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!

Leave #Him in.

When I started writing my most recent book it was supposed to be a simple “life guidebook” specifically for the young people who worked for Balloon Distractions. In the course of writing the chapters I realized that this could be a book for a much wider audience; young entrepreneurs everywhere, Shark Tank fans, and anyone else who wanted to effect positive change in their life.

Some of those chapters touched upon prayer and faith, and described my resistance to both for much of my adult life. When my daughter Claire shared with me how she prayed each night I felt moved to write a chapter about this, I felt that there might be a young person out there who really needed to hear those words. Perhaps the chapter about Claire’s experience would stay their hand and keep them from doing something rash in a moment of despair and hopelessness.

I had a conversation with my editor as to whether we should “tone down” the faith aspect of my first book. After all, if I had resisted faith for much of my life, how can I write about it now? I’m a flawed human being, one who has made huge mistakes, I moved away from Him, I even denied faith, so who am I to tell folks about God?

But then I realized that during those long years of resisting faith I still read books by writers who openly shared their faith; Truett Cathy, Zig Ziglar, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and many others. Even though I disagreed with them (at that point) I still felt a comfort in what they wrote, the faith of these authors did not deter me from learning and deriving a benefit from their books!

Having realized this I am keeping “Him” in my book. Without God I would have nothing, neither fingers to type, a brain to form a sentence nor the heart to feel his presence in my life. If you do NOT have faith at this moment I hope that these words lead you to it, I am praying that everyone who reads my book is moved closer to God, and not further away from Him.

God is about love, He accepts you and loves you exactly where you are right now, with all your flaws, with all your past mistakes, with all your imperfections. He wants you to reach out to Him in prayer, to ask for guidance. He can help you with the heaviest of burdens, but first you must turn to him and hand those burdens over.

All it takes is a simple prayer.

-Ben Alexander

September 17, 2014

Save your marriage today.

Let me start by saying that if this post prevents just ONE divorce it will be worth it, if you pass it onto a friend (who is having marital challenges) they will benefit from this knowledge and you will make a difference in their marriage as well as the lives of any children who get to see their parents resolve their conflict and stay together.

A few months ago my wife Rachel introduced me to an amazing website:

http://www.MarriageBuilders.com

We began listening and reading TOGETHER and this material has SAVED our marriage!

We bought the books (used paperbacks) on Amazon for less than $10 and listened to the website for free, on my computer as well as on our smartphones. I’m not paid by these folks to promote their website, but I want to pass it along to help out other couples who are facing similar challenges.

We had already read other books like The Five Love Languages and Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus…..    but Dr. Harley’s material gave us a comprehensive understanding of what we needed to do to strengthen our marriage and stay together for the long haul.

Don’t get me wrong, if there is abuse or a substance addiction in your marriage staying together may NOT be an option, but what if you just have internal conflicts in your marriage that is driving you away from your spouse?  What if you just need some fundamental issues resolved?

Marriage Builders will help you fix these issues.

Our society makes it far too EASY to just get a divorce and abandon the most fundamental relationship in your life.

You see divorce on TV and in the movies, and it seems like every famous person in Hollywood has been married 6 or 7 times. When the negative impact of divorce is marginalized in the media it suddenly becomes a viable option, even if divorce is disastrous to our lives on so many levels.

IT is WORTH IT to look at this website and gain a better understanding of what it takes to stay happy in your marriage.

Any long term couple could benefit from the concepts taught on the Marriage Builders website, your marriage is worth saving, especially if you have children involved. Your children need you in their lives, even if you get an amicable divorce you will see your children LESS because they will live under a separate roof.

Divorce is NOT worth it especially if you can “work it out”.

Check out the website, show it to your spouse, if the website helps your marriage please leave a comment here!

-Ben Alexander

#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

Acorns and #Entrepreneurs.

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As the founder of Balloon Distractions I have one simple goal that will probably take me another decade to achieve: get a team of twisters going in every city in the United States…. a couple thousand restaurants, and over a thousand balloon twisters.

No company has ever done this before in our little entertainment niche, but with existing teams in over 40 cities we have a good foundation and all the online systems in place to reach our goal.

During the work week I’m on the phone every day, talking to entrepreneurs in target cities and coaching all the new Regional Leaders that we’ve recruited since we appeared on Shark Tank earlier this year. Developing a Regional Leader is like planting an acorn, it takes time to grow but eventually you’ll grow a forest if you plant a new acorn every day, consistently and over a number of years.

During the weekends I’m out there filling balloon twisting gigs in our client restaurants, earning cash and staying in touch with the very basics of our business. Developing new leaders and then going out to entertain children keeps me grounded. I find tremendous in satisfaction in filling a gig, making kids laugh, and then driving home at the end of the shift tired, but with a pocketful of cash.

I used to think that it would be awful to be out twisting balloons at 40 years old, as if I had failed in some way…. but if we get this company to 200 cities and 3,000 bookings each week I’ll still be out there filling gigs. A child doesn’t care how big your business is, or even what you’ve achieved, they are in the moment and as an entertainer I’m bringing them a small memory of joy.

Nothing wrong with that.

If you are reading our blog and you would like to start a team with us take a look at this link:

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

Have a GREAT weekend!

Benjamin T. Alexander

To connect with people is a great blessing, indeed.

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This is me and my sister Andrea in her kitchen in New Jersey, about 2 years ago.

We were joking around that day, I was talking about goofy stuff and making her laugh, probably because I had said something outrageous…. Andrea’s husband Jerry took the pic and it captured that specific moment perfectly.   

It’s important that we connect with other people, every day, in a non-social media way.

I spent this morning interviewing applicants for an admin position within Balloon Distractions, I met a bunch of nice folks, and in the process had some lively discussions with a pretty diverse group of people. One applicant had been a detective in London, who knew?

Social media has it’s place and it’s utility, but let’s not substitute this for REAL human interaction.

This is one reason why I enjoy volunteering in local community events, it gets you out there meeting people and interacting with real human beings, not staring at a computer screen.

Commenting to a post on Facebook is nice, but sharing a laugh with someone in person is far more powerful.

Those are my thoughts for this afternoon….

Ben Alexander

Tuesday afternoon, February 11, 2014.

Building the Catcher’s Mitt.

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As we roll into 2014 the leadership team here at Balloon Distractions has made many incremental improvements to our operational systems that encompass everything from our internet scheduling software to our compensation plan to our public image online.

Several members of our Advisory Board recommended that we implement a blog that is then cross linked to all of our social media platforms: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

This blog was started in December of 2013, to date we have several thousand views and over 50 blog posts. WordPress has a stats page that shows a global map of WHERE people are looking at our blog.

When we posted about Robert Herjavek there was a spike of views from Canada! 

We have yet to start a Pinterest account, that’s on the 2014 “to do” list.

If you scroll to the top of this blog it cross-links to all our other platforms, as soon as we write a new blog we post it on these other platforms right away. On Facebook we’ve put up several group pages for each region we’re in, with a mix of local content from that region as well as content from our HQ.  

Most of the traffic to this blog was driven here by Facebook, with about 15% coming from our website and various other search engines. The Shark Tank exposure will juice views to all of our online content, which will raise our relevance ranking on the search engines.

Success builds success.  

When Shark Tank airs January 17th we want people to have plenty of content to look at and learn all about us, from written blogs to videos to digital pics. In many ways these blogs are a catcher’s mitt for those folks who are curious about WHO we are and WHAT we do. Our company culture revolves around creativity, a love for children, and a sense of humility and hard work. 

This philosophy in regards to the Ballooniverse is clearly spelled out on our website. We want to develop leaders who take this concept into every metro market with over 50,000 people. With 308 million people in the United States we know that potential leaders are out there, we just need to reach out to them and get them involved in our business!

By writing these essays we hope to find MORE people who are CONGRUENT with that philosophy who join us as we expand all over the United States, and (in a few years) the entire globe.  

This is not to say that everyone who joins us will be a hard core intellectual, but if you ARE a hard core intellectual willing to WORK and build a large team there is an opportunity for you within this organization.

Here is the link:

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

Have a GREAT 2014!   

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

NOTHING is Permanent.

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Written by Ben Alexander in 2008.

I was in New York during the spring of 2001 on business and I found myself in lower Manhattan.

I had never gone to the top of the World Trade Center, but when I pulled into the parking garage at the center the rate was exorbitant, about $15 an hour.

I had gotten a $50 parking ticket from NYPD the day before so I said to myself “To heck with it!  I’ll check it out the next time I’m in the Big Apple; it’s not worth the 15 bucks!!”

Of course, the next time I was in Manhattan the parking was not $15 anymore because there was NO garage, NO giant towers above—just a 10-foot tall cyclone fence surrounding a gargantuan hole in the ground.

Ground Zero, indeed.

The last time I was in Asia I bought some interesting books on Buddhism and read them while I was on the 14 hour flight home over the Pacific….

One of the concepts in Buddhism is: Nothing is permanent.

Back in the spring of 2001 I never would have imagined that those gargantuan buildings would be gone in the next hundred years, let along the next 6 months….and they fell in the same time that it takes to read the business section of the local newspaper.

If the Twin Towers are not permanent then neither is your marriage, your children, your career, your wealth, your house, your car…. anything that you can touch.

Failure is not permanent, but neither is success!

Our current economic doldrums are not permanent; it will pass and things will pick up again.

Even knowledge is not permanent; when humans disappear and our books disintegrate—the Bible, the Koran and the Talmud will all be gone, along with the religions upon they’ve been promulgated.

Even the people who want to BURN books will be long gone as well.

There will always be change; so if everything is always changing, how can anything be permanent?

Just as the World Trade Center looked solid, strong and immovable, that was merely an illusion quickly dispelled by a team of suicidal terrorists at the controls of two fully fueled jetliners.

If there is a negative situation in your life, you can gain perspective by realizing that whatever IT is, it is NOT permanent.

We are really tiny in the grand scheme of things.  Humbling, isn’t it?

Even the most famous person is just a speck of sand on a beach that stretches a thousand miles.

Depending on what you believe perhaps the only thing that is an exception to this rule is God, but while we are still alive there is no sure answer to that question as well.