How to be a Shark Tank Entrepreneur
Startups like Shark Tank and Airbnb have become the darling of venture capitalists around the world.
In this week’s issue of Next Big, Entrepreneur contributor Mike Zavala shares some tips for making your dream a reality.
Start with the right people.
Entrepreneurship has become increasingly focused on the first 25 to 50 percent of the equation, so don’t be afraid to get into the first-tier companies.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll find that most entrepreneurs are willing to pitch.
If you’re in the middle of your first round, don’t worry about trying to pitch your first startup.
Start the conversation with the founders.
“Start the conversation,” Zavalas advises.
“Ask them what they want to do next and how they would like to be funded.”
Ask questions that you can answer.
“The best advice I can give is to ask the founders, ‘What are your plans for the next five years?'” he adds.
“If they have no idea, then maybe they don’t have a plan.”
And don’t overthink the process.
“Most entrepreneurs will not have a specific strategy or a specific timeline,” Zapalas says.
“This is the only way to learn from the process.”
If you don’t want to start the conversation, start it by telling the founders about your plan.
“Make it clear to them that you have an idea, you want to make money, and you want your company to thrive,” Zabala says.
Start by telling your story.
If the founders are receptive, it’s okay to tell them how you plan to go about building a startup.
“Once they have the opportunity to listen, they may not be able to tell you why you’re right,” Zablas says, adding that this is a good time to remind them that there are people like you out there.
If they don�t immediately embrace your idea, it could be a good sign that they’re not the right person for your startup.
Keep the conversation open.
“It’s OK to let them know that you�re interested in the project,” Zafala says, “but be sure to keep the conversation focused on how you want them to be the first to hear your pitch.”
The next step in the process is to write a detailed pitch and get feedback from the founders on how they feel about it.
“Be open and honest, but don�ts make it about you,” Zavealas adds.
Don’t go for the quick buck.
“A lot of entrepreneurs are looking for a quick buck,” Zava says.
The best way to avoid this is to keep in mind that if you don�re a seasoned entrepreneur, you may have an advantage.
“Even a novice will have more experience than you, so a lot of time will go into the process,” Zafa says.
Make it personal.
Zavaldas says it�s important to write about what you�ve accomplished, not how you�d like to become an entrepreneur.
“You can tell your story about how you made money, or your company�s story,” he adds, noting that you also have to explain why you want the money.
“And if you�m looking for the short answer, it�ll probably be a question about whether you�ll be able make it on your own, not a question of whether you are ready for the challenge.”
Start with a solid idea.
“Don�t just ask for money,” Zavedas says — and that�s a big mistake.
“Write down your business plan and why you are the right fit for the company.
Then you can outline how you intend to spend your money.”
Then, if you have the money, you can talk about how the money will be used.
“Your business plan is really important,” Zavenas says of his advice.
“But it�d be good to have a long, detailed, concrete plan, because that�ll give you more credibility and confidence in your idea.”
Be prepared to go for it.
Zava, Zavea, Zavalfo and Zavalya are all founders at the startup start-up incubator Innovative Labs.
The first batch of startups that they’ll incubate is a two-year pilot program that will allow them to gauge the market for their products, and they’ll help to launch them on the main stage.
“We�re excited to launch this program, which will allow us to test the waters of an early-stage business and to help us evaluate what kind of companies we can attract to this space,” the founders said in a statement.
“Our first round of accelerator partners will help us to identify the next-generation startups that can drive the next wave of innovation in the startup ecosystem.”
Zava is also a member of Innovational Labs, a venture capital firm that has invested in startups like Airbnb, Lyft and LyftX. Z