Shark Tank Investors Say This is How to Win Them Over

Look the part, be disruptive and keep things simple, say Barbara Corcoran, Bethenny Frankel, Grant Cardone and others. You have a great idea. Now you need the money to make it happen. In this day and age when it seems like everybody is an entrepreneur, how do you convince investors your idea is worth their financial backing?

We asked “Shark Tank” judges Corcoran and Frankel and other decision-makers what it takes to woo them as investors. Here are their top tips, straight from the Sharks’ mouths.

Get Free Quote: Money for your business without the hassle with Rapid Finance

Prove you can bounce back from failure

Barbara Corcoran

After 11 seasons investing in small businesses on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” I have a list of traits that I search for in entrepreneurs.

First, you need to look like whoever you claim to be. When Kim Daisy said she made the best-tasting cakes in America, I instinctively believed her because she looked the part, dressed in a starched apron with a million-dollar smile. When I tasted her cake, I gave her my cash.

I never invest in anyone who throws around fancy terms to describe a simple business. I particularly dislike the fashionable terms “burn rate” and “pivot,” both clever ways to sugarcoat that they’ve lost other investors’ money.

However, I do like to see someone clearly demonstrate their ability to bounce back after failure. Can you overcome obstacles? Are you street smart enough to find solutions? That’s the most important quality shared by every successful entrepreneur I’ve invested in.

When I can see it, I know I’ll make my money back and more.

– Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, podcast host of “Business Unusual” and Shark on “Shark Tank.” 

Show, don’t tell

Bethenny Frankel

Investors want to see something that is innovative and unique. You need to be a little bit disruptive and creative to get someone’s attention. At the same time, as an investor, I need to be able to comprehend the business instantly so I can see any flaws in your idea or plan.

Social networking is also big. But most importantly, I look for entrepreneurs who can execute, get things done and get to the finish line. Investors don’t like talk – we like action. So show me; don’t tell me.

– Bethenny Frankel, founder of Skinnygirl, cast member of “The Real Housewives of New York City,” New York Times bestselling author, and Shark on “Shark Tank”; follow Bethenny on Twitter and Instagram.

Keep things simple

Grant Cardone

I have raised almost $225 million in 18 months. The key to winning over investors is to keep your message concise and simple and include the upside and the downside of your offer. The moment the offer becomes the least bit complicated, you lose the investor. No matter how sophisticated they are, they need certainty as much as anyone.

Include the upside and downside of the investment by proactively addressing the best- and worst-case scenarios. This way, you appear transparent and control the narrative rather than letting the investor’s imagination take over. Finally, be overly fair. Don’t overreach with your expectations of them or start too high with your offer.

– Grant Cardone, sales expert, who has built a $750 million real estate empire, and New York Times bestselling author; follow Grant on FacebookInstagram or YouTube.

Mitigate your risks

Roland Frasier

The most common mistake entrepreneurs make when pitching investors is thinking that the growth or income opportunity is most important. In fact, it’s the opposite. Investors are most concerned about preserving their capital and mitigating risks.

After all, what good is the promise of growth or high returns if you could lose your initial investment? Show them how you are de-risking the deal and that you have backup plans to mitigate losses if things don’t go as planned.

– Roland Frasier, principal of 30 businesses, including War Room Mastermind and Traffic & Conversion Summit; host of the “Business Lunch” podcast; connect with Roland on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Start with the right business opportunity

Moran Pober

I help entrepreneurs buy successful businesses using capital from financial institutions or my investment firm instead of their own money.

This is a much safer investment than an unproven tech startup. When you have an established, profitable business model, it’s easier to win over investors. You can demonstrate market growth, positive cash flow, opportunities to increase profitability and a reasonable business valuation. You don’t even need expertise; just someone with experience who will run the business for you.

No matter what kind of investment you’re looking for, find an investor who specializes in that specific opportunity. Build rapport with a company they have already invested in by inviting the business owner to lunch, then ask for a warm introduction.

Show the investor that the opportunity meets their unique interests, you appreciate their expertise, and you’re committed to returning their investment.

– Moran Pober, founder and CEO of, which buys and sells seven-figure businesses and helps others do the same; former partner at and ABD Assets; connect with Moran on LinkedInFacebook and Instagram.

Be yourself

Marina Mara

Aside from the validation of your idea, product-market fit and margins, your most valuable standout factor is you. Investors want to partner with someone they’ll flow with throughout the investment and mentoring journey.

They’re looking for founders who capitalize on their strengths and learn from their weaknesses. As with any relationship, mutual respect and admiration are also key.

Investors are impressed by founders who have clarity on their personal brand (or at least the potential to develop into a distinguishable one). Can you be a strong brand ambassador? Can you lead a movement? Your ability to tell a story and build a strong community online and offline is vital to gain influence, which you can further leverage for free publicity.

Keep your “why” prominent and avoid becoming someone you’re not, just to impress investors. It’s a lot like dating: your best bet is authenticity, sincerity and, yes, vulnerability. Go all in or go home!

– Marina Mara, international media, brand and reputation adviser; connect with Marina on LinkedIn and Instagram

Sign Up: Receive the StartupNation newsletter!

Put yourself in their shoes

Nafisé Nina Hodjat

At the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, we learned about role reversal, a deeper way of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Most people focus on themselves and getting what they want from a judge or investor rather than considering how what they’re selling or proposing helps advance the other person’s interests.

Reversing roles is a way to gain a deeper understanding of that. If you’re trying to win over an investor or a judge, put yourself in their shoes and think about how your mutual interests can align. In court, I always consider that the judge and prosecutor need to feel like justice has been served and ensure it aligns with the best outcome for my client.

 – Nafisé Nina Hodjat, founder and managing attorney of the SLS Firm.

Want to share your insights in a future article? Join The Oracles, a mastermind group of the world’s leading entrepreneurs who share their success strategies to help others grow their businesses and build better lives. Apply here.

For more free business insider advice, follow The Oracles on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Originally published on © 2019 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

Previous Article

5 Business Tips from a Seasoned Female Entrepreneur

Next Article

The Best Funding Options for Minority Entrepreneurs

Related Posts
Read More

WJR Business Beat: Color 2022 Packaging Chilled and Subdued (Episode 330)

On today's Business Beat, Jeff says packaging is fundamentally critical and you can't treat it casually if you are serious about your business' success. Tune in to the Business Beat, below, to learn about the colors and styles of packaging trending for 2022:   Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11...
Read More

How To Make Your Startup Bankable

You’ve probably heard it countless times: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While it’s always a great idea to think about your long-term personal goals, this adage is even more applicable if you’re venturing into entrepreneurship. Smart planning can go a long way in making your startup bankable. The U.S. Bureau of...
wjr business beat
Read More

WJR Business Beat: Shopify Jump-Starts Starting A Business (Episode 328)

On today's Business Beat, Jeff talks about Shopify, a one-stop shop of resources for people who want to start a business. Tune in to the Business Beat, below, to learn how this subscription-based software can help you set up an online store and sell your products.   Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday...
top Detroit startups
Read More

Top Detroit Startups and Tech Companies to Watch in 2022

Michigan is now the state with the highest growth in VC investment. Now many Detroit startups are on the fast track to growth. Whether it’s new funding, expansions or IPOs, it’s been an eventful year in Detroit startups. Next year is looking even better. Here are the top Detroit startups and tech companies to watch in...