Learnings from Shark Tank
Observing the pitches, their outcome, and subsequent progress of those who receive funding on Shark Tank reiterates some fundamentals of entrepreneurship.
I’ve been an avid follower of Shark Tank. Apart from its entertainment value, I’ve found Shark Tank to be instructive about some fundamentals of entrepreneurship, and of pitching to investors. The deal making and deal structuring also provides us a range of possibilities beyond just equity based venture capital funding for startups.
The Indian version of Shark Tank has democratised entrepreneurship and made a large portion of our population familiar with the concepts of startups and the investment process.
Here are some things I observed from Shark Tank (largely from the US version, but also from the India show):
Gimmicks and showmanship doesn’t impress investors: Passion, commitment and conviction does. And a deep understanding of the domain, which comes as a result of the passion.
Setting the context right is super important in helping investors appreciate that what you are doing has a strong market potential. Clarity of communicating what you do gets investor attention.
Having clarity on who you will target as customers (even if your product is relevant for everyone), how you will reach them, what your sales pitch to them will be, how you will deliver the product/service and how you will provide after-sales support are as important, if not more important, than a good product or service
Know your numbers: Entrepreneurs with a good understanding of market dynamics, and what their fully loaded costs will be and how the numbers stack up have a much better chance of getting investor attention…. and better valuation.
Telling your story well helps. Not everyone is a good presenter or story teller. And if you are not, it is good to practice a lot before presenting to an audience. Practice helps develop muscle memory, which helps you present much better than what you would otherwise have done.
Resourcefulness is about leveraging all your current resources to overcome current constraints. Get things done.
Apart from other learnings outlined above, one observation that stands out is that good sales numbers shuts everyone up. Else, everyone has an opinion on how you should go about your business.
To download a free PDF of my book on Starting Up and Fundraising, click here.
By Prajakt Raut — Managing Partner Supply Chain Labs — A sector-agnostic fellowship fund investing in startups disrupting supply chain, and Founder applyifi.