I’m totally addicted to a new show called Shark Tank. Okay, maybe not so new but definitely new to me since I’m only 3 episodes in.
For those of you who may not be so familiar, entrepreneurs with small or “start up” companies pitch their businesses to millionaire moguls (aka, the Sharks). The hope is that a Shark will like the idea enough to invest their own money and expertise in exchange for a share of the company.
In the few episodes I’ve seen, I’ve witnessed dreams come true and reams get crushed. But one segment in particular stands out to me more than any other. Cut to Shane Pannell from Maricopa Arizona.
Shane is the stay at home day to his 9, 4 and 2 year old children. He says it’s a tough job and has no idea how women do it. Shane invented something called SweepEasy, a broom with a built in scraper to ease the task of getting dried on, stuck on stuff off the floor as you sweep.
Shane came to the Sharks asking for a $40, 000 investment, in exchange for a 25% stake in his company. But when Shane hit the lever on his broom and that scraper came flying out, so did the sharks teeth.
What I witnessed for the next few minutes was unbelievable. The offers were coming at Shane so fast, Barbara Corcoran cautioned Shane to, “Slow down and think. You’re a nice guy!” But at the end of the day when the dust settled and the feeding frenzy was over, Shane walked away with $80,000, twice the money he was originally seeking, and the expertise of two sharks instead of one.
Now ladies, I said all that to say this. We’ve been sweeping floors for thousands of years. Our kids have spilled gunk on the floor for as long as there has been a floor. And for centuries we have dutifully, and painstakingly, interrupted our sweeping to bend, stoop or squat to scrape the gunk up. All of a sudden a guy comes along; sweeps the floor for what – a week, a month, a year maybe? And after a brief time realizes there has got to be a better way to get the job done.
Witty inventions and ideas come to us all day long. In fact, I guarantee one of you got the idea about this broom. Don’t beat yourself up about it. But I do want to challenge you to begin to take those ideas seriously. If it solves a problem for you, chances are, it could solve a problem for millions. If you have an idea that seems like an amazing opportunity, don’t dismiss it. Start to keep an idea journal. Truthfully, so many thoughts come to us all day, everyday, we couldn’t possibly act on all of them. Some of my most creative moments happen when I’m doing something ironing, vacuuming or even taking a shower. Be prepared to capture those moments ladies. You never know when what may seem to be a fleeting thought, is really the Universe gifting you with a million dollar, problem solving idea.