Shark Tank: How the sharks got it wrong about my business
Thursday, May 14, 2015/
When my business partner Ryan first suggested we apply to go on Shark Tank, I must admit I was hesitant. The thought of somebody getting their hands on our baby didn’t sit well with me at first. But after delving a little further into the shark’s personalities and backgrounds, I quickly realised the potential in having an investor of their calibre involved in Supreme Incursions.
We were incentivised by more than just capital investment, we liked the idea of having somebody with experience to help us market the business and provide guidance. After all, Ryan and I are expert teachers with entrepreneurial streaks, but we’re the first to admit that we’ve only been in business for a short time and still have lots to learn.
The preparation we did for Shark Tank was invaluable, and its benefits extend far beyond just the pitch. Ryan and I realised that we would be grilled on our figures, philosophies and plans for the future, and this meant we spent considerable time reviewing our business – an activity that was probably well overdue! We were already confident in our business and its potential, but after delving into all facets of the organisation we felt we knew it better than ever.
On the day of filming we were scheduled as the last to face the sharks. This gave us maximum time to prepare, but also to overthink!
Entering the tank was a nerve racking experience, knowing that we would be standing in front of five highly successful business people. Once the questioning began, however, we felt more at ease. Surprisingly the questioning felt more comfortable for us than the initial two-minute pitch we had rehearsed throughout the day. We found a lot of the feedback from the sharks helpful and overall the comments were extremely positive.
When it came to investment, however, the common thread from all sharks was that they felt our business was not scalable. We believe that it is. And to do this, we will find motivated teachers and train them the Supreme Incursions way.
Teaching is our trade and we do it well. We are therefore well equipped and well networked to find other highly skilled teachers to add to the Supreme Incursions team. Our mission is to continue to grow our business by providing hands-on learning to a growing number of schools across Australia.
Hands-on learning is a crucial part of all children’s development. Supreme Incursions provides a cost-effective alternative to excursions, but more importantly we present tailored hands-on learning experiences, that are customised to classroom topics as well as the student’s age level and abilities. We support teachers by offering programs and resources linked to the curriculum, with all incursions led by engaging expert teachers.
Since filming, several of the sharks have been in contact with us to offer further advice which has been highly beneficial. We have also received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from teachers and professionals in the education industry, highlighting to us that we are providing a great educational resource to Australian schools.
Both Ryan and I would highly recommend small businesses have a go at Shark Tank. I would encourage people to know their business, know their numbers and to be confident in what their business provides.
Mark Pollard is the co-founder of Supreme Incursions.