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.

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"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."

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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."

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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."

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