The Successful 'Shark Tank' Pitch: Mark Cuban's 7 Tips
Mark Cuban offers seven tips that will help budding entrepreneurs.
Dec. 20, 2013— -- intro: For an entrepreneur looking to turn their small business into a successful company, the chance to pitch their product or service on ABC's "Shark Tank" could be a dream come true.
But getting on the show is just half of the battle. Once there, people hoping to launch their business must give a presentation and convince experienced investors and savvy moguls, known as the "sharks," to invest.
Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban is one of the sharks that business owners attempt to impress on "Shark Tank." He himself became wildly wealthy by turning his ideas into real and successful companies.
"'Shark Tank' has probably become the best one-hour selling platform in the world," Cuban told ABC News' "20/20." "You put something into sale, for sale on any traditional TV show, it's not going to sell anywhere near as much as 'Shark Tank' is, because people watch with their minds open, their hearts open, and their wallets open. People want to buy a product when it comes on."
With a successful pitch, an entrepreneur on the show can walk away with a shark for a business partner. Cuban said he's invested in 28 companies through "Shark Tank," and only one has failed.
The task of trying to sell a business to the tough crowd of investors on "Shark Tank" might be daunting, but luckily Cuban shared his advice with ABC's "20/20" for reeling in the sharks.
If you're one of the select few picked to give a presentation to the sharks, check out Cuban's tips below for giving a successful pitch on "Shark Tank."
quicklist: title: Prepare, Prepare, Preparetext: "You know, everybody's got the will to win," Cuban said. "It's only those with the will to prepare that do win."
Anyone can have a big idea, but only those that do that work hard can turn an idea into a company, according to Cuban. It's easy to use Google to make sure that no one else had the same idea as you, but go the extra mile and research companies that have gone out of businesses with a similar idea or product to yours.
"You've got to look at the industry for that product, find out as much as you can, look to see what it would-could take to create that product or service, and then you got to go for it," Cuban said.
Also, preparation includes knowing if there's a market for your product or service. According to Cuban, the easiest way to know if you have a real customer -- a real company -- is to sell something.
"If you have customers, there's a good chance that you have a company," Cuban said. "If you can't sell them, you have your answer."
quicklist: title: Don't Just Have an Idea, Have a Businesstext: Everyone has an idea, and there are plenty of them already out there, Cuban said.
"Everybody's got a new app for their phone. Ideas are a dime a dozen," he said. "But it's turning it into a real company and then taking that company and then actually making it a profitable, growing endeavor that can support an investor."
Before you decide to give a pitch on "Shark Tank" make sure that you have an actual business worthy of the sharks to invest in that will also be successful.
quicklist: title: Skip the Back Storytext: When he hears a pitch with a back story, Cuban said he is immediately turned off.
"I hate the back story ... because it's usually a way to hide the realities of the business," he said.
Instead of starting with a story about how your grandma inspired you to start your business, get right to the point, Cuban said. "The more you try to create stuff to kind of, you know, divert my attention, the worse it is."
quicklist: title: Show Commitment and Progresstext: It's difficult for businesses to get off the ground. If you get a chance to pitch your business on "Shark Tank," make sure you can show that your business has already gotten out of your kitchen or garage, according to Cuban.
The businesses that Cuban chose to invest in have all shown commitment and progress, such as KaZAM, a balance bike company.
"They were out selling to retailers," Cuban said. "They were out selling product. They had experienced the ups and the downs, successes and failures."
quicklist: title: Know Your Business Inside and Outtext: Convey how committed you are to your business by showing how well you know it.
"I want them to know the numbers," Cuban said. "I want it to be a product in a market that I think is differentiated and has an opportunity to grow."
Know every single thing you can about your product, your business and its market before your pitch to the sharks.
quicklist: title: Get Your Point Acrosstext: Remember that your pitch is the first time that Cuban and the other investors on "Shark Tank" have ever heard about your company, so take the opportunity to make sure the sharks learn about your business and sell it!
"We don't know anything about them," Cuban explained.
"You got to get your point across, and, you know, if you can walk into this situation and get your point across, you know, explain your business to me, explain why I can invest, and really sell me on yourself, then you've accomplished something right there and that's a great indication."
quicklist: title: Have a Killer Instincttext: A killer instinct doesn't have to mean having your fists out and being violent, Cuban said.
"It's just being smart," Cuban explained. "I mean having ... the intellectual ability to understand a circumstance or a situation and find a solution, having the willingness to deal with situations that are difficult."
According to Cuban, there's no company that goes on a straight line of absolute success in everything it tries, but it's important to show how well you can react to tough situations.
"And so there's going to be failures, there's going to be difficulties, and it's how you deal with those that really show what kind of an entrepreneur you are."
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