Since the show debuted in the summer of 2009,ABC's Shark Tank has gotten countless entrepreneurs interested in pitching to investors. The concept is simple, but also not very easy. In many cases, the "sharks" of the show seem brutal, intimidating and impatient.
Before I share with you the seven juicy secrets and tips to get your business fit and ready to pitch to a potential investor, I want you to ask yourself why you want to be on a show like Shark Tank. Whether you are just looking for publicity or you are looking to bring in some investment money, you need to know what you want out of this experience.
Being on the show can provide plenty of momentum for your business. The amount of visibility you will get is immense! (The show is averaging 7.9 million viewers in its current seventh season on ABC.) If you get on the show in hopes of potentially securing a major investment boost, you will have to prepare yourself accordingly. Not only will you need to be prepared to handle the volume of incoming business, this will be the kind of opportunity investors specifically look for in a candidate.
I always stress this point. Knowing where you stand will only help you reinforce the weak spots in your business. You will definitely need people on the front end that have skills in writing compelling emails, pitches, marketing and sales materials. On the back end, it will be extremely helpful to have a web designer, graphic designer and product person on your team. Of course, these do not need to be individual persons. We all know that in small businesses and start ups, often times, a single person can wear many hats.
Going back to the first tip, now that you know where your team stands, be sure to find partners in your business that complement the team. Bring the technology or members that will add major value to the business on board. Recognize that some components of a project may be more cost-effective when outsourced. (At the bottom of this post, I have listed a couple resources that may help in areas such as website activity and graphic designing.)
Another very important question to ask is, "How will I capture the leads from all the publicity of being on the show?" Potential leads can be consumers, retailers, corporate contacts and buyers. A great way to approach this is to have a lead magnet ready. A lead magnet can come in all kinds of formats and having a valuable one can exponentially increase your opt-in rate. This asset can be a video, info-graphic, worksheet or eBook. Give potential leads a bit of valuable information to further spark their interest in you.
It never hurts to ask your existing fans a few questions to guide your product development. Having some information is better than having none. Consider subdividing, or split-testing, your list to ask more specific questions and to get more accurate responses.
Consider the results and acquired data from your survey(s) and develop your product to appeal to your list. Keep in mind that the data you compile from hosting surveys should only guide your process; do not over-analyze the information.
As new leads come into contact with your company, they will generally go through a funnel. The funnel should guide and qualify them for what you want to happen next. For example, the emails you would typically send before or after an event should have links to your desired call-to-action for them.
Lastly, when you get the opportunity to speak to or work with an investor, make sure you are engaged in the conversation and honestly consider the advice and suggestions they provide. Avoid fighting any feedback you may initially disagree with. The "sharks" are tycoons of their industry and they speak from experience.
Watch the video below to see a segment from our Product Business Show that focuses on "Shark Tank" appearance.
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