Kevin O'Leary: Here's when it's time to kill your business

When deciding whether or not to invest in a company, Kevin O'Leary always asks this question: Is a woman involved in the operations? The returns from women-led companies he's invested in are overwhelming, the entrepreneur and Shark Tank judge told the crowd at Inc.'s GrowCo conference on Tuesday.

"I love strong women who don't take any shit," O'Leary said. "That's how business should be."

Much of the success of women-led companies stems from women's superior time-management skills, he added, referencing the saying, "If you want something done, give it to a busy woman."

O'Leary said that male business leaders tend to set goals that are very hard to achieve and don't mind when they only get 50 percent of the way there. But, he warned, when companies don't accomplish goals consistently, morale drops and there is high turnover. Women, on the other hand, set better goals and meet them 80 or 90 percent of the time, boosting morale and encouraging employees to stick around. Because of that, O'Leary said, outcomes are better.

During his remarks O'Leary also offered some lessons for prospective Shark Tank contestants. If you're going to pitch the sharks, he said, make sure you have a firm grasp on your financial figures. He advised knowing metrics like the size of the market and the market share an entrepreneur needs to break even. "If you don't know your numbers, you deserve to burn in hell in perpetuity, and I'll put you there," said O'Leary, who is known on Shark Tank as "Mr. Wonderful."

And while failure is common in the startup world, O'Leary advised entrepreneurs to shutter their businesses if they're not making money in 36 months.

"Take it behind the barn and shoot it," he told the crowd. "Because it has rabies and you have to get rid of it like Old Yeller and start something else."

RELATED: Mark Cuban top business quotes

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Mark Cuban business quotes

#1: "I still work hard to know my business. I'm continuously looking for ways to improve all my companies, and I'm always selling. Always."

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#2: "When you've got 10,000 people trying to do the same thing, why would you want to be number 10,001?"

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#3: "Because if you're prepared and you know what it takes, it's not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there."

Credit: Getty

#4: "Go out there and get rich. Get so obnoxiously rich that when that tax bill comes, your first thought will be to choke on how big a check you have to write."

Credit: Getty

#5: "​In the past, people used to tell me to shut up a bit. But what I believe is to put out your opinion and let everyone else react. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong."

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#6: "I've learned that it doesn't matter how many times you failed. You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lots of times, and I learned from them all."

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#7: "Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you."

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#8: "Forget about finding your passion. Instead, focus on finding big problems."

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#9: "It's not about money or connections -- it's the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time."

Credit: Getty

#10: "What I've learned is that if you really want to be successful at something, you'll find that you put the time in. You won't just ask somebody if it's a good idea, you'll go figure out if it's a good idea."

Credit: Getty


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