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No deal? No sweat! Entrepreneur finds success without a shark

Source: ViewSport

Ben Wood entered the "Shark Tank" on Season 3 with a new process for motivating athletes: When someone exercises, the patent-pending ViewSPORT sweat-activated technology reveals a design that is only apparent once sweat comes in contact with the fabric.

The harder the wearer works, the more visible the image.

Although he didn't get a deal on "Shark Tank," Wood's hard work has paid dividends. He now has a 50,000-square-foot facility in Miami that employs 75 employees.

Benjamin Wood, ViewSport
Source: Bejamin Wood
Benjamin Wood, ViewSport

How did you audition for "Shark Tank?"

A friend recommend that I audition for the show. I applied directly from my cellphone and got a callback within 24 hours. I didn't realize how lucky I was to be selected. The applicant-to-"on-air" ratio is pretty high. The whole process is very rigorous.

What was it like the night your episode aired?

Chaotic. A lot of phone calls from friends. Love poems about sweat. The business was still young and did not have the infrastructure and team it does now. I fielded 500 or so emails from potential investors, custom orders and sales reps.

What has been the impact of being on "Shark Tank?"

A national advertising agency for a major beverage client saw the product on the show, which led to a national campaign in Puerto Rico featuring our product and later in many South American countries. It also led us to growth in our e-commerce business and helped us win a contract with the U.S. Army.

Any advice for another entrepreneur about to enter the tank?

Understand the financials of your business. If you do not have considerable sales, a solid plan and a product which, in the shark's eyes, can and will make money you are not likely to get a deal. That's not the end of the world. You still get good exposure and if your idea is sound, you are likely to get valuable contacts. Understand that the opportunity may just be an opportunity to showcase your idea and product to the world, and for 15 minutes, you are your product. In my case, my "ask" was way too high, based on the sales to date figures. The sharks hammered me pretty hard on that point. I was disappointed at the time but in retrospect, not getting a deal has worked out very well for ViewSPORT.

Tuesdays have more bite with back-to-back episodes of "Shark Tank" on CNBC every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. & 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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