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Naomi Simson Shark tank behind the scenes

Recently, I wrote about my experience on Shark Tank, and reminiscing with the other sharks about our early days in business. When we all start out, the things we learn most from is our mistakes – some more expensive than others.

Some of the contestants on Shark Tank were new to business. They had great ideas and amazing passion, but I could tell they hadn’t considered what type of challenges they would face as a business owner. Some of them walked in into ‘the Tank’ with an idea – but not a plan or a poor understanding of who the real customers were for their produce, let alone what those customers cared about and would be willing to pay for.

They needed to do more research – and customers are the best people to ask.

That’s the thing about building a successful business; you’ve got to constantly be researching, learning – and adapting. You’ve got to have your ears and eyes open for what your customers are saying and what’s changing in the market. These aren’t things you can learn once and then forget about.

I’ve learnt this as I’ve built RedBalloon, and I’m applying this lesson in the recognition arm of our business: RED – Recognise Every Day. Before we launched RED as it’s own brand, we researched small and medium businesses and what the recognition market looked like in Australia. We need to know not just how many businesses there are, but those that are tech savvy and who want to be best employers.

We continue to learn – which is where you come in. We need more info to assist in the evolution of our offering.

That’s why there are survey tools across our website, and in our Redii technology. That’s also why we’ve launched a study of small and medium businesses. I want to understand the biggest challenges other business owners and people leaders face every day, what they’re prioritising, and how I can help them.

Is it product development? Is it cash flow? Is it attracting top talent? Or is creating a an excellent employer brand? Every business has all of these things on their radar, but what I want to know is where they sit on your priority list.

So if you’ve got less than 500 employees, I’d love for you to participate in this study. You only have 6 questions that you need answer, so it should only take 5 minutes of your time. The rest of the questions are optional, and simply an opportunity for you to give us feedback on Redii recognition software, which is now available to try for free, for 30 days.

We’re giving away a $200 RedBalloon voucher for those who complete the SMB study survey and provide their details.

Please help me ‘practice what I have been preaching’…

SharkTank is on air at the prime time of 8.00 pm Sunday nights on Channel Ten from 8 February 2015… Here is a little sneak peak too – at one of the amazing – (and touching) pitches…. As this wonderful entrepreneur says – “I stand here asking for your help please.”

Reader Interactions


  1. The life we give to others from ours in strength is the joy.

  2. Thank you so very much for you ma`am and your scars Mrs Shark so speak of your such wonderful wonderful you in the world.

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Click to discover how I can help you progress to the next level through my Facebook Community The Huddle.


  • Happiness:
Think less, Feel more;
Frown less, Smile more;
Judge less, Accept more;
Watch less, Do more;
Complain less, Appreciate more;
Fear less, Love more....
Give it a crack 😎on a weekend like this what's to stop you! #naturalbeauty #happiness
  • Friday drinks must be here soon surely ... or I'm out! #friyay
  • In the 90s I left my cushy job at Apple.

I’d be a squillionaire if I still had my stock options.

I don’t regret it. Here's why:

After 10 years of corporate, I wanted to ‘do my own thing’. I started with freelance marketing.

My strategy? Hard work and build strong brands.

It seemed to work - new clients came from referrals.

But after 18 months, I came to a realisation:

All my clients wanted was “more customers”, not complex branding plans.

SO I thought I’d build a brand of my own. Something to get them “more customers”. RedBalloon was born. The purpose? Give people amazing experiences.

16 years on, RB has delivered 3.8 million customers to 2000 small businesses.

Now, when I give talks, I always get the same question: “How did you build such a strong brand?” Funny how it comes full circle.

I can’t answer that with a time limit.

Though I think I found a way - an online course. “How to Build your Business Brand” - years of experience in one place (link in bio if interested). But, that’s not the point of this post.

If I stayed with Apple I’d be unbelievably wealthy.

Quitting was still the best thing I’ve ever done.

So if you want to take a leap of faith, do it.

All I ask you is this:

Trust yourself and never underestimate the power of brand.
  • #tbt the originals circa 2004 🎈 it reminds that an entrepreneurs journey is long and full of twists and turns. What a ride! @redballoonexperiences
  • I have always been rushing! I need to remind myself of this one regularity. I'm intentional, not frenetic. Choose the one thing that needs to get done to make everything easier! #inspiration


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