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Valuable Lessons from 'Shark Tank' for Entrepreneurs The television reality show is a crash course in business and entrepreneurship.

By Meeta Vengapally

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Christopher Willard | Getty Images

If you're an entrepreneur, there's a very good chance that you've seen the ABC TV show Shark Tank. If you haven't, I highly recommend it. Although it's easy to write off reality shows for being overly dramatic and often staged, Shark Tank provides some valuable lessons to entrepreneurs who pitch to investors for capital. Many of the worthiest takeaways from the show are thanks to the genius of Mark Cuban, a business mastermind and personal mentor of mine.

Network effect

The first important lesson that Shark Tank imparts—and one that's not the easiest for entrepreneurs to stomach — is the incredible importance of networks. The most successful pitches in Shark Tank were aligned with huge brands such as QVC and Best Buy. Although some people might be opposed to these megastores, there is so much success to be had by aligning yourself with a major distributor. If that means receiving a bit less cash upfront in order to get connected to one of these networks, it will most likely benefit your business in the long run. Whatever you do, don't tip your nose up to Walmart. You'd be making a big mistake.