Kevin O’Leary: ‘Don’t let naysayers stop you’

Kevin O'Leary had lots of advice during his Wednesday talk at FSU.
Photo Submitted by Nya Ramirez.

Kevin O’Leary, better known as “Mr. Wonderful” on the popular reality TV show “Shark Tank,” is not shy about offering advice.

O’Leary was the featured guest Wednesday when Florida State University hosted the Power Forward Speaker Series in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. This sold-out event attracted students in Tallahassee, local business leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs.

O’Leary, in addition to “Shark Tank,” is chairman of O’Shares Investments, founder and CEO of O’Leary Fine Wines, and a regular contributor on ABC, CNBC and CTV, as well as a best-selling author of two books.

Because of O’Leary’s many accomplishments and successful reality show, many were ecstatic on Wednesday to hear what he had to say about becoming a business owner.

“I wanted to see how they intertwine Kevin O’Leary, who’s obviously as savvy as can be, and maybe a beneficial cause through Power Forward to see if it’s benefitting the community that I’m currently in as an FSU student,” said Edward Shaker, an FSU graduate student.

During O’Leary’s presentation, he spoke about the importance of listening to the people involved in the growth of your business. “The greatest attribute you have in the beginning of your journey is the burning passion to succeed — you don’t let naysayers stop you, you don’t even listen, you have a vision for where you’re going, and no one is going to stop you — but it’s also your greatest weakness the minute you get your first sale,” O’Leary said.

O’Leary gave tips that are significant in the growth of a business and gave out information that any entrepreneur would be grateful for.

Following his presentation, O’Leary was able to do a Q&A moderated by Florida Chamber CEO, Mark Wilson. The audience was able to submit questions for O’Leary via Twitter using the hashtag #PwrFwd or writing a question on the back of a card.

Although this event was designed for aspiring entrepreneurs and local business owners, parents gathered in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall for the sake of their children’s future— “One of the things that I took from it, was the entitlement piece, we have two boys that… one is in college, and one is actually a junior here at Florida State, and we’re in our later stages in life of trying to plan, and what we do for them and what they’re working for right now…” said Joe Graganella.

Past speakers in the Power Forward series include NFL legend Jim Kelly, Randi Zuckerburg from the Facebook startup team, and Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Inc.