Learning from the Shark Tank spectacle

Shark tank has been around for many years, in their first 6 seasons they have seen 495 companies that pitched to them. They have invested USD $63M in 495 companies and of those companies 422 companies are still in business.

There is an art to pitching, and there is no one way to pitch; so what makes the shark tank pitch so successful? Shark Tank averaged over 9 million viewers per episode for season 6 alone.

We analyzed some of the successful pitches on the shark tank show and here are some tips to help boost your pitch to touch your listeners’ hearts.

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Personalize your message

To connect with audience – need to customize and tailor make the presentation for them! Why is this important? To grab their attention you have to give them something they can relate to. Research your audience.

Personalization tips – speak their lingo, use examples or metaphors they can relate to, in vivid detail explain the problem and struggle that they went through.

Always remember when pitching to an audience, you are pitching to potential customers!

 

Target an Investor

An investor is someone who can add value (often monetary) to your company. But picking the right investor is a significant part of your pitch. When you pitch to someone, it is important that you know how to appeal to that person, and the same goes to someone who is potentially giving you money.

If you are faced with a panel of judges like on sharktank or a demo day or a pitch, Know who’s on the panel and have a general idea of who is in the audience. Choose an investor you believe can add the most value to your business. You need to customize the presentation for that specific investor. This is what generally investors look for so make sure to include the following information:

  • Can this business make money?
  • If yes how much can it make?
  • What are the risks associated?
  • How much time and effort do I need to spend on it?
  • Can the promoters / management team deliver

 

Know how to answer questions

This is an important part of the story telling and pitching skill set that most startups lack, what makes you different than your competitors (or other startups that are pitching) is whether  or not you can deflect or answer a critique or a question adequately. List out all possible questions that the investors may ask; and get used to answering these tough questions.

Answer directly – if you know, state the answer. If you don’t, just say you don’t know. Do not invent things in the spot – you’ll just get yourself into trouble.

Very important! Avoid Exaggeration – you will lose credibility.

Show passion with humility – Investors want to see if you really love this stuff? Are you 100% committed? They want to see the passion. They also want to see that humility – I have the passion and I’ve done the best that I can, but I think I’ve hit the point that I can’t grow and I need help and I’m willing to learn  (passion & humility combined). Arrogance will shut down investors’ interests. Investors do not want to work with people who are hard to handle.

 

Samples sell !

Nothing beats better at showing how you solve the problem by providing samples/demo to your investors. Investors love to see and hold the product that your business is offering to help them visualise and imagine how you will tackle the problem.

Don’t worry if it’s still in beta mode or a prototype. What matters is that you took the effort of providing real life experience, simulating your product offering and thus strengthening your value proposition.

 

You MUST KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

This is where I find startups really need to improve on. Knowing your numbers gives the impression that you are serious about your project and that you are ready for investment, getting them wrong says you are a small boy playing a big boys game. we have to back our pitches with facts!

  • What are you looking for?
  • What is the size of the industry?
  • What combination of offer/financials are you looking for?
  • Minimum equity/value/amount you would be happy with?
  • Why is worth that valuation? Sales? Company’s Assets? Projected sales?
  • Confidence to portray that knowledge
  • Keep a journal on the questions

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Lastly I would like to finish off with this, in order for you to get what you want, you have to know EXACTLY what you want. And once you know what you want go forth and the world will follow through; always remember to show and share you passion with a touch of humility. “It comes down to finding something you love to do and then just trying to be great at it” – Mark Cuban.

 

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