Shark Tank Guest Judge Bethenny Frankel's Secrets to Building a Multimillion-Dollar Brand
The SkinnyGirl founder and 'Real Housewives of New York' star says you have to understand what you can do that no one else can.
Bethenny Frankel has never been one to shy away from new challenges.
While you might know Frankel as a fixture on reality television -- she has starred in three series on Bravo, beginning with The Real Housewives of New York City and two solo spin-offs, as well as her own self-titled syndicated talk show -- the former natural foods chef is an entrepreneur first and foremost.
The New York Times-bestselling author is the founder of food and beverage company Skinnygirl, which sold to Beam Suntory for a reported $100 million in 2011. Frankel also launched a television production company called B Real Productions in 2015. This fall Frankel is going to share her experience with aspiring business owners as a guest judge on ABC’s Shark Tank and she was a speaker at Advertising Week New York. But her latest venture is the one that is closest to her heart.
Last year, in partnership with Dress for Success, Frankel started an initiative called B Strong dedicated to helping women in crisis. She has found that her experience running her businesses has helped her make a real impact in the philanthropic space -- most recently, the organization raised more than $300,000 in funds and supplies to support families affected by Hurricane Harvey.
She says in order to help people in a crisis, you need to be tactical, efficient and have a clarity of vision. You also need people on the ground that you can trust.
“You can't take people's money unless you know exactly what you're doing,” Frankel told Entrepreneur. “Running a charity takes the precision and the organization and the delegation [that] a business [does].”
We caught up with Frankel to get her best tips for building a brand that resonates with people and how to stay healthy and focused while growing your business.
Start from a place of yes.
“I'm not always in a good mood and I can be totally busy. But I start from a place of yes -- figure it out and get it done. I'm very good at getting things done. I'm very surgical about it and I'm a very [process-oriented] person, so I figure out how to attack the problem. You have to remain calm. You can get worked up and then you need to sort of step back. If you can't get through the door, go through the window.”
Determination is everything.
“Everybody says they have a brand. And it is so hard to actually get the match lit to actually have a brand that resonates. And it is a tireless, utterly competitive business now, especially because of shows like Shark Tank. You just have to be that person who really works like a dog, who just has that drive, determination and goes all the way and is laser-focused.”
You don't have to be the first -- but you have to be the best.
“[When developing a new product I think,] can somebody else do it? And if they can, can I do it better and do I have a monster partner, like a Beam Suntory or an Arizona Beverage where we have good distribution and such good muscle that we can do it bigger and better? You don't have to be first but you have to be best. Most ideas are going to be taken. If they haven't now they will in a minute. You could also have a brand new idea but then somebody could see you doing it and they're going to copy it. You need to be able to hit the ground running like a military operation with your logo, your website, your social, your concept, your execution and your marketing. It is cutthroat.”
Prioritize taking care of you.
“When I'm traveling I try to not eat terribly because sugar will mess with your levels and junk food will make you feel worse. I try to really do the best I can. On a plane I’ll take a heating pad and facial masks. I try to drink as much water as I can. When you're stressed out, the first thing you want to do is grab what's near you. I always try to find a good, healthy option in the airport. I try to mitigate the damage. Sleep is so important so just try to get it where you can. You have to force yourself [to prioritize] taking care of yourself. And I really do think that sleep is the most important thing. And be organized. If you’re not organized you’re all over the place. And be communicative [about what you need].”
Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.