What are some of the most important things to look for when deciding how to invest your own money? And what are some of the biggest red flags to watch for? In this Fool Live clip, recorded on April 14, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, asks Shark Tank stars Robert Herjavec and Daniel Lubetzky what they look for before committing their own cash to a deal.
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Matt Frankel: When you’re evaluating a pitch on the show, or obviously the pitch is longer than the little bit that we see on TV, but what are some of the things that stand out to you when people are making a pitch? What are some of the immediate turnoffs that you see when people are pitching you an investment?
Daniel Lubetzky: Matt, I think the most important thing to say before Robert addresses your question is people need to understand that this is a very real show. People don’t believe that it really is our money and that we don’t know anything before those entrepreneurs show up. Everybody believes that we actually get some brief. We really don’t. It’s very hard because you’re with opinionated sharks that are asking a thousand miles a minute. I tend to be a person with fore-answers, and I don’t get easily duped. You’re there in this big stage and Robert, and everybody is jumping with questions. You have to really be on your toes listening for all those patterns because you might miss a thing and it’s very exciting, it’s very stimulating. Because you need to understand. You need to get at the personality of the people and their values, and their integrity and the competitive landscape. You’re right. The ultimate edited thing is 11 minutes or 12. People are in the tank in real life maybe 30-45 minutes on average. But it’s not enough for making these things. That’s part of the excitement and the game and it’s hard. You really need to look for signals in between the lines of like, is this person a loyal person? Do they have a hard work ethic? Do they have the right brainpower, and determine their personalities and the competitive landscape. It’s not easy.
Robert Herjavec: If you can handle the pressure of Shark Tank, you can handle anything. As Daniel says, even my friends, I mean, I’ve been in the show for 12 years. Even my friends to this day, to Daniel’s point are like, “Come on, it’s not really your own money. You must get a whole dossier of information on people.” I’m like, “No, they just show up.” They’re like, “Come on, it’s just us, you can tell me the truth.” Then I’m like “No, that’s what it is.” But my general view, I used to sometimes feel bad for people. They come out, they get a little flustered. But at the end of the day, that’s life. I mean, you don’t always get to choose your timing and you don’t get to choose your cadence. You may have a pitch and you may want to go this way, and then Daniel is going to ask you a question completely unrelated to where your pitch is going. Then Kevin is going to cut off Daniel and you’ve got to respond. I think that is the beauty of it because that’s life. Life is unpredictable. Life is all over the map. Life is zigs and zags. For me, what I look for is I look for people that are highly resourceful and adaptable. Because anybody can work a plan. But plans can change every single day. I think that’s the beauty of Shark Tank. Then I think the other thing is, I tend to look for people that have a high level of integrity as to why they’re doing the business. I mean, yes, we all want to make money. I want to make money, Daniel wants to make money. But I want people who have a greater purpose than making money. Because I think if that’s your only goal in starting the business just to get a paycheck, what happens when you get there and what happens when something goes bad and somebody offers you a bigger paycheck? I try to look for people who have an integrity as to the purity of why they’re in that business.
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