8 tips for a successful pitch
Whether you’re already operating a successful business, you’re a startup or you simply have a fantastic idea and could use some financial backing, the Shark Tank reality show is for you.
Shark Tank, the critically acclaimed business-themed reality show on ABC, has become one of the top reality shows in America. The Sharks – self-made multi-millionaires and billionaires – search to invest in the best businesses and products that America has to offer.
The Emmy Award-winning show gets thousands of pitches a year, but only a couple of hundred get selected. Here are some characteristics producers are looking for in contestants and how to pitch to get selected for the show.
1. Make your pitch confident and relaxed – fun even.
The Shark Tank producers are looking for entrepreneurs who will not be intimidated by the Sharks. They want people who will be able to challenge the Sharks – not applicants who agree with everything the Sharks say. You should demonstrate confidence and knowledge about your business. Producers also want someone who is relaxed and natural in front of the camera. The best applicant is someone who can smoothly continue his or her presentation while the Sharks aggressively and repeatedly interrupt.
2. Show your strong personality.
You need to show your personality and be able to open up in front of the cameras. The casting director will only pick companies/individuals who present well. Your pitch must be entertaining and make “good television.” Many successful businesses failed to be selected because their pitches weren’t entertaining enough for TV.
3. Give your pitch a personal touch.
Share your background in your pitch to make it sound more personal. Tell how and why you started your business. Include personal life experiences, stories and details.
4. Describe your competition.
Explain in your pitch how your company/product is different from your competition. Be upfront about your existing competition. Make it clear in your pitch why you think you are well positioned to win. Explain why your product is superior.
5. Use simple language.
Use simple language in your pitch, free of professional slang and jargon. Make your pitch uncomplicated and straightforward. No MBA speak. While the Sharks are experienced business people, the average viewer at home often has little to no business ownership experience.
6. Stand out from other pitches with a unique product.
The Shark Tank producers are looking for creative, innovative people and ideas. Your pitch should be original and captivating.
7. Know your numbers.
You should know your business finances inside and out. Be ready to answer the following questions:
What are your gross margins?
What percentage of the market do you have to capture to break even?
Assuming you know your own profits (see above), what profits have your competitors generated?
Where is it cheapest to produce your product?
How much are your retail listing fees?
Will those fees likely go up or down?
How much debt do you have and what interest are you paying?
What percentage of the company is yours?
8. Make sure you understand the following financial and legal obligations necessary to participate on the show:
Owners agree to give up five percent of their company or two percent of future profit.
The key legal requirements include, but are not limited to:
You must be 18 years of age or older.
You must be a legal resident of the United States.
You may not be a candidate for public office and must agree not to become a candidate for public office from the date of the audition release until one year after the initial broadcast of the last episode of the series in which you appear.
You may not be a convicted felon.
You must voluntarily submit to a background check.
Getting on Shark Tank is your chance to get the funding you need to jump-start your venture. Sharks give entrepreneurs of all types the chance to chase the American dream and potentially secure business deals that could make them millionaires. But you need to be prepared. Very prepared. Know your stuff. Watch past episodes and learn what works and what to avoid. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Axia Public Relations can help you prepare for your Shark Tank pitch. We can also develop a PR strategy for your company to connect with your target audience and build your reputation. Download our e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment to learn how to use PR to maximize your ROI.
Featured image credit: Creative Commons