How To Win A Business Pitch
Today, we are going for a swim with sharks. No, not literal sharks, just the cast of the TV series called...wait for it - SHARK TANK!
Shark Tank is an American reality TV series that features aspiring entrepreneurs who present their business ideas to potential investors which includes a stellar cast - Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, and Lori Greiner. Entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to business tycoons with the goal of persuading them to invest in their budding business or product. Negotiation between the entrepreneurs and investors are intense and sometimes painful to watch for contestants who are ill prepared and unable to answer the investors questions. While we may not all be aspiring business owners, here are a few lessons we can all apply to our professional and personal lives.
Who are you and what are you passionate about? How far are you willing to go to achieve your goals. What are your values and what do you stand for? What are your boundaries? What are your strengths, weaknesses and limitations? These questions speak to the essence of your character. We've seen a lot of entrepreneurs go before the shark and display undesirable character traits all in a bid to get a deal. Knowing yourself helps you know when to rein things back in, when to dig in or give in, and when to walk away.
The entrepreneurs who do well on the show are those who know their product or business inside out. They are the ones who can tell you what they do in sleep mode. Same goes for career oriented people. What are your skills? What do you bring to the table that others don't? Being prepared means that you are always ready to hit the floor running whenever the opportunity presents itself. You stay prepared by continually developing your self/ideas, doing research/keeping up with trends, investing in your craft, and being consistent in your habits.
Let your reputation precede you in a good way
. . .
In the business world, the question that usually determines if an investor/client will invest is tied to sales/output - what are the numbers/track record? In a job interviewing process, potential employees want to see what you've accomplished in previous positions. The bottom line is don't just take up space, show up and do good work that will speak for itself.
Know the difference between where you are and where you can be in the future.
. . .
Know Your Worth
This is tied to valuation. One area that the "sharks" often disagree with entrepreneurs is the valuation of their companies. If the entrepreneurs have a high valuation of their product and can't demonstrate their worth, the investors tend to walk away. On the other hand, if you undersell yourself, people might/will take advantage. Knowing your worth gives you confidence to demand more from yourself and from others, and also avoid settling for less. Do not sell your self short.
Humility is a character trait that will not only endear people to you, but will also open doors. On a few episodes of Shark Tank, some entrepreneurs were unable to close the deal because the investors were repulsed by their attitude, and felt it would be a pain to work with them. Great ideas might make you money, but pride can limit your earning potential, and be the difference between you earning billions versus millions. Wise men know that humility is priceless. Be awesome, but stay humble.
Well folks, those are my five take ways from Shark Tank. If you are a fan of the show, feel free to share some of the lessons you've learned by watching various episodes.
By the way, it's 2016; be generous and share this post everywhere!