HOW to get your company on Shark Tank!

In our new book we share with you the specific strategy we employed to get Balloon Distractions on the ABC hit show Shark Tank!

From our initial online application, to our insane audition video, to actually filming the show in Hollywood!

Learn why NOT getting a deal actually INCREASES your shot at getting air time!  

You can download our book, We Twist for Tips, from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1502546671/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me

This book is a fun read for anyone who has ever wanted to start their own business, and especially for any of the ambitious entrepreneurs who want to appear on Shark Tank.

Happy Reading!

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The 4 levels of #Leadership.

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These 4 levels of Leadership can be applied to any organization, whether its a church, a business or a local civic organization.

Level 1: Self-Mastery, becoming an Entertainer and a Performer.

The Entertainers on our team go through an extensive orientation process but ultimately they have to emerge as a self-starter, our people buy their own materials and log on each week to choose their own work. This requires a higher level of independence and discipline than most traditional employees in a traditional job. As an Entertainer on our team you do not need to ever talk to a supervisor unless you make a mistake or need to change your schedule.

In many ways self-mastery is the hardest skill to achieve for most people, it is the ultimate expression of self reliance. Once you have mastered yourself you KNOW what you need to do and you take action, no one needs to look over your shoulder or give you direction on a daily basis.

A child needs to be told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. A child must be constantly watched. To reach self-mastery is to become an true adult, one who is comfortable with responsibility and ready to grow as a leader.

Level 2: Building a Crew.   

Once you develop enough self discipline to order your own materials and show up for your bookings you must perform on a consistent basis over the course of a few months to prove that you can be reliable over the long term. Self-mastery is not something you do for a day or a week, it is a positive habit that you develop as a tool for the rest of your life.  

In our company you have to prove that you are consistent and reliable over 30 or 40 bookings before you become a Crew Leader. The reward in holding this position is that you can earn a commission each time your crew fills a gig.

Crew Leaders earn income from the wider organization, not just their own limited efforts. There are only 24 hours in a day, but when you have a crew out there working you are creating income for yourself, even if you are not personally working that day.    

A Crew Leader must learn several new skills: posting want ads, holding a professional interview, onboarding new Entertainers and making sure each new person goes through our online as well as in person orientation.  

Once you have gotten your new Entertainers started you must follow up and encourage them, our best Crew Leaders will ask their team to text them how much they earned at the end of each shift. If an Entertainer is averaging less that $25 per hour this is a clear indicator that they need further training and counsel.    

Level 3: Developing a Region.

Balloon Distractions never could have “gone national” without a team of Regional Leaders in place. This role requires you to not only become adept at developing Entertainers, but now you have to expand that out to developing Crew Leaders.

This role also requires mastery of a several new skill sets: making sure you have balanced growth in your area by selling this concept to the general managers of local restaurants and bowling centers. As the founder of Balloon Distractions I ran the Tampa Bay region as a Regional Leader from 2003 until 2009, during that time I filled gigs, developed Crew Leaders and sold enough clients to get the region up to 45 bookings per week.

As the Tampa Bay RL I was hands-on with my team, helping my Crew Leaders train new people and also showing them how to sell new clients.

Level 4: Developing other Leaders.

As the company grew I realized that I needed to take the Tampa management role off my desk and delegate that position out to my best Crew Leader. This was hard to do, I had gotten used to running Tampa Bay for 6 years!

With 20 Regional Leaders in the company back in 2009 it was time to focus on our leadership team, not just one region that represented a single digit percentage of our overall business.

I had to become a Level 4 leader myself by looking at the wider picture, how do we put this concept in every city in North America?

My role now is to make sure our operations can support that growth and that we are continuing to develop our own internal Entertainers into Crew Leaders, and helping the Crew Leaders step up into a Regional Leader role. Making it onto season 5 of Shark Tank gave us a huge dose of national media exposure and we are leveraging that into finding and recruiting as many Regional Leaders as possible.

Ben Alexander May 26th, 2014.  

From #Idea to #SharkTank, and the obstacles in between…….

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I’ve always kept a journal, writing in it occasionally when I found a free moment, normally when on the road while building my company.

Back in 2003, about a month after I started Balloon Distractions I wrote:

“Someday we will have this idea in 1,000 bookings per week!”

We’re not at 1,000 weekly bookings YET, but we are well on our way.  

The challenge in my business has been finding Regional Leaders, people who have an entrepreneurial mindset who could sell restaurants on the concept and train enough entertainers to fill the weekly bookings. By necessity the RL position has to be held by someone local, and finding the “right someone” has been our greatest challenge.  

Going on Shark Tank last January helped, we have 32 new Regional Leaders in development since the beginning of this year.

Running a region is not for everyone, you have to be friendly enough to go out and fill bookings yourself, but also feel comfortable interviewing potential new staff and pitching this concept to restaurant managers.

We’ve also reached out to the Entertainers who were on our team as college students many years ago, they are now in a different season of their life, with more bills to pay, many of these past Entertainers have joined us again to help us build new regions. 

When you have an embryonic idea it is impossible to predict what it will take to effectively implement it, there is a huge amount of trial and error that you will have to endure before you find the best way to create growth, revenue and profits from your idea.

Going on Shark Tank is neither the end nor the beginning of any business, just one more milestone along the continuum from start up to that billion $$ buyout from Google.  

-Ben Alexander

May 1rst, 2014

 

Living YOUR life as an expression of love.

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If I had not met Rachel in Taiwan on June 25th, 1995 there is a good chance that my two daughters would never have existed. My wife and my daughters have become the cornerstone of my heart and the greatest blessing in my life. For this alone I am thankful.

I cross the doorway of 40 next week, quite possibly the midpoint in my life.. and during this time I’ve been reading many books on leadership, faith and our destiny and purpose here on this planet. I am seeking learning and understanding, the illumination of the heart as well as the mind.

In this fashion I have reached a very simple yet profound conclusion about the path I’m about to set upon for the rest of my mortal existence.

I want to live my life as an expression of love.

I want to channel love, kindness, patience, light and beauty, in EVERYTHING I do…. and everyone I come into contact with. In my small way I want to create more laughter and kindness in the universe.

For too long I neglected to do this, and my potential as a human being was limited. I made all the mistakes that sprout from the gnarly roots of ego and impatience. I loved some people around me, but not at the level they deserved, probably because I was incapable of fully loving myself in those moments.

The writer Dr. Wayne Dyer says that EGO is “Edging God Out”. I love that.

If you truly allow God to come into your heart there is no further room for ego, anger, frustration or resentment. In discovering my own Faith in 2012 I cried many times as I asked God to come into my heart and wash out the mud and the muck, rinse out all the accumulated debris of a life that was NOT lived in Faith, a life that was lived far below the potential that He has ALWAYS had in store for me.

Everything in your life stems from the intentions in your heart, from being a parent, to running a business, to the marriage that you choose to have.

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As I wrote this I was listening to this music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7ch7uottHU&list=RD5dn7HgiT2QY

Enjoy!

Benjamin T. Alexander

March 1rst, 2014

A Gift, really.

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To whom much is given, much is expected…..

When I was a 22 year old kid finishing up the last 50 credits of my Economics degree I did what most busy (and broke) college students do; went to a local restaurant and got hired as a waiter.

A balloon artist named Ray started coming into the restaurant on a regular basis, he would make amazing shapes and people would tip him really well. Ray was a law student at the Rutgers Camden campus. Balloon Twisting in restaurants was a lucrative side business for him.

As a waiter with 5 tables in my section I was limited to THOSE 5 tables, but Ray the Balloon Guy had the ability to work all 120 tables throughout the restaurant, so if one table stiffed him he could go on to the other 119 that would hand him a $1, a $5 and in some cases a $10 bill!

A week later I was at the Ray’s house in Blackwood, I paid him $100 to teach me 15 shapes, the following week I made $800 in tips by working 6 nights in a row at the TGIF in Marlton, NJ.

In the year following that I finished my degree, got married and became a father. Since my wife had just emigrated from Taiwan she did not have a driver’s license or the easy ability to get a job, so the financial responsibility of my little family rested squarely on my young shoulders.

I sold insurance 40 hours a week, and twisted balloons in restaurants another 25.

Because of the SKILL that Ray taught me I had enough cash for food on the table, rent on our apartment and gas in my car. When I had a dry month in insurance sales balloon twisting saved my bacon.

Ray probably does not know that a few years later I started Balloon Distractions in Tampa. If it weren’t for Ray and his creative idea I never would have appeared on Shark Tank!

Over 2,300 Independent Contractors have come through our system in the past decade.

2,300 people who have used BALLOON TWISTING to pay for college tuition, car notes and mortgage payments.

Ray has indirectly passed his skill onto an entire Army of balloon twisting Entertainers!

If you are on our team please consider becoming a Crew Leader / Trainer.

You can pass this skill onto other people and change their lives in a very positive way.

If you are a person of Faith consider the repercussions of teaching other people how to give JOY to children.

This is a GIFT, and if you are on our team you get to bestow that gift to many people.

Thank you for reading our blog,

Ben Alexander

February 20th, 2014

SHARKS! …. in balloon hats.

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Shark Tank posted this pic on their Facebook wall today, and various bloggers have written about us ALREADY so there is no secret that our episode airing THIS Friday will be a BIG moment in latex history.

HUGE THANKS to all the members of the Los Angeles team who came out the day before and made these amazing shapes; the motorcycle for Robert Herjavek, Shark Hat for Lori Greiner, Fruit hat for Mr. Wonderful, Crown for Barbara Corcoran and Dallas Mavs player for Mark Cuban.

Most people have seen an artist twisting in a restaurant and never realized that you could build a fun and profitable business around that concept. We are the first company to establish a decade-long reputation with NATIONAL brands like Chili’s, IHOP, Applebees, Texas Roadhouse, etc.

Our online Orientation makes sure that 100% of our artists are trained to a very high standard, and 100% of our bookings are CALL CHECKED across 4 time zones.

We know that there are people out there who are looking for a fun business built on family values with a corporate culture of creativity and compassion towards children.

If you would like to work with us to build a region in YOUR area please go to:

http://balloondistractions.com/build-a-region.html

Feel free to hit the SHARE button below and work with us to bring more people into our fun and creative enterprise!

Pay for COLLEGE with Balloons!

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Balloon Distractions PAID Internship Program

Balloon Distractions currently operates in 30 markets across the United States, from Seattle to Miami to Minneapolis. Each region is managed by a Regional Partner, many of whom started on the team as entry level entertainers, working their way through college.

Our company holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and is being featured on Season 5 of the top rated ABC show “Shark Tank” on January 17th, 2014.

This program seeks to partner with local colleges and universities to develop new Regional Partners in all 200 demographic market areas across the United States.

How it works:

Interns will learn how to entertain in restaurants, hire and train new staff and seek out and land new restaurant clients.  They will work closely with the local Regional Partner in a mentor / mentee relationship.

Interns will earn $12 to $25 per HOUR working in restaurants.

By working in a “real world” environment our interns will gain valuable experience inside a national company that will complement their academic work in the classroom.

Ideal candidate:

Any ambitious student with an expressive personality and a strong work ethic who is great at thinking “on their feet”.

An ideal candidate will be non-conventional, creative and personally dynamic.

Internship Program Goals:

This internship will teach a mix of pragmatic business skills; public speaking, customer service, hiring and managing staff and how to prospect and close new clients. Interns will work closely with Balloon Distractions staff as well as General Managers in national chains such as IHOP, Chili’s, Applebee’s, etc.

Within our pool of interns we want to identify and develop the future Regional Partners who will help us place a team in every metro area in the United States.

Specific timeline / schedule

The timeframe specified here is at the discretion of the intern and the Regional Partner who will be assigned to mentor them (the RP mentor). This internship is flexible and should work around the schedules of both the intern and their RP mentor.

Week 1-3:  Intern will learn the basic entertainer role and go to restaurants to fill bookings, while doing so the intern is guaranteed to earn a minimum of $12 per hour. Intern will also be taught our online scheduling system and navigate our Online Training Interface.

Week 4-7:  Intern will assist their RP mentor as they recruit and interview new entertainers.

Week 8-10:  Intern will assist RP mentor in prospecting and landing new clients.

During the entire internship (and after) the intern is encouraged to fill bookings in the local area. Intern has the freedom to log onto our scheduling system and choose bookings at will, so there is flexibility based on the intern’s college schedule.

Completion Requirements

#1. The intern is required to successfully fill 20 bookings in the course of the 10 week program, each booking is from 3-4 hours in length and are normally in the evenings from 5PM on.

There are also Saturday and Sunday breakfast bookings that run from 9AM to 1PM.

#2. Intern must hire and train 2 crew members alongside the RP mentor.

#3. Intern must sell 2 new clients alongside the RP mentor

Interns are expected to sign an intern contract which includes a non-disclosure and non-compete clause.

This program can be custom designed based upon the specific credit hour requirements of your university and / or major.

Regional Partners earn $40,000 to $55,000 in their first year, so this is a viable post graduation track for any 4rth year college student.  

Contact:

BenAlexander@BalloonDistractions.com