Well, That’s Different

LESSONS FROM THE TANK:

Well, That's Different

SHARK TANK - "1108" - A mother-daughter duo from Atlanta, Georgia, introduce the Sharks to their baby product that makes baby-travel less stressful by helping them sleep more restful. An entrepreneur from Mount Pleasant, Utah, introduces his cold-weather clothing line that keeps you warm, even when wet. While entrepreneurs from Happy Valley, Oregon, hope their portable transportation device will become the next multimillion-dollar hit. Finally, an entrepreneur from South Murrysville, Pennsylvania, pitches his genius innovation in window screens on "Shark Tank," SUNDAY, JAN. 5 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC/Eric McCandless)
JOE ALTIERI

I believe that differentiation is the future of my business, and yours. We describe companies that are not moving forward as stagnant, but I'm not so sure that's a thing. You're always moving toward something. Either you're hammering your way toward innovation, or you're pounding nails into the coffin of your business.

 

Everyone has a dish scrubber, but the inventor of the "Scrub Daddy" took that simple technology to new levels with unique and useful features that we had never seen before. He also somehow managed to make this mundane household item "cute" and almost magnetic to consumers. Scrub Daddy has since grown to include even more cute and innovative ways to clean dishes, creating astronomical profits and making them (currently) the second most lucrative Shark Tank investment of all time.

 

Don't let the fact that we are talking about A DISH SPONGE escape you here. Scrub Daddy has sold millions of units because they differentiated themselves in a very crowded space. They took a simple, humble, inexpensive, and unexciting household product, and found a way to make it stand out.

 

The only Shark Tank product to surpass Scrub Daddy in sales is Bomba's Socks. Again - think about it. We are talking about SOCKS now. Another standard, everyday item with pretty much zero sex appeal or flashy-ness. So how did Bomba's differentiate and become THE most lucrative Shark Tank deal of all time? Generosity.

 

The Bomba's business model is mission-oriented. Buy one pair of socks, and they give a free pair to help marginalized people in at-risk communities. To date, they've donated more than 10,000,000 pairs of socks, designed with specific features to meet the needs of homeless people, to shelters all across the country. Because people feel good about participating in programs that help, sales have skyrocketed, resulting in explosive profits and making Bomba's the #1 selling Shark Tank product of all time. They carved a different path in a flooded marketplace, and it led them to incredible success.

 

I recently appeared (and got a deal) on Shark Tank as well, with a product that I invented in my garage. What many people don't realize is that I did not reach out to the show. I have a team that promotes my business consistently through a variety of marketing strategies. As a result, my product got noticed by Shark Tank producers. They recognized how I had innovated and brought new ideas and refreshing solutions to a commonly frustrating household item, and they called me. This is an extremely rare occurrence that only happens with a tiny percentage of the entrepreneurs who appear on the show. But they called because I had something they had never seen before. They called because my product was different.

 

Ask yourself these critical questions: What are you doing to differentiate? What innovative and new ideas are you working on (and implementing) that will propel your product or service to the front of, in most cases, a very long line?

 

How you answer these questions may very well determine the future of your business.