Everything I Learned from Pitching to Shark Tank

From the minute I started watching Shark Tank, I fell in love with the show; love at first sight, indeed. I loved how the concept of entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to investors/venture capitalists had become mainstream. Soon enough, it became a show watched by families throughout the country.

When I heard that Shark Tank was holding a casting call at San Diego State University, I jumped at the opportunity to pitch my book, Reality Check: A College Student’s Survival Guide. Although I didn’t get a call from the producers, I learned a lot and will use the information I gained in my second pitch.

Here’s what I learned from pitching to Shark Tank:

  • Have a great story: Based on the episodes I’ve seen in Season 6, it seems as though the producers are choosing entrepreneurs with the best stories. In my opinion, the products haven’t had the “wow factor” as they did in previous seasons.
  • Keep your pitch sweet and simple: Although they tell you your pitch can’t exceed the one-minute mark, try to keep it within 35-45 seconds.
  • Use a statistic or two in your pitch: Incorporating statistics in your pitch gives you credibility and shows the demand for your product. The statistic I used in my pitch was how approx. 33% of college graduates with undergrad degrees in 2012 weren’t able to find jobs.
  • Present your pitch with a problem and a solution: By presenting a problem, you’re indicating that there’s a need for your product. As a result, tell the investors how your product resolves the issue. For example, when I pitched my book, I identified a problem and a solution: The problem was how college students graduate with a ton of debt but aren’t able to find a job after graduation. My solution to that problem was how my book can educate them on how to minimize their debt and increase their chances of finding a job after college.
  • Dress to impress: Dress professionally while keeping it somewhat creative. It wouldn’t hurt to wear something that stands out.
  • If you’re going to record a video of yourself pitching your product, be sure to do something that stands out because sitting in your office and speaking to the camera/camcorder doesn’t cut it anymore. A lot of these entrepreneurs are getting creative. Once, I heard an entrepreneur say she pitched their idea while skydiving – that’s right, SKYDIVING! Therefore, bring your “A game!”

Ever since Shark Tank aired, it has become the Mecca for entrepreneurs, if you will. It has become a launch platform for many start-ups due to potential funding and media exposure. That could explain why many of the start-ups that air on the show are pre-revenue, or don’t have  sales.

Without a doubt, Shark Tank is the place to be if you need an investment and some exposure for your brand new or current business. Although it’s very difficult to appear on the show, here’s the good news: There’s no limit on the number of times you can apply. As a result. keep trying until you get a call from one of the producers and hopefully, appear on the show!