Let’s face it – you can have the best business idea in the world, but investors won’t come and chase you on their own. You need to get exposure and tell your story. For that, you need to know how to get on Shark Tank.

What is a better way of landing investment funds than participation in the Shark Tank show? There is an open casting call almost all the time, so you may consider this idea. Being on Shark Tank means that over 5 million viewers will learn about your opportunity. You will get exposure, even if you don’t get funding. Of course, not all breakthrough business concepts make it thanks to the show, but Shark Tank can be your turning point.

Look at Xero Shoes, for example. They turned down the Shark Tank offer, as they weren’t ready to give up 50% ownership share. So it seems that they made the right decision, as they are now earning $2.5 million in sales per year.

Odds are, you do well on the Shark Tank casting, and present enthusiastically, but don’t get an offer. Yet, millions of potential customers will know about you. No wonder Shark Tank gets 45,000 applicants for each season. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get an offer. Every American who likes to watch Shark Tank will be aware of your existence, and that’s a good start!

Before you go on the Shark tank website and fill in an application, check the following:

  • Are you 18 or older?
  • Are you a citizen or a legal resident of the USA?
  • Are you affiliated in any way with the Shark Tank show or the ABC production?
  • Are you running for public office?
  • Do you have felony convictions?
  • Would you accept a background check before doing the Shark Tank audition?
  • Did any of your immediate family members participate in the show?
  • Are you fully vaccinated?

Of course, there are even more eligibility criteria down the candidate pipeline. Shark Tank participants report also doing lots of paperwork, and even being confused at times. If it is necessary, hire a lawyer to understand the obligations, and protect your invention.

The Shark Tank Casting – How to get on Shark Tank?

Essentially, there are two ways to get invited to the Shark Tank audition:

  1. An Open Call – Note, however, that the Season 15 Shark Tank casting doesn’t offer this possibility. The reasons are COVID-19 restrictions.
  2. An online application on the Shark Tank website

Get ready

How to get on Shark Tank? Once the application is in, it is time to do some prep work. Be patient and use time wisely. It may take months for the casting team to review it and reach out to you.

While you are waiting, start preparing for the phone calls and interviews. Even if the call never comes, you’d have invested time wisely to improve your business.

Keep in mind that the casting team wants to hear numbers. You need to know this inside and out and be ready for any forecast question. Shark Tank investors want to know everything about an idea, including the impact you expect to have on the market. There will be lots of conversations about numbers and data, so be confident. You need to prove that you understand what you’re getting yourself into.

Register at the patent office to protect your invention

Another thing that is very appreciated on the Shark Tank show is caution.

You need to apply for a patent in advance, and this will cost you about $200 to $500 depending on the product. The patent office will want to know the purpose and function of your product.

The phone interview

If things take a good turn and you do get invited to the next stage, prepare for a phone interview. You’ll get a confirmation letter where you are nominated as a finalist.

The first person of contact is the casting team producer. He will ask all sorts of questions about your business, such as your motivation, your background, plans, or experiences. At this stage, figures and charts are not yet that important.

In reality, the call with the producer lasts no longer than a couple of minutes. And yet, the pitch you pack inside them is the most important step you will do. The producer decides whether you can meet the Shark Tank judges. The better you present the idea to him, the better your chances.

Don’t only focus on the story, but also on how you present it. Excessive body language and facial expressions until you find them perfect. At that point, 50% of the job will be done.

Getting accepted

Congratulations! You are now officially selected to participate in the Shark Tank show!

Learning how to get on Shark Tank was not easy, but now you have the chance to pitch a product in front of millions of US viewers.

The finalist stage takes a while, so give it a few months. Time will go by sooner than you thought, and you should use it to prepare yourself for the biggest opportunity of your life. For instance, you may be ignoring the impact of camera and production lights, or the fact that you are about to face some of the richest Americans. This may be overwhelming if you have no experience, so give it some thought.

Remember, by the time the show airs, the Shark Tank investors will know everything about your business. Odds are, in the back of their head, they’ve already made a decision. Thus, they may ask very specific questions or expect that you pitch your idea very inventively.

Here are some common questions of the investors:

  • Where is your company now, compared to its competitors?
  • What motivated you to start this business?
  • How long have you been in business? Do you have other similar experiences?
  • Did you already try to raise money from other sources?
  • What is the ideal outcome of this show?
  • Please discuss your unique selling proposition
  • Are you associated with any organizations?
  • Have you won any awards for your invention?

And the list goes on and on.

Rehearse your start-off pitch

Good preparation is half of the job! The key is 1-2 minutes, so stay focused on the most important details. Shark Tank investors don’t have the time for matters that are not crucial and may lose interest soon. That’s the last thing you want, so stay focused on the details, and be ready for their questions.

You are not only selling a product, but you are selling yourself! It is all about how you negotiate your deal. Build expectations (both the bottom line and the ceiling number), and wrap up a figure to discuss on screen. Shark Tank investors may question that figure, so be ready to justify it.

Learn who the Sharks are

Don’t simply ask the Sharks to help you, but make an effort and tell a story. Present your unique approach, and focus on what is important to you. Why should the Sharks choose your product? What is it in there for them? If you know who they are and what they do, this will make it easier for you to get the finances you need into the picture.

Show that you are devoted and organized

More than anything else, this means that you need a patent and proper paperwork. The Shark Tank team will also appreciate it if you do marketing research and a pros-cons analysis, as well as at least one prototype to test. True, Sony pictures television is about fun, but you are presenting in front of investors. All they need to know is whether the idea is profitable or now.

Play fair

Of course, you can and you will make mistakes. What matters is not to try and fool the Sharks. The board is extremely experienced and intelligent, and won’t be impressed by complicated numbers and big words. Stay aware of the big picture, as your audience is millions of Americans who may or may not buy your product.

In essence, keep things simple. Be convincing, and don’t settle for the fits ‘No’ you get.

Have realistic expectations

Most participants who failed at Shark Tank failed because they had huge expectations. If you’re just starting, you can expect the investors to give you $1 million, that is more than clear.

Also, you should be ready to offer a fair ownership portion of the money you receive. It is not just the show, it is what happens afterward that matters the most!

Don’t get discouraged

If you watch past episodes, you will come to an important conclusion: Even if you don’t get funding, you will be exposed to millions of potential buyers. That’s how Shark Tank works – it promotes and pushes your business forward. Just make sure you do everything right from day one.

If things don’t work your way and you end up investing your own hard-earned cash, it is not the worst thing in the world. You should learn the lessons and keep trying.

What helps is to go through your participation and figure out the weak points. If you can explain why you didn’t get any Shark investment, your second attempt will be much better. Stay alert for the next open casting calls!

Conclusion on how to get on Shark Tank

Shark Tank producers do an excellent job helping ambitious entrepreneurs around the country. It can help you promote your business and get the funding you need.

At the same time, success rates on the Shark Tank show are much higher than failure rates. Only 6% of participants throughout seasons 5 to 9 left without a deal. At the same time, only 20% of all participants on the show reported not making huge profits afterward. The live casting call for the next season looks even more promising.

Overall, the success rate of Shark Tank is 94%. This is a good enough reason for you to try your luck.

If you liked this article that answers the question “How to get on Shark Tank?” you should check out this one with Shark Tank failures as well.

Author

I'm the manager behind the Upcut Studio team. I've been involved in content marketing for quite a few years helping startups grow.