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Small beginnings

I am a big fan of the Shark Tank TV series. I loved it from the first episode I could see through my TV local cable provider.

Of course, I started to watch Shark Tank probably 3 years after initiated in the USA. Living in Central America without good technology then, put me 3 years behind. But now with Youtube, I am up to speed with all the episodes I could not watch before.

By now I have seen several seasons and episodes. What keeps my attention to watching this TV Series, is the fact that real people like you and me started with small beginnings.

Each episode shows several entrepreneurs, people who share by storytelling all their business models, fundamentals, and results. I love to see entrepreneurs with whom you can relate. Usually, during the first thirty seconds, you can immediately know who makes an outstanding “click” to get attention from the sharks.

It is as if the heart of those entrepreneurs, pitching to five shark investors, starts to bump inside your heart. You can see the different minds, backgrounds, surroundings, trial-error histories, energy, and passion in each business entrepreneur. You can understand the difficulty of many of them by not having a resilient strategy. You can see the failures, the good luck, and the economic results of their products and services.

Shark Tank Australia’s recent episode is an example to show you what is the meaning of strategy. This episode about Ms. Jenny Holten, is a piece of excellent music to my ears.

Jenny Holten, a 69 years old coeliac started to bake bread in her home, Perth, Western Australian 10 years ago. She offered to the Shark Investors an opportunity to invest $350,000  for a 10% stake of her business.  She valued her company “Strange Grains” in $3.5 million. Sounds weird to you?

Making that dough: 69-year-old Jenny Holten (pictured)  left the Shark Tank entrepreneurs in shock on Tuesday's night when she offered them a chance to buy into her artisan bakery Strange Grains, which she said was worth $3.5million
Jenny Holten

As Daily Mail Australia wrote the article about her: Jenny Molten said “I barely know what a CEO is, but I think I need one”. She added: “I want a shark on board because they have the business acumen that I don’t have”.

Instead of a 10% stake, one Shark Investor proposed to give her the same amount of cash for a 25% slice of Jenny’s company, and Jenny Molten accepted the offer.
Read the full article here for more details:

From small beginnings: The coeliac started her bakery in her home kitchen in Perth, Western Australian 10 years ago, before outgrowing the set-up

Several reflections come into my mind when I read this article:

  1. Strategy for success has nothing to do with your age, or your color, or your allure or your level of education. I doubt Ms. Molten followed a formal strategy modelling, but she was able to sell around 1 million dollars in bread 10 years after she started baking at her home. I believe her bread is unique, is excellent and is worth every penny you pay for it. Quality and excellence of your products and services is fundamental for your success.
  2. Strategy has to be built over a value proposition.  Without a value proposition you can´t build a strategy. I will dedicate several posts in the future to go deeper into the topic of value propositions.  Ms. Molten has a clear value proposition. Your products or services could be infinite. From bread to technology devices, from flowers to airplaines, from knowledge to stones.
  3. Any corporate strategy needs a founder, someone who loves what he or she does. From small ideas, testing and building over and over again, until you reach your goals. The founder or the leader is the only one capable to inspire others in his/her organization.
  4. Investors know when they are in front of passionate founders who have achieved results. They can feel the energy, the good efforts behind the pitch and financial numbers. Economic resources come when you are on right track doing what you love to do.
  5. Companies must learn to feel inside when they are ready to grow. External Corporate Strategy Advisory for growth is requested when the time is right. This specific momentum must reach its moment, its  peak, its time. Ms Molten waited 10 years to knock the door to investors. She was 10 years building her business model. She was not in the concept idea stage. She was not in a prototype stage. She sold $1 Million per year!. She had 10 years to learn and re-learn by experience. Now is her time to grow and this is what Ms. Molten will get with the new shark on board. She thinks strategically. Naturally she knew by heart when it is the time to grow.
  6. Success has no age. Not even at 69 years old. So many people believe you have to be successful by the age of 40. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn´t happen. Ms. Molten is a perfect example of this. So many people lose hope when they are so young, because of failure. Do not give up. Never give up.

I will write a lot about what is strategy, what is the difference between corporate strategy and business strategy. I will show you simple examples of all that I have learned during the last 20 years. I do not aim to explain strategy as a teacher but from the point of view of a practitioner. From the point of view of an investor.  I will explain to you what a shark investor means when he or she speaks as you see them talking in the Shark Tank TV Series.  I will try to be as simple as I can. I promise.

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