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Is Your Product Right for Shark Tank?

shark tank

Since ABC’s Shark Tank premiered on August 9th 2009, it has become incredibly popular. Nearly 8 million people tune in to the reality show each week to watch entrepreneurs pitch their product businesses to a panel of potential investors, otherwise known as the sharks. Shows with the same premise, like Canada’s Dragons’ Den, exist in dozens of other countries.

Shark Tank is highly entertaining and we at inventRight enjoy watching it. There are a number of similarities that exist between pitching the sharks and pitching a potential licensee, like the fact that both are highly risk-averse. To win a shark, an entrepreneur must reduce risk. The same goes for securing a licensing deal. The way we see it, there are benefits to appearing on the show regardless of whether you’re offered a deal. The publicity is substantial, to put it mildly!

If the following is true of your product, you may be a good fit for the show.

It is already being sold in the market.

It has a clear benefit.

It is easily demonstrated.

A large market for it exists.

It has a high profit margin.

You have established perceived ownership over it.

It fits into one of the shark’s area of expertise.

Does your product meet these requirements? If so, Shark Tank could be a great opportunity for you. The reality is that the producers of Shark Tank want to be able to report what a positive influence the shark has had on a business as soon as possible. In other words, they not only want to tell success stories—they want to tell success stories quickly. A product whose lifecycle has just begun doesn’t fit that format. To succeed on Shark Tank, you need to already be in business. And in truth, the sharks invest in people, not products. They are looking at you and wondering, can he lead? Does he have the right skillset?

The great benefit of Shark Tank is that each of the sharks has a vast network of resources and contacts. In our opinion, when it comes to growing a business, having access to those contacts is even more valuable than a financial investment. However, unlike a licensee, it’s not as if the shark is going to run your business for you. Manufacturing, marketing, and distribution—those are all still on you.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that Shark Tank is explicitly about entertainment. Unlike licensing, succeeding on Shark Tank is as much about selling your story and your personality as it is about your product—if not more. They are looking for people who jump off the screen, not the next great idea. The casting director has plainly said that he has passed on great ideas simply because they weren’t presented in an exciting enough way.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that Shark Tank is highly competitive. In 2013, 40,000 entrepreneurs applied to be on the show. Out of those, a mere 180 actually made it. A few walked away with investment deals.

It’s our opinion that entrepreneurs should try a lot of things. We think the best opportunities for inventors provide them with the best chances of success. Like any good businessman, do the math. Is appearing on Shark Tank a good bet for you?

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Comments 4

Guest - Jake M. on Tuesday, 26 December 2017 09:38

I would almost argue that your product is better off for Shark Tank if it isn't being sold in the market already. I also disagree that you need a "large" market for the product. Many of the products that enter the show are rather niche. I would say rather that you need a clear understanding of who your target market is, and how you are excellent at reaching that market, and then lastly that it is at least large enough to make the investment worth it to the sharks. Not all products that come on the show are like Scrub Daddy, which essentially targets every adult in America. Thanks for the post Stephen, I will subscribe and look forward to reading more from you.

I would almost argue that your product is better off for Shark Tank if it isn't being sold in the market already. I also disagree that you need a "large" market for the product. Many of the products that enter the show are rather niche. I would say rather that you need a clear understanding of who your target market is, and how you are excellent at reaching that market, and then lastly that it is at least large enough to make the investment worth it to the sharks. Not all products that come on the show are like Scrub Daddy, which essentially targets every adult in America. Thanks for the post Stephen, I will subscribe and look forward to reading more from you.
Andrew Krauss on Monday, 08 January 2018 13:29

Great points Jake. I've always felt that licensing is the best way to go. You get the ***Money***, ***Workforce(company working for you)*** and you tap into their ***Existing distribution*** (if they are in 20,000 stores you are in 20,000 stores) all in one place and at the same time by doing a licensing deal.

Andrew Krauss : inventRight Co-Founder: 650-793-1477

Great points Jake. I've always felt that licensing is the best way to go. You get the ***Money***, ***Workforce(company working for you)*** and you tap into their ***Existing distribution*** (if they are in 20,000 stores you are in 20,000 stores) all in one place and at the same time by doing a licensing deal. Andrew Krauss : inventRight Co-Founder: 650-793-1477
Mike Van Horst on Friday, 27 July 2018 16:09

I can see the Benefits both ways. And I will tell as I was one of the ones that went the whole way thru 2 years in a row, and guess what? I was dropped both times. Not enough proven sales, and not a good enough tear jerker back story! But What a great experience. I would recommend it for anyone wanting to hone their skills. With that being said, I did just land my first Licensing deal and it wasn't on "Shark Tank" I am looking forward to my product being one of the ones they regret getting away! Never stop believing. Keep Inventing!

I can see the Benefits both ways. And I will tell as I was one of the ones that went the whole way thru 2 years in a row, and guess what? I was dropped both times. Not enough proven sales, and not a good enough tear jerker back story! But What a great experience. I would recommend it for anyone wanting to hone their skills. With that being said, I did just land my first Licensing deal and it wasn't on "Shark Tank" I am looking forward to my product being one of the ones they regret getting away! Never stop believing. Keep Inventing!
Sharnie Sirotic on Monday, 30 July 2018 00:32

Yes, Mike! Just like ring.com... That is a beautiful example of a fantastic product passed over by Shark Tank and later sold to Amazon for $1b. I know Lori Greiner wants a consumable product (according to her book anyway) so I could possibly get her interested, but who knows. Watching Australian Shark Tank, I notice the same - the sharks want sales statistics or at least purchase orders. I don't think I'm ready yet, but would happily hop on a plane if I got a spot on the show!

Yes, Mike! Just like ring.com... That is a beautiful example of a fantastic product passed over by Shark Tank and later sold to Amazon for $1b. I know Lori Greiner wants a consumable product (according to her book anyway) so I could possibly get her interested, but who knows. Watching Australian Shark Tank, I notice the same - the sharks want sales statistics or at least purchase orders. I don't think I'm ready yet, but would happily hop on a plane if I got a spot on the show!
Guest
Thursday, 21 March 2019

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