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Sink or Swimm: New Reality Show Rescues Minority Businesses

Preparation will keep your business afloat.

“Sink or Swimm” promises the electricity of the hit reality show, “Shark Tank,” with an added bonus: It’s designed to support or, in some cases, save minority businesses, Adam Jackson, the show’s producer and creator, tells rolling out.

Jackson is the co-proprietor of the Jimmy Jamm Sweet Potato Bakery.
Here, he talks to rolling out about the show and why he’s driven to help other entrepreneurs succeed. –zondra hughes

You actually give away money on “Sink or Swimm?
“Sink or Swimm” is a reality television show that is based on saving minority businesses, and we developed another subsidiary, which is called the “Sink or Swimm Business Swim Meet.” Kind of like the “Shark Tank” [at the Swim Meet], 15 businesses would present their business to our panel of experts that includes investors, recruiters, etc., and, if one of the panelists picks their business, there’s a first-, second- and third-place cash prize.

What are the cash prizes?
First place is $1,000; second place is $500; and third place is $250. There’s a grand prize. An investor could find a relationship with a new business and invest anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, and I have two of those spots available for the show.

Why were you compelled to launch this show?
I’ve personally helped, saved, started or supported more than 175 businesses. I am a personal business consultant , and this is a way that I can reach as many businesses with the right information for new, for now businesses. We have more than 40,000 businesses shutting down every month. This is just a way for me to reach as many businesses that I can.

Why are minority businesses closing at such an alarming rate?
Most businesses suffer from improper finances, bad location, poor management and a lack of knowledge of the business that they’re in. Because of the lack of knowledge, most businesses fail within six to eight months.

Do you mean business owners have a lack of knowledge about operating a business  or a lack of knowledge about their industries?
Both — a lack of knowledge about the business they’re in because they opened that business on impulse. Have you ever been to a multi-level marketing event, and people get excited and [buy into that business?] That’s impulse. For example, an impulse entrepreneur may say, “Hey, I’ve found some floating water. This water floats, and I’m excited about that.” And then he gets some business cards for that and a website for, and, yet, he knows nothing about it. But he was excited about that business and, then, he goes out of business.

What are some solutions for new business owners?
The new cuss word for new businesses is the 5 Ps: Proper preparation prevents poor performance. That’s the new cuss word because we don’t like to prepare. We want instant gratification. We must prepare.

Whom we hire to operate our businesses is an issue as well, correct?
Do not hire friends and family, just because they’re your friends and family. Hire qualified or trainable family. They must have the right mindset. The best leaders are the best followers, and implementation avoids procrastination.

How do you apply the ideal of “implementation avoids procrastination” at your bakery?
When you come into my bakery, you will be asked, “Is this your first time here?” If it’s a yes, then, instantly, somebody hears that in the back, and they’ll come out and offer a free sample of our non-dairy sweet potato ice cream. That’s just working with implement.

What leadership skills should a new business owner learn?
We tend to reprimand people without giving them notification and, then, we say, “You should know.” But you didn’t notify them. A lot of that is self. The key to success is to set self aside. If you look at religion, salvation is to be set aside from sin. Out with the old, in with the new. Old things pass away; behold, all things become new.

How did you learn to set self aside?

I filed a $1.25 million bankruptcy in 2000 because it was about me. I didn’t buy the suits for my suit stores through my demographic profile and strategic planning. If I had made it about the consumer and did my research, it would have come back financially, tangibly, about me.

What was your mental process that helped you to rise above bankruptcy and try again?
I’m a true entrepreneur. I’m a beast. I love entrepreneurship. I love success, and I love helping people to make money. I love to help other people achieve their success. I love this. This is who I am. This is what I do, and no one can change it.

Sink or Swimm wrapped its first taping earlier this month. Log on for your opportunity to participate in the next show.


  1. WhatUNeedIs on July 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Congratulations Adam!

  2. Marcie_Hill on July 27, 2011 at 4:30 am

    Adam, I admire your business mind. I agree with all of the reasons you mentioned on why businesses do not survive and I commend you for using your time, talent and resources for helping a few to stay afloat.