As one of the original Shark Tank investors, Robert Herjavec has seen his fair share of pitches. He's sat through presentations for everything from an energy drink for cougars to a book that becomes a lamp. Along the way he's learned what works and what falls flat. And as "the nice judge," he's consistenly offered helpful and constructive advice -- even if the recipient didn't deserve it.
As he's now in his ninth season on the show, the cybersecurity tycoon offers entrepreneurs some suggestions for making their pitches stand out from the pack.
Know your numbers.
"I can’t count how many times we've met with companies who don’t even know their own numbers. Take the time, make the effort and know the ins and outs of every facet of your business. You have to know where you stand financially in order to take the next step forward."
Be open, not oppositional.
"When someone comes in to pitch and just doesn’t want to hear what we have to say, that's challenging. Just because you don’t like the feedback you’re receiving doesn’t mean it’s wrong -- or right, for that matter. Be open to other people’s perspectives. When an entrepreneur doesn’t hear us out and instead gets defensive or aggressive, I know we’re not going to get a deal done."
Relax, breath, repeat.
"Remember to slow down and tell us a story. You’ve got to relax, take deep breathes, watch your pace and calm your mind. Tell us your story, and let your passion for the business shine through. Control those nerves."
Be Tom Brady.
"You have to be passionate about one thing. Be great at one thing. The world will reward your knowledge of a very narrow field. Tom Brady gets paid $25 million a year to throw the ball. He doesn't get paid to block, he doesn't get paid to tackle. Be Tom Brady. Be world class at one thing."
Keep us on the edge of our seats.
"Most important, you need to engage us. It’s your job to make us listen. We want to learn from you and be inspired by your pitch. Capture our attention, stand out, be different!"