Shark Tank–the prime-time feeding frenzy where successful entrepreneurs fight over promising startups, and ruthlessly chew up the unprepared–is stirring up much buzz in its third season. To date, the Sharks have invested more than $6.2 million of their own money in a number of companies. With billionaire Mark Cuban, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful), and other business magnates sitting in as the Sharks, the show offers a glimpse of pitching sessions gone totally right–or deliciously wrong.
An example: When three ice cream makers first lined up in front of the Sharks to pitch their product, they generated some friendly conversation. After all, the concept of morphing together beer and America’s favorite frozen treat is bound to appeal to our inner glutton. However, when the investors started asking the entrepreneurs tough questions about their finances, the men from The Brewer’s Cow had a minor meltdown. Whether the Connecticut-based founders were the victims of calculated editing or simply unprepared, their presentation lacked a certain professionalism. The final verdict? A flurry of “I’m outs” from the Sharks.
Yes, the episodes are entertaining. But more than that, they provide a wealth of knowledge about what venture capitalists want to hear before they invest in your company–and what will turn them off. Here’s are 7 lessons from the Sharks about learning what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur.
1. Know your numbers.