My name is Joe Shmo and I would like $100,000 for a 10% stake in my company.
Every Friday night, about 7 million Americans seem to hear that phrase, or some almost-identical derivative of it, in the prime-time feeding frenzy, Shark Tank.
Rolling into its fifth season, the eminent television series attracts promising startups to pitch their business venture to a 5-person panel of highly successful entrepreneurs (potential investors) to be ruthlessly chewed up by the panelists’ multitude of interrogative questions.
As of December of last year, at the closing of its latest season, the show’s panel members had invested “$12.4 million in the business opportunities.” During that same 2012 season, more than 36,000 people applied to become contestants on the show.
The 5th season’s panel will include highly successful venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary, billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, co-founder of the Paul Mitchell and The Patron Spirits Company John Paul Dejoria, and other business magnates sitting in as the Sharks. You never know whether the pitch will go totally right or deliciously wrong. After four drama-filled seasons, we have gathered two unique and effective rules to present by when it comes to surviving the Shark Tank.
Focus on the facts and figures
This is the single most important rule to follow when pitching your professional PowerPoint presentation. Your investor will primarily focus on what costs and sales you had, have, and think you’ll have– which mean you should too. Whether you’re pitching to investors or presenting to grow your business, it’s vital that you understand your business’s cash flow. Passion and motivation are great for business, but they only get you so far, as we’ve learned from many of the Sharks; numbers tell the real story.
What’s your story?
This is the essential question you need to have answered before beginning your presentation. Aside from the numbers, the one thing sharks focus on most is you and what better ways to show who you are than through your story. Your story is basically the long, twisted, and rocky road you took to get to where you are now. Speaking frankly, people eat these emotional stories up. What human can’t relate to hardship? We are all programmed to empathize to emotions, both good and bad ones. As long as you don’t overdo it, you can utilize the story to reel your sharks in.
Along with your story comes the “sub-rule” to be personable. While all of the above will get you closer to your dream of running a successful business, it also helps to have a winning personality. No one wants to do business with someone who is unlikable, except maybe Mr. Wonderful. As Shark Barbara Corcoran said in a recent tweet, “All the entrepreneurs I’ve invested in have amazing personalities—no regrets.”
Be clear, precise, and confident
This is the last rule we have to share. Much like your sharks will focus on numbers and personality, effective communication is the third and last key component to survival. You need to speak simply, and confidently. This will show your sharks you mean business and that you understand your business. Don’t come across cocky. Once you rub the sharks the wrong way, tension will take over, which would screw up any prospect of dealing with one another. Think before you speak, and don’t act impetuously. Once your shark comments and asks a question, take a breath, and then respond. Acting out too quickly may draw blood. This is true for any investor presentation or professional PowerPoint.
If you’re going to swim with the sharks be prepared. Use these rules for your next professional PowerPoint design!
READ MORE: 7 Entrepreneurial Lessons from “Shark Tank” – Fast Company