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Advice on Pitching to Investors, From the Shark Tank

The Shark Tank investors including Mark Bouris and Naomi Simson share their top tips for turning your entrepreneurial dream into a commercial reality.

You don’t need to have a business degree or a corporate background in financial investment to have a crack at the entrepreneurial game. Australia’s start-ups are on the increase and anyone can get involved. Why? Not only to challenge the status quo but also breathe life into the current business markets. It all starts with an idea.

There is a plethora of means to bring your business idea to life. One of these is to dip your toe into the Shark Tank community. On Network Ten’s real-life business investment series, entrepreneurs pitched their ideas and businesses to ‘Sharks’ in the hope of securing investment. Pitching an idea to these industry heavyweights, for some, represented a priceless opportunity to start their business or take it to the next stratosphere.

In a world of free digital marketing tools and a technology boom that’s been fast-tracked during the pandemic, starting a new small business has never been more possible.

As entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor Naomi Simson said in a Salesforce blog on preparing for the new normal, “I think that we’ll see a massive wave of innovation, ideas and startup entrepreneurs. We need to look after the startup ecosystem. We will see a lot more innovation as we choose the road we want to take forward.”

Whether pitching to the Sharks or other potential investors, you need to know how to make your ideas count. Here’s a few handy hints straight from the mouths of Sharks.

Be brief

Ensure your responses are succinct and specific, but be sure not to omit crucial details.

Practicing your pitch in front of others can help you to strike the right balance. Ask whether you’re providing enough context, and try to gauge if you’re losing your audience part way through your pitch.

Be personal

It’s your idea, your product, your solution to a problem, your hard work and your journey.

People will connect with your story — the highs and the lows, your interests, passions and drives.

But being personal isn’t only about sharing your own story. It’s also about viewing your customers as individuals with their own values, interests and needs. Customers want to feel that you understand their values, wants and needs — and more importantly, that you’re able to meet them.

Australian businessman Mark Bouris says customers’ needs have become front and centre in the last few years.

It’s no longer a matter of spraying products and offerings and praying that customers jump on board. The cues are no longer coming from within institutions, but from the wants and needs of customers.

“An excellent digital-first experience in today’s age is not only about convenience and ease, it’s also about intimacy. Customers are now expecting their providers of choice to know them on a granular level.”

This means entrepreneurs need to listen to their customers, and ensure they can meet their expectations.

Knowing your customers’ needs opens the gate to a more personalised experience that will get your business off the ground.

Be honest

As in business, honesty and transparency is critical for securing trust.

The businesses that thrive today are the ones that place high value on obtaining — as well as keeping — their customers’ and employees’ trust.

Salesforce’s latest State of the Connected Customer report confirms that consumers expect integrity from the businesses they interact with.

Sixty-eight percent trust companies to tell the truth.

State of the Connected Customer

What’s more, showcasing trustworthy behaviour is a key driving force behind repeat purchases and loyalty for customers today, especially during crisis situations.

90% of customers say how a company acts during a crisis demonstrates its trustworthiness.

State of the Connected Customer
Download the State of the Connected Customer report.

Be memorable

Speak with passion and purpose.

Find ways to stand out or connect through your words, your video, your images or your story.

You’ll better engage your audience if you have a range of different mediums to connect with them.

Be current with a digital offering

Providing a digital offering won’t apply to every business, but chances are it will to most.

As companies have hit the accelerator on digital transformation in the last few years, investors will be looking to see if your business can keep pace.

More than seven in 10 SMBs say their customers expect online transactions, and nearly the same proportion have an ecommerce presence.

Small and Medium Business Trends Report
Download the Small and Medium Business Trends report.

More than half of growing SMBs accelerated investments in sales and customer service technology over the past year.

Small and Medium Business Trends Report

As an ecommerce business that has grown by five times in the last five years, BRG has needed to rapidly scale its digital transformation.

During COVID-19 lockdowns, BRG’s digital voucher model enabled buyers to purchase thoughtful gifts, such as a local lunch experience for Mother’s Day, that could be redeemed within the next five years.

Increasing digitisation has enabled BRG to meet its people’s needs in a rapidly changing climate.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur, dive in and give it a go! You’ll never know unless you take the leap. Who knows, you may have the next Bottle Pop, Hamdog, CharliChair or HEGS pegs.

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Salesforce Staff

The 360 Blog from Salesforce teaches readers how to improve work outcomes and professional relationships. Our content explores the mindset shifts, organizational hurdles, and people behind business evolution. We also cover the tactics, ethics, products, and thought leadership that make growth a meaningful and positive experience.

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