Lessons on entrepreneurship and management from Kevin O’Leary

Live from Retail (R)evolution, “Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary on the qualities that make for effective entrepreneurs and successful businesses.

Wed May 16 11:19:00 EDT 2018


Day 1 of Retail (R)Evolution 2018 wrapped up with a keynote from “Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” who shared lessons in entrepreneurship and management for aspiring and established global ecommerce businesses that want to grow.

Qualities of Successful Startups

As one of the judges/investors on “Shark Tank,” Kevin has reviewed hundreds of pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs. He said the most successful ones were able to answer a few questions:

· What is behind your brand? This is all about how you treat your customers and the type of experience you offer to them. Consumers will pay more for a product if they believe in the brand.

· What is your story? It is compelling or unique? Again, a good story goes a long way toward encouraging customers to buy from you instead of your competitors.

·What is your plan to scale if you strike gold? Do you have partners that can handle the impulsive forecast that may rapidly change now that a platform like “Shark Tank” has propelled your business overnight?

If you have these things and the plan to go along with it, Kevin believes that you have the keys to a successful business. At the same time, you have to watch out for obstacles. For example, eight out of every 10 startups fail because customer acquisition costs are too high.

He then shared what he believes what makes for an effective entrepreneur and what he looks for when a company pitches him on “Shark Tank” or elsewhere:

1. Entrepreneurs should be able to articulate opportunity in 90 seconds or less

2. They should be successful at convincing investors that they are the right team to execute the business plan

3. They should know their numbers and have a comprehensive understanding of their business model.

He emphasized the third point the most. The biggest killer for any entrepreneur is not knowing your numbers when you step up to pitch an investor. It’s hard to earn an investor’s trust if you can’t confidently articulate core details about your own company.

Effective Management Makes Successful Companies

Kevin then went on to discuss what makes the businesses he runs successful. His team dug into the data to discover the factors behind the portfolio companies that made him the most money.

Interestingly, the data showed that 100 percent of his returns came from companies that were run by women. Digging even deeper, Kevin found that the biggest factor driving his successful portfolio companies was effective management. Five qualities described the most effective managers:

1. Better time management skills

2. The ability to set achievable goals

3. The ability to maintain corporate cultures that led to less employee turnover

4. The ability to Successfully incorporate feedback to enhance customer service

5. Having a “brand is everything” mentality that positions the brand as a core principle to the businesses

By doing these things, you empower employees to focus on what they should be doing. You avoid wasting money, your company’s time and your employees’ time. Ultimately, that’s what leads to profitability and long-term success.

In the competitive world of global ecommerce, it’s important to know where the industry is heading and how others retailers are reacting. Take the Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Assessment to see how you stack up with your competitors – the survey offers a side-by-side comparison between your answers and those of your peers.

Then, dive into the results from one of the biggest global ecommerce research reports of its kind. The Pitney Bowes 2017 Global Ecommerce Report surveyed more than 1,200 retailers and 12,000 consumers around the world, outlining both retailer and consumer perspectives on the global ecommerce landscape. Download the report to learn how these trends provide key growth opportunities.