More than 150,000 businesses have leaped into the “Shark Tank,” hoping to find the holy grail of capital funding to make them a huge success. According to ABC, in over five seasons, 374 contestants have appeared on the show and investors have made 190 offers. —
A select few, however, have not only run the gamut and received a funding offer, but have on reflection rejected the deal offered them.
Daniel and Stephanie Rensing have become the poster children for life after rejecting “Shark Tank.” Their company, The Smart Baker, sells baking-related merchandise. After accepting their “Shark Tank” deal with millions of Americans watching, they gave it some thought, reversed course and said “no thanks.”
Today, The Smart Baker reports annual revenues approaching $1 million, which is more than seven times the $130,000 it earned prior to receiving the March 2012 offer on the TV show. "Not doing the deal and having that exposure was probably the best scenario for us," says Daniel, who is CEO of the Rockledge, Florida-based company. "We were sticking to our guns on the market we served," he says, disagreeing sharply with the view of the interested funder.
In Tony Robbin’s new book, “Money Master the Game,” he offers a host of great ideas on how to succeed financially in the topsy turvey economic world in which we live today. But he boils it down to this: “In the end, money isn’t what we’re after . . . What we’re really after are the feelings, the emotions, we think money can create: that feeling of empowerment, of freedom, of security, of helping those we love and those in need, of having a choice, and of feeling alive.”
These decisions and views are part of a larger concept of balancing work with having a fulfilling personal life. In Shelly Dutton’s article in Forbes, she turns the concept around, taking the view of employees: “Employees are tired of sacrificing so much of their lives for their employers. They want a better way to balance work, family, and a sense of personal purpose. In fact, 70% of workers in the U.S. – and 87% of workers worldwide – are not fully engaged and personally invested in their work.”
According to Ana Hawk, founder and CEO of Instant Barter, LLC, the world’s fastest growing barter company, “Making the right choices in business, and balancing work with personal goals, is a challenge that faces all of us. Instant Barter started four years ago from an idea and passion, and this week we enjoy our fourth year anniversary. We’re in 15 countries and offer $600 million in products and services. That took a ton of work. But along the way, we did not forgot the importance of balancing work with pleasure, of keeping rounded and taking time off to do the things we love.”
Despite being on “Shark Tank” for the purpose of getting an investor, certain individuals obviously on further reflection realize there are more important things than getting investor money, suggests Matthew Rutherford, a professor in entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University, where he has carefully analyzed “Shark Tank” pitches. "What they crave over everything including money and wealth is autonomy," he says.
“Employees often give up the ability to enrich their personal lives due to work,” said Tim Hawkins, founder of LT Business Dynamics. “We setup our sabbatical program to engage their minds. Traveling is an important part of that. We give them the time and money to make a difference in the world and their lives. They become better people. You hire great people, it makes sense to invest in them to retain them.”
“Both our employees and our clients can use barter credits to pamper themselves – to go to a retreat, get a massage, have a facial, you name it, says Ana. “All said, it’s a rough and tumble world out there. That’s why staying true to oneself goes hand in hand with investing in business.”
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