By Gary Nager
Although none of the five multi-millionaire/billionaire “sharks” ended up investing in his company during his Jan. 17 appearance on the hit ABC-TV show “Shark Tank,” local entrepreneur Ben Alexander says he is more excited than ever about his balloon entertainment company, Balloon Distractions.
Alexander, who was joined by more than 200 friends, business associates and Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel members at a “Shark Tank” watch party at PrimeBar in the Shops at Wiregrass mall as his episode of the hit reality series was being aired. Although he was lauded by the “sharks” for his unique idea and his energy during his appearance on the show, Alexander said he wasn’t too disappointed that his request for as $250,000 investment (in exchange for a 1/3 ownership stake in Balloon Distractions) was turned down by all five sharks — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban; real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran; “Queen of QVC” Lori Greiner; technology innovator Robert Herjavec; fashion and branding expert Daymond John; and venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary.
“The most important thing about being on ‘Shark Tank’ isn’t necessarily whether or not the sharks invest in your idea,” Alexander said. “The key is that your website has to be ready for half a million hits the day of the show and thousands more after it airs. You never know who’s watching who might say, ‘I think that’s a great idea.’ Then, you have an investor/partner who really believes in what you’re trying to do, not just a ‘shark’ to give you money but not help you beyond the investment.”
Although he started his appearance on the show with an exciting balloon drop and presented unique balloon gifts to each of the sharks, a couple of them noted that Alexander’s business model for Balloon Distractions was somewhat flawed and Cuban even had to tell Alexander to “Shut up” because his energy wouldn’t allow the billionaire NBA owner to finish a sentence.
Although I wasn’t able to be on-hand for the watch party at PrimeBar (I was at the Billy Joel concert), Ben said that he was overwhelmed by the show of support from those who did attend.
For more information, visit BalloonDistractions.com. To watch Ben’s “Shark Tank” episode, visit ABC.go.com/shows/shark-tank.