[Episode 15] How to build a business that lands $725,000 on Shark Tank

Episode 15 Brittany Hodak ZinePak

Brittany Hodak is co-founder of ZinePak, a company that creates custom, interactive publications for super-fans.  They partner with top brands and entertainers (e.g., Taylor Swift) to elevate regular consumer promotions (e.g., CD in a store) into an interesting and memorable experience.

Several months ago, they were invited by Shark Tank Producers to pitch their company, and walked away with an offer of $725,000 from Robert and Lori.

This week’s question:

What has been key to the growth of ZinePak over the past 4+ years?

“We took about 2 months where we said we’re not going to say Yes to any new business.  We’re going to turn away anything that comes in… we took the time to create a plan and figure out who to hire and started hiring a team.”

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Questions:

  1. How’d you get the company off the ground?

  2. Tell us all about your Shark Tank Experience

  3. You’ve had fantastic growth – what’s been key to your customer acquisition strategy?

  4. What has been critical to growing the business well?

  5. Tell us about how your Shark Tank experience inspired you to start a charity?

Key Takeaways:

  • Get the Referral while strengthening the relationship: Brittany provides an excellent script for both asking for the referral while complimenting your current customer – frame it in a way that says “I enjoy working with you so much, you’re one of my favorite clients – I’d love to work with others like you.  Do you know anyone in a non-competitive space that would value our services”
  • Take the time to create leverage:  As demonstrated by the opening quote, even if you’re late to the game with your hiring, make sure you take the time to pause, reflect, and build a team out before getting in over your head.  This is a lesson I personally had to learn the hard way with my business.
  • Do your research:  There’s a great story in the episode about how Brittany and Kim watched a bunch of Shark Tank footage to prepare for their time on the show.

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