What is a more difficult feat than getting into Harvard, one of America’s most elite universities? According to Harvard’s Admissions & Financial Aid website, 42,749 applicants applied for the graduating class of 2022; 2,024 were admitted. That is 4.7%. According to Inc., around 45,000 people applied for Shark Tank in 2014 and less than 1% were able to pitch to the sharks. Of that 1%, not all of them were aired on the actual TV show.
And only a portion of those aired make a deal with a shark. Therefore, the answer to the question, “What is more difficult than getting into Harvard?” is getting aired on SHARK TANK and making a deal with at least one of the sharks. And that is exactly what Utah natives & brothers, Sean and Jared Bingham did with their company Adventure Hunt (Adventure Hunt’s website).
What can be learned from two individuals who accomplished something so rare? That is exactly what I wanted to find out during my interview with each of them. Below are 10 things that can be learned from their experience.
1. Details Matter
After watching Sean and Jared’s Adventure Hunt pitch on Shark Tank (season 10 episode 10), the first thought I had was, “Wow, that was one of the best pitches I have ever seen.”
So, the first question I asked them during our interview was about how they crafted their pitch. It is easy, as a viewer, to watch something like that and think that they are naturals, end of story. Sean and Jared spent hours, days and weeks crafting the words by looking up synonyms to make sure each word was perfect.
One of their biggest goals was to make the pitch fun and engaging, so they practiced different activities to figure out which one would accomplish that the best. Ultimately they worked with ABC producers, multiple times, to get feedback on how they could nail the pitch. Details matter. The little details are what make or break a pitch, just like your days and weeks make or break your normal life. Yes, you do need to show up for the big things, but the little details are the difference.
2. Understand Reality & Context
One of the biggest mistakes many entrepreneurs on Shark Tank make is thinking the pitch is only a business pitch. While the sharks are real investors and the deals are real business deals, Shark Tank is also a TV SHOW! No one wants to watch boring, stale TV.
The energy and humor of Adventure Hunt’s pitch was focused on the fact that this is reality TV; Sean and Jared understood the correct context. Take some time right now, think about yesterday or last week. What is something you were involved in that you may have missed the reality or context of the situation? People miss context all the time in meetings or conversations with other people.
We approach it from our perspective, not theirs. That could cause costly missteps. Understand the reality and context.
3. Nail the Opening
First impressions matter, that is common knowledge. The danger of common knowledge is well, it becomes common and routine. Sean and Jared combined their clear, articulate pitch with humor and excitement from the very beginning to lighten the mood with the sharks, a mood that felt like friends hanging out in someone’s living room.
Within 30 minutes they had an offer from Bethenny Frankel, their pitch was a total of two hours. The early offer created a tremendous amount of confidence in Sean and Jared. Ultimately the Bingham brothers made a deal with Robert Herjavec.
4. Have Fun because Life is Meant to Be Fun (266.2)
Life can become intimidating when you take it too seriously. A mentor of mine repeatedly says, “If you aren’t having fun, you are doing something wrong.”
Sean and Jared did not take themselves too seriously, they joked around with the sharks and had fun. The sharks reciprocated the joking and laughter. The pitch turned out to be fun, relaxing and successful.
5. Be Confident
Confidence comes from experience and expertise. Sean was a communications major in college, which provided him a lot of experience in front of a camera.
Sean and Jared knew their company and its numbers in great detail. Shark Tank fans know that when a entrepreneur doesn’t know their numbers, the pitch falls apart.
Practice, practice, practice. Dive into the details, do the research and analysis, and know what you are talking about.
6. People are People, Have the Best Intent and Treat Them Well… Like People
People can become intimidating to pitch to, interact with, meet, etc. when you forget that they are human too. Everyone should be respected, but don’t take the situation too seriously. People want to connect, be entertained, laugh, and smile; that includes millionaires and billionaires.
The first thing that can help you connect with another human is to be human yourself. Be yourself! If you are funny, be funny. If you are creative, be creative. If you are detail oriented, do that. When you are yourself, you will connect with people who want to connect with you. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of who you are.
7. Know Your Numbers
When the numbers work, you have a shot. When the numbers don’t work, game over. The sharks know this, which is why they eat anyone alive who doesn’t know their numbers. What about outside a business context for something that doesn’t have “numbers?” Connect whatever dots should be connected.
This may seem like an obvious point, but how many times do we let emotion take us somewhere or even more scary, our opinions? You get an idea, you convince yourself that you are correct and that the world needs your idea; you spend hours researching and creating and then you expect the world to love you and everything to work out. When the world doesn’t celebrate you or when your idea crumbles, you are confused. Know your numbers. Know your “dots” and connect them.
8. Take Advantage of the Wait: Patience and Keep Your Eye on the Target
Sean and Jared waited for THREE DAYS on site, waiting to pitch to the sharks. They ended up being the very last pitch. During those three days, Sean and Jared kept their focus on why they were there. They practiced, talked, experimented, improved, and repeated that process over and over again.
Two of the most common reasons people fail at something is because of lack of patience and distraction. You set a goal to eat healthy for the year. Three weeks in, you do not see the results you want to see, and you stop. Or you find yourself in the month of March and you cannot recall what your goals even were, you have been distracted. Patience and focus. Great things can come to those who wait with patience and focus.
9. Test and Prove Before You Need To Make Money
The idea of Adventure Hunt was born while the Bingham brothers were running their former company, KZ Gear. It started as an idea to promote their KZ Gear products. After a while, they realized not only did they love it, but it was working and would be a profitable, stand alone business.
After more than two dozen adventure hunt experiments inside of KZ Gear, in Sean’s words, they believed they had “proved that it was working.” They did not make the move from KZ Gear to Adventure Hunt on a hunch, they thoroughly tested it.
This can also be applied to everyday life. You want to learn the guitar? Who do you know who owns a guitar but doesn’t regularly play it? Ask if you can borrow it for three weeks. Practice every day for three weeks then evaluate. Do that instead of spending hundreds of dollars on something that may not work.
10. You Will Get a Ton of Advice but Don’t Let Them Control Your Business/Life
Everyone has an opinion, we all know this. We also know that many people will share their opinions, even when it is not their place to do so. The great part about this is when a valuable opinion is shared. Some of the key improvements and changes Adventure Hunt has implemented came from customer feedback.
Listen to your customers enough to understand them and their viewpoints, but also understand that no one knows your business and/or life like you do. Do your best to combine your knowledge and vision with valuable customer feedback, but don’t let the feedback control you, let it guide you.
Where is your next vacation? Click HERE to find out if there is an Adventure Hunt (Discovery Fun Hunt) you can participate in during your visit, and experience the area like you only can with an Adventure Hunt.
Looking for a Corporate or Team Building Activity? You can create your own hunt. Click HERE to learn more.
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Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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