The Shark Tank is a prime time show about the cut-throat world of venture capital. So what you ask? So everything. The show’s guests and judges may be concerned simply about making a profit, but the logic and harshly critical techniques used to evaluate the business ideas are especially applicable to emerging nonprofits or established organizations about to take on a new venture.
The judges at times seem heartless and crass but they ask the right questions, such as:
“How much of your own money have you invested?”
“Do you have a prototype?”
“Have you tested the product in the marketplace?”
“Do you have data to backup your revenue projections?”
As a social entrepreneur you need to ask yourself these same tough questions and surround yourself with critical friends and allies who will do the same. And realize, that potential funders will evaluate your proposal for funding through nearly an identical lens as these venture capitalists. No they will not be as mean, but the result will be the same – if your strategy is weak and your commitment has not been demonstrated by tangible results and investment of your own blood, sweat, tears and money – you will be turned away.