The basic idea is that budding entrepreneurs who have a unique idea for a business venture can pitch it to an elite audience of successful businesspeople on national television, such as Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban.
One of these “judges”, also known as “Sharks”, will offer to invest in the idea to help the fledgling company get off the ground. It takes only a few minutes, but it can change your life.
Potential funding of hundreds of thousands of dollars is at stake. About half of those who appear on the show are funded. It’s worth it to try and get on the show.
Shark Tank alumni have created successful companies. You can bet that their success was due to the national attention and financial investment by their celebrity judge.
Standing out from the crowd
There are many people trying to find out how to get onto Shark Tank. You need to make sure that you get noticed, especially in the initial stages. This is a reality television show, not a business show. They want entrepreneurs to be unique and entertaining, while still having a viable business idea.
Open casting calls are the best place to make a statement. This is where you can stand in line for hours in order to get a few minutes with a casting team. They have seen many people in that day. It’s your job to “wake them up” so they pay attention. As long as your business allows it, don’t be afraid of being outrageous. You will be invited to the next round if they like you.
Tell Your Story
Producers are casting for a show that will entertain the audience. If it doesn’t, it won’t stay on air. People love stories. Your business idea should be a good one. You should also have a compelling personal story about how you got to where you are now.
Take Julie Busha, Shark Tank Season 5 alumni, who created “Slawsa,” which is a mix of salsa and slaw that can be found in grocery stores across the country and online at www.slawsa.
“I focused on some personal matters in my life that led to me wanting to be an investor. In essence: 1. 1. Being the first in my family to graduate college (earned on scholarship), 2. having no debt because I have sacrificed my life and lived below my means for the past decade. After having to accept an unexpected offer from my partner to purchase me out, I had to make the necessary sacrifices to help the company get off the ground. Casting agents are just as interested in your story as they are in your BUSINESS story. This is important for applicants.
Do you see how this story makes for great TV? There are certain struggles you have overcome. Use that to your advantage.
Be professional and enthusiastic
Producers will discard entrepreneurs who aren’t ready to take on the task of reviewing thousands upon thousands of submissions. Your submission materials must be complete. They should also include information about your company. You should be able to present your idea clearly and concisely in all formats, including late-night video auditions and open casting calls. Make sure everyone understands the benefits of your product or service.
Submission videos don’t need to be made in Hollywood. However, make sure to have a background. Good home office. Bad idea: Laundry room with dirty socks behind it. You should also be able to communicate clearly and passionately through your video. This is what goes for the open casting call, which is the first step of the casting process for Shark Tank. Don’t forget to dress up!
Do you have a track record?
We are sorry to disappoint you. The majority of Shark Tank panel investors aren’t willing to invest in untested ideas. It is important to have a proven business that has had success with sales, or other evidence that people are interested. You should also be in a lucrative market. Bring that proof with you to your casting call…or show it off in your later casting video.
Geoff Woo is the CEO of Nootrobox. Nootrobox is a startup nootropics company based in San Francisco.
Before you can even get in touch with producers, it is important to have a strong audience and community. Shark Tank is looking for companies and products that are likely to resonate with America. If you have evidence points, this will be a big advantage.