“You’re never going to create anything new — ever.”
Daymond John, perhaps best known as CEO of FUBU (though also known from his role on the ABC reality series Shark Tank), said this to members of the Ivy Media Club earlier this month… not to discourage their entrepreneurship, but to keep their schemes in perspective.
“Airbnb is still a timeshare. Facebook is a chain letter,” he said. ” And a Snuggie is a blanket with a hole in it. The difference is the promise you sell.”
The businessman, investor, TV personality, author and sometimes motivational speaker was on hand to discuss “How to Create a Global Brand” with a select group of rising leaders in the media industry. Admittedly, some of his harsher advice was more palatable after a private tasting of wines from Josh Cellars, including their newest rosé offering.
According to John, entrepreneurs need to prepare themselves to founder… and not just be a Founder. He defines the term as “one who fails fast and fails often.”
“People want to win too fast, and it’s just not like that,” John shared. “There’s nothing you can do immediately [to succeed]. People are afraid of the process.”
John himself credits his start with a tenacious idea that started to come to fruition on Good Friday 1989, when he and friends sold a popular style of homemade hat for $10 each in front of the New York Coliseum… and made $800 in a single day. The company later came to be FUBU, and through years of ups and downs is now worth a reported $6 billion.
It can be a little more complicated to get a start up off the ground these days, he admits. Though he insists that it’s all in the entrepreneur’s mentality, which he expounds on his latest book, ‘The Power of Broke,’ a business motivation volume that features advice from 15 entrepreneurs including Steve Aoki, Kevin Plank, and Loren Ridinger.
“First, you need to prove that your concept is necessary and wanted. Then surround yourself with like-minded people… You need apostles that spread the word,” he asserts. John doesn’t believe in paying for influencers — and certainly isn’t complimentary of today’s “Instagram stars.”
And if you need money to put your plan in action, the investor has some tips there, too. First: “Never take money unless you desperately need it.” But should you get desperate, his three step approach to capital funding is to first “Find out who you are pitching;” then “Be infectious;” and finally, “Show them exactly how they are going to make money.”
With an eye toward the future, John encouraged those in the audience to “Ask why… Never put your fate in anyone’s hands but your own… and [again], Be prepared to fail.” But failing isn’t defeat, it’s just the first step toward new development.
“The things I thought were failing 15 years ago… now I know they are just normal days of business.”