Do You Feel Lucky?
Getting Your Company Cast on Shark Tank
I often receive requests from entrepreneurs who want advice on pitching their business on the show Shark Tank. While this can be a fantastic opportunity, it can also lead to a false sense of hope if not done right. Pitching your business this way is not your typical investors’ meeting. Before you get in front of the millionaire investors, you have to impress casting. So selling yourself and your story is equally as important as selling your business.
Once on the show, the outcome can be life altering. Aaron Krause, the founder of Scrub Daddy, went into the tank with $100,000 in total sales. Since making a deal on the show, sales increased to over $50 million. Or Squatty Potty who went on the show in 2014 and 24 hours after the deal aired, saw $1 million in sales and last year's sales were expected to top $30 million.
Several deals have also fallen through after their episodes aired for reasons ranging from differences of opinion between the owner and the Shark, to deals that don't live up to the original contingencies set by the Shark during the show. What many fail to realize is what appears like a happy ending when the cameras are rolling still has to go through due diligence before any deal is finalized.
What I remind clients is just because some companies don't make a deal on the show doesn't mean they can't succeed. Back in 2013, Jamie Siminoff pitched his company, DoorBot (a caller ID for your door). He asked for $700,000 for 10% of his company which already had $1 million in sales. All of the Sharks bowed out except Kevin O'Leary who offered him a $700,000 loan, 10% of all sales until the loan was paid off, a 7% royalty on all future sales and 5% of the company's equity. Siminoff turned the deal down and left empty-handed. After the show aired, the company hit $5 million in sales and changed the name to Ring. The company is now valued at over a billion dollars.
My best advice is to make the most of your air time. Even if you don't get a deal, this can be a phenomenal opportunity for your company. Assume you won't get the deal, but prepare like you will. I am amazed how many people will go through the process, tape the show, have weeks and sometimes months until it airs and still not have their website and social media in order.
Know your company’s current and projected valuation as well as what your bottom line is. Have a clear cut plan of what you will do with the money you are seeking and have a plan for your business if you don’t make a deal. That will help you decide what your bottom line is.
Pitching your business on television can be your lucky break. Just remember that luck is a combination of preparation meeting opportunity.
Jody Taylor is a former women's professional football player who also served as the Women's Professional Football League's Media Relations Director for seven years working with 52 teams nationwide and some of the largest media outlets in the nation. After hanging up her cleats she officially launched her own Public Relations, Marketing, and Talent Management firm, Sixty5 Media named after the jersey number she wore her entire football career. Taylor works with clients that range from small businesses to celebrities, recording artist, and professional athletes. Additionally, she serves as the Assistant Editor of What's Up Hollywood, is the lead Correspondent for San Diego's Bolt Report and writes as a guest journalist for five other national publications.