How To Survive Shark Tank

If there is one thing people know about me, it’s that I love the ABC hit show, Shark Tank. If you didn’t know this about me, you do now. For someone who’s not very business savvy, or even interested in a career in that direction, I am so invested in the Sharks, the pitches, and the "American Dream." I was going to do a product review for a couple businesses, but honestly, I would much rather share my notes.

As an avid viewer, I wouldn’t say I’m an entrepreneurial expert, but I would go as far as to say that I have an inkling of what makes a good shark tank pitch. And, my dear pionettes, as week 6 is upon us, let’s just take a hot second to relax from the stress and decompress as I share with you what I have learned.

I like to think that these rules may be applicable to almost any important meeting as well. 

1. Know your numbers.

As any shark will tell you, your perseverance and chutzpah is important, but "the numbers matter." If you don’t know your numbers or just can’t answer the questions elegantly, you’re not likely to get a deal. Yes, there are exceptions, but keep in mind, you’re under fire– bright lights, successful potential investors, nerves, and in certain cases, your livelihood is riding on your back. That’s pressure.

2. Keep it cool. It’s not always the best idea to make a counter offer.

This ties in with #1, because if you can’t convey your thoughts well well, or if you get flustered and defensive (oh for the love of crepes, please don’t get defensive), then, the sharks will bite. There are offers where you make a counteroffer, and there are offers that you accept right away. If Robert tells you he’s not going to wait for you to listen to the other sharks before you take the deal, you should take his threat seriously. I didn’t think he would take away his offer so quickly, but he sure did. The sharks won’t hesitate, they have nothing to lose, so weigh each offer wisely.

3. Account for the value of the sharks!

In any type of negotiation, it’s vital that you know the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents. When it comes to the tank, you have to consider that the sharks add an exponential amount of experience and value because of their influence in not only the business community, but the public eye as well. You don’t want to risk disrespecting them by treating them as any ordinary investors. Be respectful and tactful with your presentation and debate.

4. Avoid becoming sharkbait.

Sharkbait is what I call the entrepreneurs that the sharks "tear apart" like a shark does actual sharkbait. They’re the ones that come in with, oftentimes, a flashy pitch, but then, their numbers fall apart, or they lose their chill and disrespect the sharks, or they seem to not quite know what they’re talking about. The sharks smell incompetence.

So do your haters. This applies perfectly to real life. Don’t play yourself.