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一位《创智赢家》获胜者出总结的6条经验

要想在ABC电视台的《创智赢家》节目中露脸,似乎比登天还难。本文作者凭借一款基于育儿经历,专为儿童设计的创新腰带,成为这场真人秀节目的获胜者。她认为,再宏伟的目标也是可以实现的,只要你付出努力;请求别人帮助是拥有实力的象征;作为企业家的成长经历会让你受益终生。耐心是一种美德。

    在《创智赢家》节目里,来自密苏里州圣路易斯市的一位女士展示了一款便于儿童使用的腰带。

    本文为与《创业者》杂志的合作内容,原载于Entrepreneur.com网站。

    我最近有幸参加ABC电视台的《创智赢家》栏目,并赢得了冠军,这项荣誉来自我十年来的育儿经验。

    2002年,我开始教两岁的儿子怎样自己去上厕所。我发现摘掉了尿布后,他的裤子变松了,需要一根腰带。学完如厕课程后,他想独立完成这项艰巨的任务,但是那种有卡扣的皮带并不适合他的小手。我很难找到一个解决方案。像他这么大的孩子,需要一种奔向洗手间时能够瞬间解开的腰带。但市面上还真没有这种专门针对幼儿的产品。

    我向丹妮尔提起了这件事,她说:“我们应该做点什么!”正是因为找不到合适腰带而感到沮丧,才催生了Myself Belts腰带。这种专门针对2到12岁儿童设计的腰带非常好用,其单手开闭功能已经申请了专利。它适合那些正在学习怎样上厕所的孩子,也适合幼儿园和需要穿校服的孩子,而且仅仅从配饰的角度来说,它也很可爱。另外,它也适用于那些因生理或认知问题而存在手部活动障碍的青少年和成人。

    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。

    事后看来,参加《创智赢家》是一次非常好的学习机会。以下是我在这个过程中学到的六个经验。

    1. 宏伟目标是可以实现的

    在去年一次创业者组织加速器会议上,我们被要求提出一个有点好高骛远的“宏伟目标”,此举是为了帮助你给公司树立远大志向,不过在我看来,这个目标似乎并不实际。我从来没想过把白日梦变成现实。现在我知道,梦想也是有意义的,但除非你亲自上阵奋力一搏,你不可能知道结果如何。

    2. 请求别人帮助是拥有实力的表现

    我并不羞于请求别人帮助。我知道“知之为知之,不知为不知,是知也”的道理,不论是求学还是开创事业,这个古训都对我产生了积极影响。我一直相信,向专家提问和向别人寻求帮助,是实力的象征,而不是软弱的表现。正是把制造环节放到海外的经历,让我学到了这方面的最佳操作方法。另外它也让我意识到,我需要一个合作伙伴来帮我把Myself Belts带到更高的层次。我相信,通过我的视频介绍,《创智赢家》的制片方可以理解我的业务目标和开放心态。这种理念也帮助我成功通过海选流程。

    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.

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