The Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Shark Tank

The Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Shark Tank

By Gregory A. Dorsey •

Last night I took the liberty of watching an old episode of the critically-acclaimed business-themed show, Shark Tank. According to the show’s website, the “Sharks” are “tough, self-made, multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons” who made it big in their respective industries: Kevin O’Leary (Educational Software), Lori Greiner (Prolific Inventor), Barbara Corcoran (Real Estate), Robert Herjavec (Technology), Daymond John (Fashion), and Mark Cuban (Media and Sports). Throughout the hour-long show, the “Sharks” listen to pitches from budding entrepreneurs who try to convince one (or some) of the “Sharks” to invest in their businesses. As is typical with most episodes, the business ideas in last night’s episode ran the gamut: newly-designed baby gear, a fly trap that uses dog feces to bait flies, and a different take on food storage containers. By the end of the episode, the “Sharks” invested in two of the three businesses (you guessed it, they could not get beyond the dog feces!).

One of the reasons I enjoy the show Shark Tank is that it reminds me of my own background and experiences. Specifically, in late 1995, I joined two other entrepreneurs to establish a computer services company then known as “Cyberage Technologies.” While we were fortunate to have a connection that allowed us to maintain offices in the CBS corporate offices housed in the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C., we had to work through the stress associated with a technology startup and pitch our ideas to a local “Shark.” That I have been in the “Shark Tank” before, and that I can watch others embark on the sometimes risky and always rewarding process, both inspires me and serves as a potent reminder that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I love the entrepreneurial successes of the “Sharks,” the sheer determination of the budding entrepreneurs, and the emotion that emanates as the “Sharks” cross-examine the budding entrepreneurs to flush out the strengths and weaknesses of their business models.

Though I don’t find myself in the “Shark Tank” these days, as I sit in the conference room of my law office, I often hear stories very similar to those I witnessed on television:

• The Dunkin’ Donuts® franchisee who had to spend nights sleeping on the floor of his first doughnut shop who now owns in excess of 20 different franchised businesses;

• The electrician who recognized a void in the environmental industry and now owns a successful environmental construction firm and environmental wastewater processing plant;

• The unexpectedly-unemployed individual realizing financial independence through personal development, leadership training, and network-building businesses;

• The group of business-minded emergency room doctors who decided to branch out from their hospital to spearhead the development of an urgent care center, recently opening their second location;

• The young programmer who independently developed a cloud-based, scalable ticket and merchandise sales platform looking to turn his idea into a successful company with a marketable business;

• The engineer who, along with two others, formed a company to deliver process control engineering services and systems that today has six offices, employs over 100 people, and provides services and support throughout the world.

These stories, among countless others, encourage and inspire the attorneys at Kelly | Dorsey to continue their practices at a law firm that understands the entrepreneurial spirit and works to protect and foster entrepreneurial successes. Indeed, Kelly | Dorsey was organized from the ground up with “Sharks” and budding entrepreneurs in mind. Our business advisory practice group works to ensure that entrepreneurs and those looking to expand their preexisting businesses are well-equipped to compete in the market economy, from choosing and organizing the optimal business entity to protecting valuable intellectual property. Our litigation and alternative dispute resolution practice group aggressively advances and defends the entrepreneur when internal or external challenges arise. Our tax controversy group advances the rights of entrepreneurs and defends their interests when the Internal Revenue Service or State taxing authorities impede or inhibit our clients and their legitimate business activities.

Whether you are a “Shark” or are looking to become one, the attorneys at Kelly | Dorsey will leverage their considerable experience, know-how, and business acumen to help you reach your personal and professional goals. Long live the entrepreneur!
If you would like to learn more about Kelly | Dorsey’s business, litigation, alternative dispute resolution, or tax controversy practice groups, please fill out and send the Contact Form on ourContact Us page. You can also connect with Kelly | Dorsey through FacebookTwitterLinkedin, andGoogle+. Business and Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice groups chair Gregory A. Dorsey can be reached via email at or telephone at (410) 740-8750. Tax Controversy practice group chair Gerald W. Kelly can be reached via e-mail or telephone at (410) 740-8750.


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