A simple marketing lesson from Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec

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“Money is easy to find. Leadership is not.”

When Robert Herjavec took the stage at O2E Brands’ annual conference, he also took some audience members by surprise. Is money actually “easy to find?”

At first earful, it may have seemed like the multi-millionaire entrepreneur had lost touch with reality–until he started talking about why some companies fail, and why other companies don’t.

“The world doesn’t go to the best,” Robert said, with a hint of caution. “The world goes to the best they know.”

When you think about it, it summarizes a basic principle of marketing: if no one knows about you, they aren’t going to do business with you. You could have the best damn waffle iron in the world, but if John Smith is willing to invest in marketing his mediocre waffle maker to all the housewives and stay-at-home dads in town, it won’t matter that yours is better. John’s going to have customers, and you’re going to have fantastic waffles that you’re eating at home alone.

Well, maybe it won’t be that bad. Maybe you’ll sell a few to friends and family. But will you be in debt from overstocking your waffle irons? Are you worried about paying your bills because you spent all your money creating a great product but didn’t want to invest just as much in marketing?

What are you going to do about it? Are you willing to go above and beyond mom-and-pop-level advertising and make a serious impact?

They say you need to spend money to make money. So when Robert Herjavec says “money is easy to find”, I think what he’s saying is this:

Money is easy to find, when:

  1. You have a great product or service,
  2. You’re willing and able to market it, and
  3. You’re willing and able to get investors intrigued (which is possible if you have 1 and 2).

Regroup for a second. I should mention that you don’t need to have a huge budget to become “the best they know.” Sure, it helps, but most small businesses start on a shoestring. Share your story with the media. Put together a content marketing strategy. Take advantage of social media channels. Work on an affiliate program, SEO, and write some guest blogs.

Whatever it takes to get your name and business out there–do it.