Is Shark Tank a Smart Investment for Entrepreneurs?

The Emmy Award winning reality TV Show Shark Tank will be returning for its ninth season in the Fall of 2017. Shark Tank provides qualified entrepreneurs with an opportunity and a great platform to pitch their business ideas and concepts to the “Sharks in the Tank” seasoned industry executives who are positioned to make a solid investment in an entrepreneur with a profitable business.

After watching numerous episodes and seeing countless entrepreneurs walk away with profitable investments, through some keen observation and understanding we've learned some valuable business lessons with no MBA required. If you think you’re ready to jump in the Tank and make some bank you may want to consider the following:

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare then Prepare again!!!

Be prepared and know your stuff. Several entrepreneurs were offered great deals but they wanted to think about it, returned with a counter offer contrary to what they initially pitched and lost the deal. Hesitancy creates inconsistency which leads to a lack of credibility and loss of profitability. You can’t be indecisive when it comes to making a deal, know what you want, know what your worth, know how much it’s going to cost you, and know what you are unwilling to accept. You have to know your numbers. Finally, what’s your deal breaker? Before you even get into the tank you should have all of this information down packed, prepared and ready to go.

Work, Work, Work, Work, You Have to Put In Work

Your business idea or concept needs to be fully operational, that’s what makes it a business. Whether it’s successful or not now that’s a different story. More deals were made in the tank with businesses that were completely or partially operational. The business had clear ownership, if this is unclear as to whom the true owner of the business is the deal goes completely off the table. The Sharks all want to know with rapid quick fire and speed: what’s your business model, who owns the business, are there other investors involved in the company, who’s responsible for making the executive decisions, how many employees are there, what’s your identifying brand, idea, concept, product or products that are available, where is your product or service sold and how many, where are you located, do you have retail locations, how and where do you manufacture. Then it becomes more intense and technical by the second when we get to the real nuts and bolts. What are your sales, profits, losses, gains, margins, challenges, success? What is your Bottom Line? What is your ROI? This is all of your life’s work, time, money and investment summarized packaged and ready to go. You’re putting everything out there on the line.

It’s a Shark Tank., not a Think Tank.

Each Shark knows exactly what type of fresh meat they are looking to chow down on. They already know who they are looking to invest in, why and how much money they are willing to offer to make it happen. Investors want to hear that you have somehow figured out a simple descriptive solution or opportunity to combat a problem or a deficit, how much money you used to create it, what worked successfully, what’s missing, and how much equity are you are willing to give. Get ready to peel away all the layers of your business, getting to the very core of what you do. You might not always like what gets revealed in each layer.

Some people might believe that because they have a great idea that they can be a successful business person. Ideas and creativity are absolutely necessary but above that is how can you make a great idea profitable?

Who You are is Just as Important as What You Have. Personality is a huge factor in investment profitability. Some people see the show as an advertising strategy and a platform for brand exposure with millions of people watching, the spotlight is on high definition and someone is sure to purchase or invest in them. The sharks clearly like entrepreneurs that are transparent, honest, hardworking, dependable, smart, savvy, and credible. You sell the pitch so you are essentially selling yourself as a package deal. That’s what you call a true investment. So if you can handle it when all the teeth and claws come out of the sharks, Go For It! Get in there and Sell it.

Shark Tank’s Next Chapter and a Growing Global Economy

A great idea or concept not only affects the creator’s life but also has a greater impact on the global market on a whole. It would be great to see the show expands to more countries around the world where inventions and new business concepts could be useful in impacting people’s lives on a broader scale through technology, health, education, services and more. It’s exciting to hear that investor and philanthropist Richard Branson as well as former baseball player Alex Rodriguez will be featured as guest Sharks this fall, expanding more investment opportunities.

Equally as important as the for profit businesses is the non-profit market, oftentimes having to do a lot with very little resources. Creating a spinoff show like “Think Tank”, “Angel Tank” or “Pitch” for nonprofit organizations, faith based business, private clinics, charter or private schools, essentially any business with a cause or service would also have a greater impact on people’s lives, working with a purpose. Shark Tank entrepreneurs and company owners that have become successful, profitable business owners because of the show could give back and invest in a greater cause creating a domino effect. In addition to a more diverse panel of investors as well as contestants would be ideal in creating this shows concept. Seeing some strong business women and men of color (i.e. Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson, Robert Johnson, Tyler Perry) as well as other investors of Asian, Indian, or Hispanic decent would be incredibly inspiring, captivating a wider audience base while yet still makes for great TV viewing. It will be interesting to see what will come out of the Shark Tank next.

Find out how to connect with a Career Coach to help you explore and identify some new business ideas, concepts and opportunities to invest in. Join The Circle or email

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