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!

#Success advice for any #startup interested in #Sharktank!

1. Make sure you know who your competitors are, if any. Tons of great product ideas pitch on Shark Tank and then Lori says “Yeah, I’ve seen this before, we just sold 10,000 of these last week on QVC.” This same idea goes for smartphone apps, you have to create something really unique in the app space and make sure no one else has already thought of it and did it better.

2. Make sure it has a WIDE application. The Scrub Daddy did $14 million in sales right after Shark Tank because it was a product that anyone on the planet (with a kitchen sink) could easily buy and use.

3. Don’t make your pricing insane. Who remembers the marital confrontation Stuffed Elephant in a Box that was a plush toy in a plastic box for $60? It might make for a fun gag gift, but not for $60.

4. Don’t ever mention “I’m going on the show for national exposure” anywhere in your application,  phone interview and certainly not during your actual televised pitch. With 7 million viewers per show that is one of those blatantly obvious things that the producers hate to hear. It seems that there is a culture within Shark Tank in which the entire “free exposure” concept is taboo to talk about.  

5. Be entertaining. Shark Tank is about 90% viewer share and only 10% real business. The brilliant producers who handled my segment rigged a balloon drop to coincide with the moment when I said “Balloon Distractions”. This would never happen in a dry business meeting with venture capitalists. I feel that some entrepreneurs get on simply because they are entertaining, not because they have a decent business idea. We are both; Balloon Distractions has done $5 million in sales and booked entertainers into restaurants 100,000 times, but I feel that we got on the show because I own a BALLOON business and the producers felt it would make for a fun segment.

6. If you have fun / attractive personalities in your business use them on the audition video. There are plenty of Shark Tank segments that have included good looking / sexy / pretty folks. This is TV after all, if you have a “looker” in your business include them in your pitch. In talking to the Nardo brothers at Nardo’s Naturals I’m convinced that Barbara invested in them because she thought the boys were sexy! I’ve watched every episode going back to Season 1, there has been no shortage of cleavage on the show….. case in point:

http://sharktankclips.com/season-3-episode-3-you-smell/

7. Before you pitch on the show go out and sell your product to PROVE there is some type of demand, even if your business is less than a year old. The sharks are impressed by hustle and moxie, if you go and work trade shows and state fairs for a few months and sell 50K in product you have proof that regular folks out there in the market can be converted to customers.

8. There is nothing wrong with taking something obvious and putting a new twist on it, grilled cheese sandwiches have been around for a thousand years, but Tom and Chee turned it into a successful restaurant franchise with proven sales and strong business systems.

9. Build your business big enough to support you full time. The Sharks hate part-time business owners. Your loyalties are divided if you make 70K as a pharmacist and 10K from your business. The Sharks know this, none of them became wealthy by building their companies 10 hours a week.

10. Last but not least, keep it very simple. Tom and Chee, Scrub Daddy, Chord Buddy, Wicked Good Cupcakes, etc. all of the successful pitches can be summed up in a short sentence. Our company sends balloon artists into restaurants to entertain the kids while they wait for the food to arrive at the table, that’s why we’re called Balloon Distractions!

Hope that helps, and Happy Twisting!

-Ben Alexander

Founder / CEO

http://www.BalloonDistractions.com

The secret to our success!

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Today my daughter Claire filled her first official gig as a Balloon Distractions Entertainer at a local restaurant. At the end of the booking I drove over to take her home. Claire is 16, she’s working with Balloon Distractions in order to save up enough income to buy a used car. I’m not buying her a car, I want her to EARN it.

In this pic she’s making a flower for one of the restaurant workers at the PDQ in Wesley Chapel, I took the picture at the end of the shift.

Claire made some neat shapes and did a great job engaging with the customers at each table. I got to watch her at 3 tables and she was doing what comes naturally to any talkative extrovert; smiling at the guests, having a conversation and just being friendly in general. I was very proud of my little girl!

We can teach anyone how to twist balloons, but you CAN’T teach personality. I’ve known that Claire would be well suited for this since she was five years old, her success today confirmed that.

Over the last few years we’ve had over 5,000 outgoing folks join our team and benefit from our business model across the United States. We’ve focused on finding engaging and charming people and THEN teaching them how to twist 30 clever and original balloon shapes before we send them out to a restaurant.

Filling a gig with excellence is 25% about the balloons, and 75% about the conversation with the guest and the personality of the entertainer. When we interview applicants we look for that native charisma and charm that has to already be there before we add them to the team.

If you are talkative and extroverted you might be a great fit for our team!

If you would like to join us as an entertainer please go to this link and fill out this form:

http://www.bdonlineschedule.com/forms/balloonArtistForm.aspx

Happy Twisting!

Ben Alexander

September, 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

 

The Most Famous Twisters in the Ballooniverse!

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Here at BD we support all things CREATIVE  in the Ballooniverse. There is a new generation of Balloon Artists who have emerged in the last decade and we feel that these creative artists are the top contenders for Balloon Twisting World Dominance, check out these insane videos:

Mr. Mike Floyd teaches a cool airplane:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=mike+floyd+balloons&FORM=VIRE2#view=detail&mid=AD79C262068582AC168FAD79C262068582AC168F

Jeff Wright and his amazing Ninja Turtle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K9m_dodUkM

Balloon make kids happy, check out Cody William’s Minion tutorial!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NP5x6lexPM

The Simplest Business in the Ballooniverse.

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This is all the equipment you need to run a BD region with 10, 20, even 50 artists.

You can earn an excellent income with the simple objects in the photo.  

An apron, a hand pump and a few balloons to do tryouts and land new clients.

A phone to close deals and contact your team.

A laptop to access our online orientation and online X-scheduler. Here at HQ we handle the billing, payroll, licensing, background checks on new artists and all the other back office functions crucial to the smooth operation of a national company.

Of course, you also need a mode of transportation to get around, which was not included in the picture. Our Regional Partner in Los Angeles gets around on a motorcycle with his balloon apron in a backpack, you don’t even need 4 wheels to make this work!

Back in 2011 we entertained the idea of branching out into Balloon Décor. At our company HQ we bought heavy helium tanks, shelves of balloons, PVC, and all the other equipment you need to do balloon arches, columns, balloon drops, etc. We did a handful of jobs, but we realized that scaling a décor business nationwide would require tens of thousands of dollars in equipment that could be lost, stolen, damaged etc.   

By keeping this concept light and simple, with online tools that organize people and clients we have an enterprise that can scale anywhere there are restaurants and families.

We can scale this globally, the internet knows no borders.

If you are reading this blog from somewhere else in the world and you have a business background please reach out to us:

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

If you live in a city anywhere in the USA and you want to have a business that is super simple and efficient we would like to talk with you. You can go through our Online Orientation in under a week and start earning cash within about 10 days.  

There is no financial investment to join us other than balloons (which you can buy anywhere) the gas in your vehicle and your time spent building a team.

You will be a 1099 Independent Contractor, so you determine your schedule, the pace of your work, and the size of your income.

You determine the SIZE of your success.

A Construct of the Mind.

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written by Ben Alexander, January 2014

The only physical manifestation of our company is a balloon artist in a restaurant making a balloon for a child. After the customer goes home with a cool balloon there is no evidence that we were ever there other than our promo poster on the door.

We don’t have any storefronts or billboards next to the highways, no trucks or warehouses filled with product, no lasting “widget” that will be sold at yard sales and later discarded in landfills and left to rust.

We are a memory in the minds of children everywhere, something they will recall with vague fondness when they become adults….  

Balloon Distractions is a virtual business, a business of information, ideas and memories.

It all started as a rough idea in my mind in 2003, through training systems that idea has been multiplied in the minds of hundreds of people across the United States, as well as information stored in the ones and zeros of our software in order to organize tens of thousands of bookings each year.  

The most expensive component of our business has been our online scheduling program and our training / orientation interface. Both of these are the most effective way to spread information across time and distance, across 4 time zones, to pursue a common goal.  

With the ongoing evolution of technology there will be more businesses that have little to no physical assets, with software that is parked on servers that are rented on an as-needed basis.

Is there a limit to these “constructs of the mind”? 

As a student of economics I’m going to theorize that there are NO limits to how many different ways we will find to monetize the movement of information in the global economy. Just as Twitter, Facebook and E-harmony started as ideas there will be hundreds and thousands of “mental constructs” that create wealth in the future.    

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

 

Lynch Mobs, Seduction and Balloon Twisting.

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Recent advances in brain science have revealed that when we watch another person do something there are complementary, or “mirror neurons” in our brain that fire off in parallel with whatever we’re watching, even if we don’t actually move from our armchair.

If you are sitting and watching your friend bounce a ball off the sidewalk there is a part of your brain doing exactly the same thing, even if your arm is not moving, weird, eh?

This is why if one person in a room starts yawning everyone else will start yawning.

This is why you are more likely to feel like dancing when you see other people dance, cry when other people are crying, and laugh when everyone in the room is already laughing, etc.

When I used to lead sales meetings in my previous career I would nod my head at the other people in the room, invariably the people watching me would start doing the same thing without even realizing it. Mirror Neurons at work.

If you are on a date and trying to look more desirable to a member of the opposite gender you can sit in the same posture, and adopt the same cadence and tone of voice to put them at ease.

Con men use body posture to establish rapport with a potential rip off victim.

Mirror neurons explain why angry people in a lynch mob will riot, murder and cause property damage in a way they would never do if they were acting alone.

Humans are highly social primates, and this weird mammalian quirk helps us blend in, and ostensibly survive. Since our brains (and our neurons) are more active when we’re younger it seems that people under the age of 25 are much more susceptible to the group activities surrounding them, whether in a church, a cult, or even in boot camp for the Marine Corp.

If the Marines tried to indoctrinate 50 year-old recruits they would have a much harder job building a cohesive platoon willing to take orders without question.

So how does this tie into making balloons for folks in restaurants?

If you smile at the customer they are more likely to respond back in the same manner.

If you have an awful attitude the customer will reflect that back to you.

I found that when I had a great attitude, my restaurant tips went through the roof, but if let myself get frustrated I would not do well.

Children respond very well to positive energy and a sincere smile, even as young as a few months old.

-Benjamin T. Alexander

written in 2012

The Unlimited Creativity of the Ballooniverse.

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Famous balloon artist Jason Szabo and his amazing Yoda….

Balloon art really took off in the 1990’s when people started sharing pics on this website:

http://balloonhq.com/

Previous to that there were a few basic books and some small conventions around the world, but once the folks in the Ballooniverse started to collaborate there was an explosion of new ideas.

Balloon Distractions has had over 4,000 people learn balloon twisting in our organization since 2003, so we’ve been a small part of the expansion of the Ballooniverse, no pun intended!  

Twisting balloons in restaurants is a great way to get very fluent at the art  and earn some decent cash as well, the CEO of our company worked in restaurants during his last 2 years of college and graduated with no student debt!

There is also the added benefit of bringing joy to people through balloon twisting…

Balloons represent a colorful medium for creativity all over the world, and we are proud to be a part of it!