Ep. 066 – The Pros and Cons of ABC’s “Shark Tank” Reality TV Show

Shark TankWith the high-drama of a business pitch and razor-sharp commentary by celebrity-level investors, it’s no surprise that Shark Tank is a popular show among entrepreneurs. It’s good reality TV, but how does it stack up against the real-world process of pitching a business to investors?

As it turns out, host and business coach Tom Ryan has advised two companies that got pretty far into the Shark Tank selection process. In this episode, Tom shares his thoughts on this entertainingly vicious show with co-host Jason Pyles.

• Introduction, and thoughts on ABC’s reality TV show Shark Tank

• Joseph’s question: “What do you think of Shark Tank, and when (if ever) do you recommend a business go on the show?”

• Tom’s simple answer: It’s a good show for entertainment, and it’s a great way to get exposure for a business with a consumer-facing product. It’s not a great way to get financial capital.

• Tom’s Top 5 Best Things About Shark Tank

  1. It’s Good Reality TV: It’s a fun and engaging show.
  2. It’s Candid: It features every day entrepreneurs with real companies, and it doesn’t coddle them.
  3. It’s Unapologetically Capitalistic: It celebrates the natural selection side of business.
  4. It’s A Huge Amplifier: The show has millions of viewers, giving the companies who appear on it much greater exposure.
  5. It Demonstrates the Value of Knowledge and Relationship Capital: The most successful deals they make leverage more than just financial investment.

• Tom’s Top 5 Worst Things About Shark Tank

  1. It’s Reality TV: By design, the show has to feature bad businesses and bad founders to create drama.
  2. The Risk is Often Bigger Than the Reward: Someone is going to get torn apart on the show, and you can’t trust the producers to do anything other than create an entertaining show.
  3. This Isn’t Real Life: Only on TV do business deals get funded in a matter of minutes. The real due-diligence happens after the cameras stop rolling, and two-thirds of the deals that happen on the show never get closed.
  4. It’s a Huge Distraction: Raising capital takes a lot of time, and going through the many rounds of application and audition to get on TV show takes time away from genuinely productive things that you could be doing for your business.
  5. It’s a Very Narrow Profile: All of the companies that have done well from appearing on Shark Tank have fallen into the consumer products category. If you aren’t in that category, you probably won’t get their attention.

• Sign off, and ways to contact the show

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