这款产品于2004年发布，在前五年里，我们一直在稳步增长，但在2008年金融危机爆发后遭遇瓶颈。到了2014年，我已经在运营一家盈利的企业，雇佣了一批员工，并且拥有了一定的品牌知名度。但我也知道，Myself Belts可以走得更远，于是我决定报名参加《创智赢家》，试图通过这种方式增加Myself Belts的曝光度，也希望借此吸引战略伙伴，将品牌带到一个更高的水平。诚然，《创智赢家》是一个难度很高的栏目，但我希望这款创新产品和它的市场潜力，可以获得评委们的垂青。
This post is in partnership with Entrepreneur. The article below was originally published atEntrepreneur.com.
I recently had the privilege of appearing on, and winning, ABC’s “Shark Tank,” an honor that was a decade in the making and stemming from a common parenting challenge.
In 2002, I was potty training my son, then 2, and noticed that without the added bulk of a diaper, his pants were loose and required a belt. He wanted to be independent after mastering potty training, but belts with buckles just didn’t work with his small hands. I struggled to find a solution. He simply needed something that could be quickly undone at a moment’s notice as he raced to the bathroom and there really weren’t any belts on the market geared towards young children.
I mentioned my frustrations to my sister, Danielle, and she said, “We should do something about this!” Out of this frustration (and my living room), Myself Belts was born – an easy to use line of belts with a patented one-handed belt closure, designed for children (ages 2 – 12) who are potty training, in preschool, wear school uniforms, or just like a cute accessory. The belts also have use for teens and adults with hand-dexterity difficulties stemming from physical or cognitive challenges.
Launching in 2004, we grew steadily for the first five years but hit a plateau following the 2008 recession. Flash forward to 2014. I was running a profitable business, had employees and was growing brand awareness. But I also knew that Myself Belts could be more, and decided to apply for Shark Tank as a means to gain exposure for Myself Belts, and hopefully gain a strategic partner who could help take the brand to another level. Yes, the “Sharks” would be tough but I hoped that my innovative product and its potential in the marketplace would peak their interest.
In hindsight, more than anything, the experience onShark Tank was an amazing learning experience. Here are the six lessons I learned from the process and overall experience:
1. BHAG’s can happen.
At an Entrepreneurs’ Organization Accelerator Meeting last year, our assignment was to consider a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), an exercise aimed at helping you to “think bigger” about your business, although it never seemed practical to me. My BHAG was Shark Tank. I never thought that a seemingly lighthearted pipe dream would lead to something real. I now know that dreaming big can be purposeful, but you won’t know the outcome unless you throw your hat in the ring.
2. Asking for help is a sign of strength.
I am not shy in asking for help. I know what I don’t know and don’t pretend otherwise. This has served me well both as a student when I was younger and as an adult in my professional life. I have always believed that asking questions from experts and seeking out help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It is how I learned about best practices when manufacturing overseas. It is how I formed productive relationships with other business owners. And it is what led me to realize that I needed a partner to help take Myself Belts to another level. I believe the Shark Tank producers could understand my business goal and openness in my pitch video. That is what propelled me through the audition process.