Three tips I learned about raising money from Shark Tank.

Are you watching Shark Tank?

I love it. You’ve got those big billionaires hearing pitches from up and coming entrepreneurs. Big money and bigger dreams are on the line.

It’s great television.

It’s also a great lesson in raising money.

As I was watching two sisters pitching pickles on a recent episode, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a few tips on how to raise money for shows. Because it doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to raise money for pickles or for a new musical about pickles, the strategy is the same.

Here are three tips I learned about raising money for shows from Shark Tank:

1. BE PASSIONATE BUT NOT EMOTIONAL

Your potential investors have to know you love your show, and they have to know you believe in your show. But, there’s a fine line between being passionate and being overly emotional. Be careful not to gush too much. Remember, this is a business, and businesses require you to make decisions without being influenced by emotion. Investors want to know you can check your emotion at the door when needed.

2. DON’T PREP TOO MUCH

There’s nothing worse than hearing an investor pitch from an obviously over prepared script. When a pitch has a “here’s my joke” and “here’s where I close” kind of feel, it makes the investor feel uncomfortable. And that leads to a “no.” You don’t want your pitch to be too rigid. Have a conversation with your potential investor, rather than speaking at him with a script. Just talk to him, like you were talking with a friend. You don’t memorize scripts for those conversations, do you? (Take an improv class to brush up on these skills.)

3. THERE’S MORE TO AN INVESTMENT THAN MONEY

Some of the best moments of Shark Tank have been when investors take lesser deals from Sharks that have more experience in their business. The entrepreneurs value the experience of the Shark and choose that, rather than just choosing the Shark that offers the most money. Sometimes it might be worth asking for less from an investor, or even nothing at all, to get their experience, the relationships, and their consultation on how to take your show to the next level.

Hope those help.  I’d write more, but I gotta go back to the show now. There’s a dude trying to raise money for a set of socks sold in threes.

If you need want more tips on how to raise money for your show, pick up my raising money course, Raise It!, here.  It’s guaranteed to get you what you need.

 

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.

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