them to maintain and run your business. Just keep swimming.