I don’t have time to watch much television. However I must admit that I find Shark Tank to be a fascinating insight into the interaction of what I regard as the 4 main value propositions anyone can bring to the market. The critical 4 are Seed, Deed, Need and Greed.

If you are unfamiliar with the program, a brief explanation is speed-dating for real entrepreneurs (who have money) and budding entrepreneurs (who need money). Although it is a contrived market, it offers life lessons for everyone.

Blog: Be aware of what you're bringing to the market

I don’t have time to watch much television. However I must admit that I find Shark Tank to be a fascinating insight into the interaction of what I regard as the 4 main value propositions anyone can bring to the market. The critical 4 are Seed, Deed, Need and Greed.

If you are unfamiliar with the program, a brief explanation is speed-dating for real entrepreneurs (who have money) and budding entrepreneurs (who need money). Although it is a contrived market, it offers life lessons for everyone.

“Seed” which represents an idea may be inherently valuable but, without the addition of an appropriate amount of work (the “Deed”), that value will never be realised. Whether the Deed is done by the creator of the Seed seems to be irrelevant. Provided sufficient work has been completed to demonstrate the value of the seed, the market will be prepared to reward appropriately.

Of course, along the way, the cost of completing the Deed translates into a Need as the budding entrepreneur has exhausted existing resources and Needs more to continue the process of developing the Seed. Does the market reward a Need? Sometimes.

And then there are those who expect the market to reward handsomely for a Seed that is not accompanied by sufficient Deeds to demonstrate the “potential” as seen by the budding entrepreneur – this is Greed. Does the market reward Greed? Again, sometimes and probably more often than we would deem “fair” but that’s how markets work.

Returning to Shark Tank, that market is most likely to reward Seed + Deed, rarely responds to Need alone and very quickly “outs” Greed. I sometimes feel that it is the Sharks displaying Greed and again an agreement does not result.

So what’s the lesson here?

Everyone (employees and business owners) wants to be paid for their efforts and in most cases, the amount of payment is determined by a version of “the market”. This is a feature of our free-enterprise economic system.

Admittedly, the government through its various agencies often attempts to regulate these markets by setting award wage rates, price fixing laws, prescription of minimum service standards or even direct price controls. However, in general, your income is determined by largely invisible market forces that balance up the value provided with the rewards offered.

Be aware of what are you bringing to the market. Is it Seed, Deed, Need or Greed? If you believe the market is not paying you enough, it may be time to carefully analyse the value you supply – maybe the market is right.