From 2 CEOs Who Nailed Their Pitches

After months of compiling notes and working towards pitches, contestants stroll down an extended, cavernous hallway, move via wood-grain double doorways and enter the scorching cone of the highlight. The piercing gaze of their interrogators — who appear extra like executioners — is hotter nonetheless.

Most contestants in all probability mutter to themselves “How did I get right here?”

Tens of millions of viewers watching at dwelling marvel the identical factor.

However these courageous entrepreneurs have already handed the primary check and discovered how you can get on “Shark Tank.”

(Full disclosure: it’s lengthy and grueling.)

Fret not. The Penny Hoarder talked to 2 profitable “Shark Tank” contestants to assist demystify the method.

Dawoon Kang, CEO and cofounder of Espresso Meets Bagel, pitched her enterprise alongside her sister-cofounders Soo and Arum for season 4. Espresso Meets Bagel is a relationship app that combats what the founders see as a poisonous, swipe-right relationship tradition by specializing in gradual, significant relationships.

The Kang sisters didn’t stroll away with a deal — they turned one down. Mark Cuban, the billionaire businessman and proprietor of the Dallas Mavericks, (in a fairly controversial transfer as a result of he was already “out”) requested the Kangs if they might promote their firm for $30 million on the spot. They refused anyway.

Sara Margulis and her husband, Josh, appeared on season six to pitch Honeyfund, their wedding-gift and honeymoon registry web site. Honeyfund is the brainchild of their very own honeymoon expertise: Josh constructed an internet site for his household and mates to crowdsource their dream honeymoon to Fiji.

The Sharks liked the concept, and the Margulises walked out with a non-equity deal from the Canadian multimillionaire Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Fantastic.

The right way to Get on ‘Shark Tank’

After a decade and greater than 300 episodes, the entrepreneur-themed actuality present remains to be going sturdy. Rankings have waned lately, however September’s season 14 premiere nonetheless drew in about 4.7 million viewers.

Relying on the season, “Shark Tank” producers get between 45,000 and 100,000 purposes, in line with varied reviews. Round 100 pitches make it to the viewers’ eyes every season.

Translation: It’s actually, actually exhausting to make it on the present. Candidates have a greater likelihood of getting accepted into each Harvard and Yale.

However this insider recommendation from Kang and Margulis is bound to assist these odds.

From left: Soo, Arum and Dawoon Kang pitch their relationship app Espresso Meets Bagel on an episode of Shark Tank. Picture courtesy of ABC/Tony Rivetti

Choice One: Apply On-line

At present, everybody who applies for “Shark Tank” does it on-line. Kang and Margulis included, technically. In each their instances, the producers of “Shark Tank” reached out to them first and inspired them to use.

“Some folks on the present had been utilizing [Coffee Meets Bagel] and thought it was a very fascinating idea, in order that they reached out to us,” Kang mentioned.

However they nonetheless needed to fill out the applying, and it’s a doozy. All candidates should first full a brief screener questionnaire that asks background fundamentals and for a short description of the corporate or product.

The Shark Tank group will assessment these purposes and attain out for extra data for these they’re desirous about.

That would embody a 17-page doc that explains your enterprise’s backstory, numbers, stage of growth, want for capital and extra. It took Kang and Margulis each many months to fill out.

If all goes effectively after the paperwork, the producers will request a number of pitch movies to see if your enterprise comes throughout effectively on digital camera.

Professional Tip

When filming your video pitch, make sure to be expressive, use good lighting and prep your hair, make-up and wardrobe as should you had been occurring reside tv.

“Converse succinctly about your organization, simply as you’d should you’re forged on the present,” Margulis mentioned.

Choice Two: Attend an Open ‘Shark Tank’ Casting Name

Sadly, open casting calls have been canceled for the upcoming Season 15 “in accordance with efforts to mitigate the unfold of COVID-19.” Functions might be online-only “for the foreseeable future,” in line with the present’s web site.

In earlier seasons, contestant-entrepreneurs had the prospect to use in-person in varied U.S. cities as much as two months earlier than the season premiered.

However simply exhibiting as much as one of many casting name areas didn’t imply you had been assured an audition. Strains fashioned within the early morning hours, and there was solely a two-hour timeframe when the casting crew distributed wristbands. Not everybody obtained one.

And to audition, within the phrases of Paul Simon: “Wristband, my man, you bought to have a wristband.”

Preparation is vital for casting calls as a result of a accomplished 17-page software is due on the date of the audition. Be able to “wow and dazzle” the crew with a well-rehearsed one-minute presentation.

Professional Tip

For open casting calls, there’s no assure of web entry, AV hook-ups or electrical energy. Maintain your pitch low-tech. Test ABC’s open-call schedule to see when in-person auditions return.

Insider Recommendations on Making ready for ‘Shark Tank’

So that you slayed the audition and discovered how you can get on “Shark Tank.” Now it’s important to truly … go on TV.

However earlier than you shell out money for strobe lights and fashions for an extravagant on-air presentation, be sure you have the fundamentals down. Specifically, your enterprise pitch. Even should you don’t make it to the Sharks, the advantages of a well-crafted enterprise pitch are limitless.

“On the identical time that you simply’re engaged on the visible presentation,” Margulis mentioned, “you’re additionally working via the factors of the enterprise, what you’re asking for what share of the corporate, and answering a bunch of enterprise questions.”

Right here’s what else to do as soon as that highlight is on you.

Hook the Sharks

The Sharks are suckers for a superb, relatable story. Gimmicks like fashions and corny platitudes may get a chuckle however not an funding. The Kang sisters crafted a hook that doubled as their origin story, which highlighted their journey from South Korea to Silicon Valley. And the Margulises went for a subtly Fiji-themed presentation to spotlight how their private honeymoon expertise led to Honeyfund’s launch.

“Play to your strengths,” Kang mentioned. “You need to stand out and differentiate your self as a result of they hear pitches all day lengthy.”

Know Your Viewers

Every episode of “Shark Tank” options 5 of the six everlasting Shark-investors. The contestants don’t know who might be there on the day of the present, so it’s good to have a number of Sharks in thoughts who you need to make a cope with, in case your high choose isn’t there. In current seasons, the present contains some wildcards like billionaire Richard Branson, actor Ashton Kutcher and NBA legend Charles Barkley.

“Have a way of who every Shark is, what sorts of offers they love to do and what sort of services they prefer to spend money on,” Margulis mentioned.

However don’t neglect in regards to the viewers at dwelling. Have a presentation that additionally resonates with the common viewer.

“You need to be sure you’re being energetic,” Kang mentioned. “It could really feel actually flat should you’re not in a position to specific your feelings. The viewers watching the present would have a tough time connecting.”

Arm Your self With Numbers

On the very least, each contestant on “Shark Tank” wants a particular ask within the format of “x% of my enterprise for $x.” The plain follow-up to that query is, “How did you come to that valuation?” And that’s probably simply the primary query in a coming onslaught.

“We had a stack of flashcards four-inches thick,” Margulis mentioned, which detailed income, gross sales and projected development numbers.

“You could have to have the ability to succinctly inform [the Sharks] how their cash goes to develop your organization and return again to them,” she added. “Even higher should you can say, ‘Hey Sharks, I’ve XYZ alternatives in entrance of me, however I can’t execute on these with out your cash.’”

Be Truthful

Along with the million different issues to pay attention to, it’s vital to remain within the second and dedicate time to handle every Shark. They’re a bunch of massive media personalities, and so they all need your consideration. For instance, you probably have an infomercial-ready product, you is perhaps itching for a cope with Lori Greiner, dubbed the “Queen of QVC.” However don’t ignore the opposite Sharks.

“Investor match is all the time vital,” Margulis mentioned, however should you’re not totally answering the opposite Sharks’ questions, it might backfire in additional methods than one.

The opposite Sharks may “exit,” which suggests much less competitors (and sure a worse deal). They will even be much less probably to offer you recommendation.

“We positively obtained some good suggestions from the Sharks whereas we had been within the Tank,” Margulis mentioned.

Though Honeyfund took a cope with Kevin O’Leary, “Mark [Cuban] mentioned that he thought it was a nasty thought to go after different occasions past the marriage earlier than we had actually cornered the market within the marriage ceremony house,” Margulis mentioned.

“That’s the factor that has caught with me.”

Adam Hardy is a former workers author at The Penny Hoarder. Freelancer Cassidy Alexander contributed tot his publish. 

Does all this “Shark Tank” discuss have you ever able to plunge into your individual enterprise enterprise? Learn on.

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