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Sweet Swims with Sharks That Paid Off

Need money? Ask the sharks.

Shark Tank can be a highly-visible way to pitch your ideas, gain worldwide publicity, potentially score funding, and glean free advice from experts and entrepreneurs. But the odds are daunting. 45,000 entrepreneurs apply ever year, only 1% get to pitch to a Shark, and a fraction of that group actually makes it on TV. So how do you get there?

More Than a Dollop of a Deal

As Heather Saffer (who was funded by the Sharks for her Dollop Gourmet Frosting) is fearless and persistent and upbeat. She says, “If this is your dream and your passion you absolutely have to go for it…the sweets world can be tough with low margins and recent vilification of sugar, but the joyfulness and playfulness of the sweets world reminds you to have fun and be a bit more lighthearted about life. Don’t lose sight of that.” Saffer accepted funding from Barbara Corcoran, who has served as a business mentor. Saffer’s whole story can be found here. (sheBOOM also loves Ky Trang Ho and her smart coverage of start-ups and Shark Tank!)

Saffer advises you to look out for casting calls, which are posted between January and April, with filming taking place in June and September. “The key to getting chosen is having an interesting business, but also having a great story. What have you sacrificed? Why did you start your business? Remember, this is television so you need to be entertaining in some way.” Other tips?

  • Know your business inside and out. If you know your numbers, your product attributes, etc. so well that when the Sharks start grilling you, you won’t even flinch. Feel 100% confident that your responses can come up quickly and automatically so your nerves don’t trip you up.
  • Listen to the producers if they strongly encourage you to try something different. Your goal is to get on the show and the producers are the ones with the power to get you on. Don’t be a diva.

Dollop is growing and Saffer is now closing a raise with investors. She has hired a great team and is expanding her product line with a new snack product. She is publishing her second book and is also pursuing the creation of her own TV show, based on her better-for-you food passions.

Un-Funded by the Sharks Hardly Means the Bottom of the Ocean!

Becky App and Abby Jordan, owners of eCreamery Gourmet Ice Cream, didn’t score a deal,, but they left with tips, connections, media attention and a new business outlook. In the first three minutes the show aired, App and Jordan’s company had 190,000 page views and close to 400,000 in the days that followed.

They say proudly, “We were swimming in orders and NOT with a shark. We were able to get the word out that eCreamery exists and in the meantime, we did exactly as Barbara advised: we got a loan from our neighborhood bank and that has allowed us to fulfill the massive number of orders since airing.”