Have you watched “Shark Tank”? The ABC reality television show allows people to trot out their business ideas and inventions to a panel of big-time investors. These “sharks” have deep pockets and track records of success. It’s a great resource for aspiring entrepreneurs who may need to face a panel of investors to get their business up and running.
“Shark Tank” contestants who are successful tend to have a set of specific qualities: they were prepared, they were confident, they gave great visual presentations and they were thankful for the time they had in front of the potential investors. Follow these guidelines and you will be on your way to securing the funds you need to make your business thrive. Of course, you need a great product, too.
“Shark Tank” contestants can be divided into two categories: the prepared and the unprepared. Rarely do the former close deals. The prepared contestants tend to shine and even if they do not get an offer, they often leave with valuable tips from the sharks, people who understand how hard it can be to close a deal. Practice your presentation in front of the mirror. Practice your presentation in front of your partner. Practice your presentation in front of anyone you can find. Be prepared and your investors will take notice.
There is a thin line between confidence and cockiness. And, it is a line you do not want to cross while you are trying to woo investors. Nearly every episode of the show includes one person who crosses that line with disastrous results. They are argumentative, entitled and unpleasant. These people act like they are doing the investors a favor. Do not be that person.
Although you are not negotiating from a position of power when you are asking for money, you should still act confident. You can show confidence with firm handshakes, your posture and eye contact. Do not fidget. Slow down and regain your composure if you start to get nervous. Impress investors by showing them you have the maturity and business acumen to handle their investments properly.
If you learn nothing else from watching “Shark Tank,” learn this: Great presentations matter. Don’t have your potential investors wallow in paperwork or bore them with a poorly produced PowerPoint presentation. Get visual. If you are serious about getting investors, and you should be, then invest a little money into your presentation. Hire a professional team to produce a video that will get and keep your potential investors’ attention. Even if they pass on your business idea, you will be remembered. And, you never know when that will come in handy.
Getting that meeting, the meeting where you are going to pitch investors with your great business idea, is difficult. People who have money to invest are typically busy people. It is always a good idea to thank potential investors for their time at the start of any meeting. They, after all, could be doing something else. Plus, you need their money; they don’t need you. After the meeting, send a follow-up thank you note and a gift. Gift baskets tend to be well received.