Shark Tank – Perfect your pitch 14

A new television show debuted this past weekend, a show based on a popular UK show, Dragons’ Den.

The US show is called “Shark Tank“.  The “tank” is a panel of highly successful business people with investment money to spend. Each week 4 to 5 entrepreneurs pitch their idea to the panel. There is a monetary amount each entrepreneur needs in exchange for a percentage of the business. They pitch the deal and the panelists are either in or out.

I didn’t watch the show on Sunday when it aired, but I did watch it on Hulu.com this morning in preparation of this post. Generally I am uncomfortable with watching these types of shows, but this one held my attention. Mainly because of the quality of the pitches.  All of the presenters, while obviously nervous, showed a lot of passion about their idea or business. The pitches ranged from uncomfortably personal to a little ridiculously arrogant, and they were all compelling to watch.

I couldn’t help but wonder how many hours of practice went into those pitches.

Working at Palo Alto Software for seven years – I’ve read my share of business plans and have watched more than a few pitches, and let me tell you, I have great respect for the people who get up in front of a bunch of skeptical, would-be investors to describe their business dream and how, through the power of their hard work and good planning, they will make money.   I’ve listened to some really amazing pitches for bad business plans, and some horrible pitches with fantastic business plans.

Watching the show I couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that how you pitch your business idea, and just as importantly, how you pitch yourself, is key to your success in obtaining investment money.

If you missed the show, like I did, the pilot show is embedded below, or you can search for the “Shark Tank” on hulu.com. The next episode is scheduled for 9:00 PM, Sunday, August 16, on ABC.

‘Chelle Parmele
Social Media Marketing Manager

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  • Nicole

    It seems that presenting yourself IS just as important. The two that got funded (the pie guy and the girl with Elle the Elephant) the panelists who put up there money said that they liked the people and they were passionate and seemed to have just gotten a good feeling about them, not just the product/business idea.

  • http://egoist.blogspot.com Martin Lindeskog

    I think it is a combination of the business idea / product or service and the entrepreneur pitching it.

    The Swedish version of Dragon’s Den started some time ago. I haven’t watched any episode yet, but I have heard good things about the show.

    ‘Chelle Parmele: I am also a bit uncomfortable watching this kind of “reality” show, but the format could work out well in this case. Do you have an idea why they have picked the title “shark tank” instead of “dragon’s den”?

    • http://blog.bplans.com Chelle Parmele

      Martin,

      I actually don’t know, I would imagine there’s a reason behind it but I haven’t come across it.

      You should watch the Swedish version and tell us how you like it. I wonder if the format is the same between all of the versions of the show.

  • Pingback: The Blog Week in Review — 8/6/09 | Business in General

  • http://egoist.blogspot.com Martin Lindeskog

    Chelle,

    I will watch some episodes and come back to you. Is Shark Tank once a week?

    • http://blog.bplans.com Chelle Parmele

      Yes, on Sunday’s. I know it is sometimes difficult for people outside the states to watch on hulu.com or on the actual ABC.com website, but hopefully you won’t have a problem.

  • Ernest Love

    I have a patented invention and would like to be on the show how can I do this.Thank you Ernest Love.

  • http://www.HardOpinion.com HardOpinion

    Watched the show and found it quite irritating.

    Many of the pitch presentations were bad, people really should work on their presentation skills before attempting an investor pitch. The ego’s of the “Sharks” seemed to get in the way a little too much for my taste.

    Overall, a poor replication of the British program “Dragons Den” which can be seen on BBC America.

    • http://blog.bplans.com Chelle Parmele

      I think the thing to remember about not only Shark Tank but Dragons Den, is that it is entertainment. And there is a lot of entertainment value in watching people make fools of themselves and fail.

      While I’m not a big fan of that type of entertainment myself, it is rather evident in these types of shows and in part what makes them successful.

      The lessons an entrepreneur can take away from shows of this type are very valuable, I think. While you can safely judge a presenter from the comfort of your home on how they presented their product – it can show you how important knowing your business is. If you had to stand up right now and give a one minute pitch on your business, would someone invest 250k in it at the end?

      As for the ego’s, well, I think the judges on both sides of the pond have their fair share. ;)

  • http://don'thaveone Dan Hammick

    ‘Dragons Den’ has been in canada for several years, with the bald guy Kevin and the full haired nice guy Robert on the far right of the panel, both sold their business’s for several billion, thus the huge egos. It is true that a great pitch is needed, but the (‘dragons”sharks’) in the shows I watched for 2 seasons in canada really focused on the person and whether they could actually run their business and whether the business had actual validity…ie: make $ for the pitcher and the investors with #’s to back it up. The thing that really peves me is that the “sharks” always wanted total control (51%+) and give the pitcher a job to make the ‘sharks richer’. They are called vulture capitalists for a reason.I also noticed on the ‘shark tank’ that mark burnett is producer(apprentice) and he recieves some % benefit on any deals done…check credits at the end of the show. Also many deals that were done on the show in canada actually didn’t complete once the lawyers and contracts were ready to sign. They had follow-up shows to extend the seasons shows in canada and to show how it all worked out.The names came from’slaying the dragons’ and I’m sure the ‘sharks’ name came because they will eat you whole. cbc.ca/dragonsden

    • http://blog.bplans.com Chelle Parmele

      Interesting, I hadn’t caught that bit about Mark having a % of the deals.

      Thanks!

  • http://www.kevinharringtoninfomercial.com Jeff Hopeck

    Hi, I’ve personally pitched products to Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank. He is an astounding businessman… and very dedicated to finding the next million dollar idea.

    One tip: Don’t, and I mean DON’T pitch your idea unless you Intellectual Property is completely wrapped up, buttoned up, and squared away. Pitch prematurely and you can flush your dreams down the drain.

    Best of luck, the infomercial world is AMAZING!

    • http://blog.bplans.com Chelle Parmele

      That’s really fascinating, Jeff. You say “pitched products” – has he gone in with you on any of them?

      And thanks for the great tip!

  • http://B.A.Bshow100.com Alex

    im 8 years old and maybe i will add a video soon so please check it out!!!