Now that game shows and reality TV competitions have taken over the airwaves one show is head and shoulders above the rest. Shark Tank is the show for thinking people, and it's serious business.
The premise of the show is for inventors and small business people to present there ideas to five major business players (the "sharks") in hopes of gaining funding. The real drama comes when a good idea is presented to the sharks and they argue amongst themselves as to who will make the best offer or if they will choose to collaborate with each other. The money involved is limited to only the amount the sharks are willing to offer.
No Game Show Tactics
Shark Tank is not a game show. There are no consolation prizes. Either the sharks like your company and make an offer, or they don't. Even if the sharks make an offer the business owner then has to decide if they are willing to accept the terms of the offer. While it sounds like a banking show, there is drama in the way Shark Tank presents the businesses and how greed plays into it.
This is one reality TV show that did not base casting on the amount of drama they can squeeze out of craziness. Each investor specializes in a particular area of business. The original cast of "Shark Tank" are:
Barbara Corcoran - real estate
Daymond John - fashion/merchandising (founder of the FUBU brand)
Kevin O'Leary - educational software and patents
Kevin Harrington - infomercials
Robert Herjavec - technology
Added in Shark Tank season two:
Jeff Foxworthy - comedy, greeting cards and food (not your average redneck)
Mark Cuban - media and sports
Do Your Homework
There is a reason the potential investors are called sharks, if you don't do your homework they will eat you alive. As a viewer the math is not important, the monetary figures alone will blow your mind. As a potential recipient of an investment offer from the sharks, you'd better know the value of your company now and in the future. The main pitfall has been over valuing an idea or company, being unprepared or just plain being greedy. The sharks don't play. Each business person must also be able to present their ideas in a coherent and professional manner.
Even if the business idea is turned down by the sharks, they will explain exactly why they are not willing to invest. Sometimes it's a harsh reality check. Sometimes the business doesn't need the funding at all, or needs far more than the sharks are willing to invest.
Don't let the math scare you away as a viewer. We don't have to know the numbers, but it's likely you will learn something from each segment of the show. "Shark Tank" is an educational show with plenty of drama and high stakes business. This is not another mindless reality TV show. Watch Shark Tank on ABC on Friday nights at 8/7c to get the weekend off to an exciting start.