After months of compiling notes and practising pitches, contestants stroll down a protracted, cavernous hallway, cross by 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?” Hundreds of thousands of viewers watching at house surprise the identical factor.
How do you get on “Shark Tank”?
Full disclosure: it’s lengthy and grueling. However fret not. The Penny Hoarder talked to 2 profitable “Shark Tank” contestants to assist stroll you thru 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 sluggish, 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 slightly controversial transfer as a result of he was already “out”) requested the Kangs if they’d 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 buddies to crowdsource their dream honeymoon to Fiji.
The Sharks beloved the thought, and the Margulises walked out with a non-equity deal from the Canadian multimillionaire Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Great.
Get on ‘Shark Tank’
After a decade and greater than 200 episodes, the entrepreneur-themed actuality present remains to be going robust. The rankings have waned lately, however the newest season, season 10, nonetheless drew in about three.5 million viewers each Sunday night time (and numerous viewers on Netflix). Season 11 is about to premiere in September.
Relying on the season,“Shark Tank” producers get between 45,000 and 100,000 purposes, in response to varied experiences. Solely 120 or so pitches ever make it to the viewers’ eyes.
Translation: it’s actually, actually arduous to make it on the present. Candidates have a greater probability of getting accepted into each Harvard and Yale.
However behind-the-scenes recommendation from Kang and Margulis is bound to assist these odds.
Choice One: Apply On-line
The overwhelming majority of individuals making use of to “Shark Tank” do it on-line. Kang and Margulis included, technically. In each their circumstances, the producers of “Shark Tank” reached out to them first and inspired them to use.
“Some folks on the present have been utilizing [Coffee Meets Bagel] and thought it was a extremely fascinating idea, so that they reached out to us,” Kang stated.
However they nonetheless needed to fill out the applying, and it’s a doozy. The preliminary paperwork features a 17-page doc that explains what you are promoting’s backstory, numbers, stage of growth, want for capital and extra. It took them each many months to fill it out.
Earlier than beginning on the primary utility, there’s a further screener questionnaire that asks background fundamentals.
If all goes nicely after the paperwork, the producers will request a number of pitch movies to see if what you are promoting comes throughout nicely on digicam.
When filming your video pitch, make sure to be expressive, use good lighting methods and prep hair, make-up and wardrobe as when you have been happening stay tv.
“Communicate succinctly about your organization, simply as you’d when you’re solid on the present,” Margulis stated.
Choice Two: Attend an Open Casting Name
As the present season is airing, the “Shark Tank” crew is already on the street in search of new contestant-entrepreneurs. For season 11 there have been 10 casting calls in varied U.S. cities. They began as early as January and ran till July (two months earlier than the brand new season premiere).
Simply since you present as much as one of many casting name areas doesn’t imply you’re assured an audition. Traces kind within the early morning hours, and there’s solely a two-hour time-frame when the casting crew distributes wristbands. Not everybody will get one.
And to audition, within the phrases of Paul Simon, “wristband, my man, you bought to have a wristband.”
Preparation is essential for the casting calls as a result of a accomplished 17-page utility is due on the date of the audition. Be able to “wow and dazzle” the crew with a well-rehearsed one-minute presentation.
For open casting calls, there’s no assure of web entry, AV hook-ups or electrical energy. Finest maintain issues easy.
Examine ABC’s open-call schedule for upcoming audition alternatives.
Insider Recommendations on Getting ready for ‘Shark Tank’
Earlier than you shell out the money for strobe lights and fashions for an extravagant presentation, be sure to have the fundamentals down. Specifically, what you are promoting pitch. Even when you don’t make it to the Sharks, the advantages of a well-crafted enterprise pitch are infinite.
“On the identical time that you just’re engaged on the visible presentation,” Margulis stated, “you’re additionally working by the factors of the enterprise, what you’re asking for what share of the corporate, and answering a bunch of enterprise questions.”
For many who make it far sufficient for an in-person pitch, listed here are some further ideas to assist calm your nerves.
Hook the Sharks
The Sharks are suckers for , 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 focus on how their private honeymoon expertise led to Honeyfund’s launch.
“Play to your strengths,” Kang stated. “You wish 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 shall be there on the day of the present, so it’s good to have just a few Sharks in thoughts who you wish to make a cope with, in case your prime choose isn’t there. In latest seasons, the present consists of 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 wish to spend money on,” Margulis stated.
However don’t overlook concerning the viewers at house. Have a presentation that additionally resonates with the common viewer.
“You wish to be sure to’re being energetic,” Kang stated. “It may well really feel actually flat when you’re not capable of categorical your feelings. The viewers watching the present would have a tough time connecting.”
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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 apparent 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 stated, which detailed income, gross sales and projected development numbers.
“You’ve got 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 when you can say, ‘Hey Sharks, I’ve XYZ alternatives in entrance of me, however I can’t execute on these with out your cash.’”
Along with the million different issues to concentrate on, it’s necessary to remain within the second and dedicate time to deal with every Shark. They’re a bunch of huge media personalities, they usually all need your consideration. For instance, you probably have an infomercial-ready product, you is likely to be 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 necessary,” Margulis stated, however when 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 certain a worse deal). They will even be much less probably to present you recommendation.
“We undoubtedly bought some good suggestions from the Sharks whereas we have been within the Tank,” Margulis stated.
Regardless that Honeyfund took a cope with Kevin O’Leary, “Mark [Cuban] stated that he thought it was a foul thought to go after different occasions past the marriage earlier than we had actually cornered the market within the wedding ceremony house,” Margulis stated.
“That’s the factor that has caught with me.”
Adam Hardy is a workers author at The Penny Hoarder. He focuses on methods to make cash that don’t contain stuffy company workplaces. Learn his newest articles right here, or say hello on Twitter @hardyjournalism.
This was initially printed on The Penny Hoarder, which helps hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide earn and lower your expenses by sharing distinctive job alternatives, private tales, freebies and extra. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder because the fastest-growing non-public media firm within the U.S. in 2017.