If you have a great business but you need the funds to expand it and take it to the next level, "Shark Tank" could be the TV show for you. In each episode, entrepreneurs are given the chance to pitch their breakthrough businesses in the hopes of landing investment deals. Applying is easy, and you will get on the show if your pitch makes excellent television.
How to Get on "Shark Tank"
There are two options for applying to be on "Shark Tank": Send an email or attend an open call. Sending an email is as simple as it sounds – just include your name, age, photo, contact information and a description of your product or business. "Shark Tank" does not accept responsibility for misdelivered emails, so don't include confidential information at this stage. To apply in person, check the audition schedule and download the "Shark Tank" application packet from the show's website. Take it along to an open casting call where you will be given the opportunity to do a one-minute pitch just like you would on the show. It's a bit like speed dating, so come prepared to impress. Be aware that you can't apply with just an idea – you need to have a business in place already.
Rules of "Shark Tank"
Initial terms and conditions are set out in the application packet. Certain people are barred from applying – this category includes convicted felons, those facing criminal charges and those who work for certain companies associated with the series. People under the age of 18 need parental consent. If your initial application is successful, you'll be asked to sign a full application packet, outlining the terms of your appearance on the show. This packet is not made public, so be sure to check it over before you agree to any conditions and warranties. Get legal advice, if necessary.
How the Show Is Shot
"Shark Tank" is shot in a bespoke studio at Sony Pictures in Culver City, California, but that can change from season to season. Shooting is typically done in three-day spurts, and the entire season wraps in around 17 days. Be aware that at least 20 percent of the pitches don't get on the air, so there's no guarantee that your pitch will make it onto television. The producers decide if there's enough drama in your pitch to warrant airtime. Even if you receive an offer of investment, the deal may still fall through. The Sharks do their own due diligence behind the scenes and have the right to back out if your pitch doesn't stack up.
Benefits for Your Business
Certainly, a potential investment from a renowned Shark – currently billionaire Mark Cuban, real estate entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran, technology innovator Robert Herjavec, "Queen of QVC" Lori Greiner, fashion guru Daymond John and venture capitalist Kevin O'Leary – is a major benefit. Beyond providing your business with capital and contacts, a Shark can increase your structure and focus, helping you to think more strategically to outshine your competitors. A Shark can also provide additional financing if needed at a critical juncture down the line. Appearing on "Shark Tank" gives you the opportunity to introduce your business to seven million viewers, which can boost sales even if none of the Sharks decide to make a deal.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “Big Law” firms before launching a career as a business writer. Her articles have appeared on numerous business sites including Typefinder, Women in Business, Startwire and Indeed.com.