CHICAGO — The keynote address at McCormick Place centered around Robert Herjavec and Daymond John from the hit show “Shark Tank” talking about the entrepreneurial spirit of the carwash industry.
The keynote was conducted in interview fashion, with ICA President Gary Dennis asking the questions. John was asked why businesses succeed, and responded that it is important to “partner up with people who know better than you, or to stick to what you know best.” Herjavec added that the people who succeed in business are the ones who’re really passionate about what they do.
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The carwash business is full of passionate professionals, which was evident by the excitement at the show, making it a business people enjoy investing in.
The carwash business is made up of many small owners and operators, and this is one reason Herjavec is interested in it. “Whenever you see a business, someone made a courageous decision,” he said.
Once a business is successful, John said it is important not to overextend it before it has time to grow organically. “Overfunding is a major problem for startups,” he said. John explained that business needs to understand how to make money before expanding and receiving funds from investors that they cannot pay back.
Herjavec added that businesses should have everything running smoothly before introducing new innovations. He told stories about his past companies attempting to introduce too many new features at one time, only to have all of them fail.
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A question posed to the audience by Herjavec was one he said could be worth millions to anyone who could solve it: “Why don’t my daughter and my wife [want] to clean their cars?" A businessperson needs to see problems and come up with solutions, and this is one question with a solution worth millions, according to the speakers.
The keynote was also filled with many fun moments and stories. Ever the businessman, John told the story of his first business, in the first grade, selling pencils. The young entrepreneur was shut down by his principal, when it was discovered the pencils had been stolen. The two poked fun at one another throughout the keynote, and expressed passion for the carwash industry.
Two lucky contestants were also given the chance to pitch their ideas to the “Sharks” and gain constructive feedback on how to improve their potential businesses.