Shark Tank is a TV show connecting aspiring entrepreneurs, and powerful and smart investors, looking for the next best companies.
Who are the sharks? These are self-made multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons, ready to either crush your startup dream, or help you make it a reality.
If you have something to do with entrepreneurship, the startup world, or are just thinking of becoming self-employed or climbing the career ladder in your field, this show is for you.
Shark Tank can let you see what pitching really is, and by seeing what others do right and wrong, you yourself can understand the main principles of business and sales, without even having to make any mistake or be rejected for an idea.
Together with that, we can learn plenty of things about the real world too.
The skills entrepreneurs need these days go further than the traditional business knowledge and knowing how to market things. It’s about networking, innovation, working with numbers and with words, and tens of personal qualities that can be developed over time and through practice, and life lessons like these.
So, here are the business and life lessons you can find in the episodes of Shark Tank:
1. It’s all about the pitch.
Newbie business owners hear this everywhere, and often try to get better at pitching themselves.
And while there are plenty of resources out there, it still can’t get close to the actual moment you face investors and let them hear how you describe your business idea, what exactly you mention, how you present it, how you begin the story to get them hooked, what numbers you add, etc.
Well, Shark Tank gives you some of the best pitches you can hear.
I say listen carefully to each and every one, notice the words, body language, reaction of the sharks, how you feel about the idea when you hear that person, and more.
Be sure that these are effective even though the deal might not get funded in the end. It happen. But there’s still a ton of value.
I’d even say hear the pitches you like the most a couple of times, write down the structure, try to create something similar yourself, criticize what you think can be polished, etc. That’s a great exercise.
2. Leave emotions behind for some time.
To build a profitable business, but to also enjoy your work and find meaning in what you do, you need to be passionate about it. Be it about the niche, the type of people you’re helping, the actual product you’re creating, or the game of improving a brand and scaling the business.
Passion, however, is a strong emotion. And when it comes to venture capital, this will get you distracted, and will cloud your vision and mind.
What investors want to hear is real facts and numbers.
If you’ve always cared a lot about the business, but know that it’s time to grow now and you need a new approach, you’ll need to put your feelings aside for a while and get to work on the business valuation and numbers.
3. Negotiations requires preparation.
Many participants had to learn this the hard way in Shark Tank.
For instance, they should have known that when Mark Cuban says a decision is final, there are no compromises so it’s basically in their disadvantage to try and get more out of the deal.
In some cases, this even led to rejection because the aspiring entrepreneur decided to experiment and try and ask for more money. Not to mention that this shows insecurity, not taking smart decisions, and not reading people well.
So even if your idea and pitch are great, prepare for the negotiation part too.
It’s where you show a lot about how you can play the game of entrepreneurship, what kind of person you are, how strong you believe in what you just presented to the investors, and more.
Also, do an extensive research on whatever you can. Be it learning anything you can about the exact investors you’ll be meeting and their deals in the past, talking to people who know them, or who’ve been supported financially by venture capitalists before and had seen success with that.
4. Explain/sell how the investors will get their money back.
Even if you don’t want to go that big from day one, aren’t sure about the 5 or so year vision of the company and market, and are more about solving a customer’s problem than seeing the big money coming in fast, you need to think through that aspect of the deal too and share it with the sharks.
Why? Because in the end of the day, they are there, looking for promising individuals like you who have something to offer to the world, but who can also help them grow their net worth.
The investors in Shark Tank are millionaires and billionaires from all fields, such as Daymond John (founder of FUBU), Kevin O’Leary, Steve Tisch (Chairman/Executive Vice President of the New York Giants), Nick Woodman (creator of the GoPro camera), and – of course – Mark Cuban (owner of the NBA‘s Dallas Mavericks, co-owner of 2929 Entertainment and chairman of the AXS TV).
Most of these started from the bottom, and got to where they are today with hard work, sacrifices, focused mind, and a vision. They’re pretty good at seeing what’s promising, and which startups have no chance of success in the long-run. That’s why they have the final say in this.
So if you wanna make it with their help, you need to show them what’s in it for them too. Make sure you include that in your pitch in the most effective way possible.
What else have you learned from Shark Tank?