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November 14, 2016

Bootstrapping a Startup ›   Developing a Product ›  

You Should be on Shark Tank

I’ve lost count of how many times have I heard that since I started promoting Budley!

It’s amazing how many people of all ages watch Shark Tank. While making a presentation last year at a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) conference, with an audience of mostly teen-age students and a handful of adults, I asked the question “How many of you watch Shark Tank?” At least 80% raised their hands!

I’ve watched plenty of episodes, too. I enjoy watching the entrepreneurs present their pitches and learn a lot about what matters to the investors. There are a number of things they are looking for and it’s fascinating to see what works (and what doesn’t).

I think most viewers don’t think about Shark Tank being a “reality TV show,” though, and that’s what it is. Talking with several entrepreneurs who made it onto the show deepened my understanding of what happens during the process of getting on the show and behind the scenes for those who eventually do get to pitch and have their segment aired.

Truth is, there’s a significant investment of time, energy and money for an entrepreneur to participate in Shark Tank and a high risk of never making it on air or getting a deal with the sharks.

A recent article in Forbes breaks down the outcomes for 74% of the people who were offered deals on seven seasons of the show. Of the 237 interviewed, 43% of the deals made with the sharks fell apart.

So, when I’m watching the show and project myself into the tank pitching to the sharks, it’s fun to imagine being someone who nails down a fantasy deal.

But my reality as a boot-strapping entrepreneur is that it makes more sense to figure out how to pitch directly to an investor/partner that is a great fit. These days when people say “you should be on Shark Tank” I just smile and nod.

I’m grateful for what I’ve learned from Shark Tank and other resources that have helped me understand what I have to do to position Budley for a successful pitch when the time is right and it’s the right investor is listening!