Inside the Power of Shark Tank: How Entrepreneurs Still Find Huge Success Even Without a Deal

Several companies prove a famous partner isn’t the secret to big business

By Mike Vulpo Feb 24, 2017 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Sharks Weigh in on "Shark Tank's" Successful Losers

When stepping into Shark Tank, there's one phrase every entrepreneur hopes to hear: "I'd like to make you an offer."

Since 2009, many business owners have been able to receive those special words from Mark Cuban, Kevin O'LearyLori Greiner and other successful investors on ABC's popular reality show.

But as the series celebrates $100 million of deals on tonight's all-new episode, it's becoming clear than an investment from the sharks isn't the only way a business featured on Shark Tank can succeed.

While viewers have witnessed the growth of Scrub Daddy, Tipsy Elves, Wicked Good Cupcakes and other companies who partnered with a shark, other products have been quietly enjoying a huge boost in sales and success without a six-figure deal.

When Nicepipes apparel founder Lisa Binderow appeared on the show last month to showcase her line of leg and arm warmers, the businesswoman was hoping to secure a mentor with one of the sharks. At the same time, she didn't want to give up too much equity in her company.

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Todd Wawrychuk/ABC via Getty Images

"I had been working so hard for two years and while my growth was slow, it was growth," she explained to E! News. "If I were to accept this 40 percent [equity offer], my life would change overnight and it would create this life where I'd almost have a boss and my business would be catapulted into a level of success—that is wonderful—and a level of intensity I wasn't sure I wanted."

After stocking up on her inventory before the episode aired, Lisa is happy to report, "our traffic has increased an insane amount" even without a deal.

"I was only on the show less than a month ago so it's really hard for me to know…but it's pretty amazing to see how much our daily sales have grown," she continued. "I don't even know how to put a number on it because it's so drastic. A month out and I would say it has quadrupled our monthly run rate."

Shopping With the Stars

Ezpz founder Lindsey Laurain appeared on the show back in January of 2016 to showcase her all-in-one silicone plates and placements. At the time, she admitted to the sharks that she was talking to Buy Buy Baby about having her line placed in several stores.

While she didn't walk away with a deal, the entrepreneur has found long-term success and even expanded her business into the pet space.

"When I went on Shark Tank, we had done 85,000 units. To date, we have done 1.3 million units," Lindsey shared with E! News. "We had done a million dollars in sales and we're about to hit $10 million."

As for Buy Buy Baby, they love the product and have it featured in their stores. In fact, the line is now sold in 30 countries and 1,000 retailers including Nordstrom stores.


"Shark Tank is an incredible format but just because you get a no in the tank, doesn't mean you're not going to make it," Robert Herjavec shared with E! News. "It's just like in life. We're just another path to success."

Daymond John added, "Those companies who are going on to be successful know that the sharks are just a stepping stone on their path to success. They don't depend on us and they go out to prove us wrong and a lot of companies have done that and I love it."

When CEO Tanner Dame appeared on the show and asked for an investment in Proof Eyewear, two sharks made an offer.

While Tanner assures fans that he went on the show 100 percent behind the idea of getting another partner on board, he ultimately doesn't have regrets passing on the potential deals.

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"We didn't feel diminished by any means," he shared with E! News. "We stepped back and thought we had two sharks invested in our business, we presented ourselves really well and showcased our brand and what we created the past two years."

Since their episode aired in February 2013, Proof Eyewear has tripled their workforce, opened their first flagship store in Boise, Idaho, expanded their do-good missions and received celebrity support from Macklemore, Lil Wayne and more artists.

"The people that don't make a deal on the show with any of the sharks and go home empty handed go home with something that's a treasure and that's publicity watched by all those millions of people," Barbara Corcoran shared. "They go home and everybody recognizes them in their hometown and suddenly they have creativity. Whether they win or lose on the show, they go home a winner."

And while having your product featured on a major network in prime time is priceless, many entrepreneurs assure viewers that your life isn't magically complete once you appear on Shark Tank.

"At the end of the day, with or without a shark, you still have a s--t ton of work to do," Lindsey shared. "Everyone on Shark Tank, we grind and work our asses off every single day."

Daymond added, "I think no matter what, it's always going to speak to the power of the entrepreneur…it's always about the person."

Shark Tank airs Friday night at 9 p.m. followed by a special edition of 20/20 titled "Shark Tank: The Road to $100 Million" at 10 p.m. only on ABC.