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The life of an entrepreneur is like a volatile, yet fun rollercoaster of emotions. Some opportunities come along when least expected and you have to be prepared to seize them. The following is the story of me pitching Daymond John and some of what I learned from the experience.
1. A great support team is crucial to your success.
There you are, sitting at home in your office and working on social media for your company when you get a phone call from one of your best friends. He knows that you have walked away from corporate America and chosen to follow your dreams of launching a business and working for yourself. He says, I have an opportunity to attend an intimate party with Mark Cuban and Daymond John to watch Shark Tank and I can invite one person. The best part of having a true friendship is that they will back you in any situation. In this case, my friend could’ve taken any number of other friends or women that thought it’d d be cool to hangout with celebrities. Instead, he knew that I could care less about the prestige of the event or meeting a celebrity and was much more interested in pitching my invention. This was an intimate event with only roughly 50 people. It wasn’t t a pitch event, but rather a small gathering to watch Shark Tank with both Mark and Daymond while they were in town. That being said, I wasn’t going to be in the same room as two of the most well known investors in the country and not pitch them. How do I do it? What should I say? Over the course of the two and a half hour drive, I racked my brain on what to say, how to say it, and how I’d create an opportunity to pitch them.
2. Be fully prepared to give a 30 second pitch at any given moment because you may never know when that opportunity may arise.
Despite Mark being a very nice guy he left abruptly and I didn’t t have the opportunity to pitch him, only a second to take a blurry picture. I had my phone in my hand with pictures of my prototype readily available, but it just ended too quickly. Daymond, on the other hand, had some time before his next appearance and I was able to pitch him my idea. I asked to take a picture with him like everyone else in the room. Forget an elevator pitch. I had 10-15 seconds to hopefully perk his interest enough to warrant any kind of acknowledgement. When doing so, I told him I liked the show, I had a product and wanted to know his thoughts. I showed him my phone as soon as the flash went off because there were 3 other people in queue to take a picture. He said he liked it! Great! Wait that’s it? You like it? What does that mean? Do we have a deal?
It was the next guy’s turn to take his picture with Dayomnd. Perfect timing! I offered to take it for him. He happily turned over his phone for me to be the photographer. I took that as an opportunity to talk with Daymond for 30-45 more seconds while taking someone else’s picture. I talked more about my product and asked him what he would do next or if he knew anyone that may be interested in it. I think Daymond was taken aback by the fact that I was still pitching despite taking a picture for someone else, but I learned from Glengary Glen Ross to Always Be Pitching. He continued to say that he had a couple of companies that may be interested in my product and to email his associate
3. Celebrate each win, BIG or small like a rockstar.
Wait a minute. Did Daymond John, star of Shark Tank just say that I have a good idea?! I know it’s a great product, but he really gave it a look and liked it?! This is incredible!! I’ve made it! These were some of the thoughts going through my head when we were leaving. Then my boy and I hit the town for the night. To give you highlights that can be written publicly, we drank like we were in college again, partied with celebrities of all kinds and were VIP in clubs that we had no business being in. I’m not saying these things to brag, as we didn’t spend more than $100 between us the entire night, but to tell you that we partied like I just inked a deal with a Shark despite only getting an email address.
4. Never Give Up.
I couldn’t have asked for much more out of this event. Not only did I get to meet two very influential and smart businessmen that I look up to, I got the opportunity to and had the balls to pitch one of them. On top of that, I walked away with confirmation that I had a solid idea and I had an email to send to a direct contact. I’m sure you are wondering what happened with the product and if Daymond pursued it? He didn’t and passed me to his associate to sign up for his consulting services, coaching, etc. I understand, but thought there would be a better outcome. Since then, I have had 3 licensing deals with major companies come and go. I’m still in the process of getting the re-fillable bath loofah to market and won’t stop until they are on shelves worldwide.
Jim Reidy is an inventor and the Founder of Inventing Daily, a unique company that was created by inventors, for inventors. In addition to Inventing Daily, Jim helps to secure financing and licensing for other inventions that have been evaluated, tested, and proven market viability. For more information you can follow him on Twitter @inventingdaily or email himВ firstname.lastname@example.org.