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Fundraising Insights from Shark Tank 6.17

Posted by Scott Barron on Feb 10, 2015 8:20:37 AM
Scott Barron

Fundraising Insights from the Shark TankLots of useful lessons can be learned for effective fundraising from the TV show, "Shark Tank." Season 16, Week 17 was no exception.

Himalayan Dog Chew: Know Your Limits

The three gentlemen from this company have already built a real, profitable business. They produced $5.6M last year, and projected $8M for the current year. These guys thoroughly knew their numbers and were prepared to respectfully defend their decisions. Some snarky sharks didn't cause them to lose faith in their plan even after the deal was changed because they wanted to briefly convene to evaluate the offer. Just like your school isn't "for sale" when asking for money, these guys stuck to their limits and decided not to accept an investment that would have been inconsistent with their strategy. It's also okay to walk away from a donor investor for the right reasons.

Lip Bar: Don't Be Premature

These ladies had their own style and weren't afraid to show it. The lipstick, however, couldn't cover up the blemishes of the business model. They had an idea but lacked sufficient revenue to prove it would make money. All the features couldn't hide the fact that they were trying to compete in a mature cosmetics market that requires significant marketing and brand development investment. When cultivating your relationship with a potential donor, avoid the temptation to pitch an investment proposal prematurely. Your enthusiasm for the project usually isn't going to mask the underlying financial fundamentals.

Beverage Boy: Know Other Investments

This goofy presentation and product ended up being funded. Why? Because it complimented another investment that the Shark had already made. If you know the other donations/organizations to which your potential donor is committed, you may be able to provide an aligned solution that dovetails nicely with decisions that have already been made. That makes it easier to get a "yes."


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