$46,275,000 invested by the Sharks to date

Slawsa Owner Teaches Lesson from the Shark Tank – Dogs Read Dog Magazines

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Like Puppy Cake, seek out the opportunities within your hometown and industry first. It makes no sense to pitch national media if your product does not have wide distribution. Look beyond your industry as long as there is still a tie-in and don’t forget about non-print media like radio, television and online. Also, use your personal connections with organizations you are involved with. As an alum to a university, fraternity/sorority, service organization, make the pitch to be included in their national publications that are sent out to alumni and members. After all, they want to tell success stories about their members, past or present.

Timing is everything! Magazines are writing content six months in advance, so keep that in mind if you have seasonal items. Slawsa is great on hot dogs (which we affectionately refer to as “Slawsa Dogs”) so there are great opportunities for us to get media during the month of July, national hotdog month. Make sure you are always planning ahead as it is better to pitch too soon and need to follow-up versus waiting until its too late.

Make pitching an on-going effort. Kelly from Puppy Cake referenced three magazine articles in the four years she had launched. Granted, I only saw the edited segment so perhaps she got in more or she didn’t feel her product was big enough to approach media in her first several years, but pitching media has to be an on-going effort. If readers aren’t moved to make a purchase immediately, they forget it. Repetition is key and I always set a goal of getting no less than eight media opportunities per month across multiple forms of media.

Respond with a comment to articles that are similar in nature. I read an online article about a Major League Baseball team that was going through a stadium renovation and the journalist wrote her thoughts as to which type of hotdog the stadium should adopt as their signature dog in the coming season. Since we have presence in concession venues as well, in the comment section below, I wrote a perfectly ‘imperfect’ response that peaked her interest. Within the next twenty hours, not only did she call me for an interview, but she posted a follow-up story pitching Slawsa as the future ballpark pooch, and as a result, I received a phone call from the executive office of the franchise who read her second article about us. I am currently in discussions with their concessionaire about my product. You never know who is reading and where things may lead.

I am a big believer that things happen because you make them happen. As much as I would love to think that my brands recently launched youtube video will go viral or I might get a phone call from a major talk show or a national morning program wanting to feature my brand, I can’t count on it. As entrepreneurs and small businesses, we have to keep our sleeves rolled up and make every day’s efforts count. Now, start pitching!

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About Author

Julie Busha is an avid Shark Tank fan as well as an entrepreneur, marketer and branding expert despite a background outside of communications. She is a partner at Nicole Foods, the maker of Slawsa and the Founder and CEO of benchmarketing, LLC.

4 Comments

  1. Alonzo Holloman on

    PRAISE THE LORD Julie i have been graced by the LORD GOD to make 3 inventions can i submit all 3 on the shark tank when they call me for the next Episode
    thank you for listening and have blessed year

  2. Alonzo,

    Congratulations on your entrepreneurial spirit and best of luck in your submission process with Shark Tank casting. I am just an entrepreneur like you and not affiliated with the show or producers. I’m happy to write about my experiences and business tips so that it may help my fellow-entrepreneurs.

    The official casting page is http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank/casting and I believe you can submit their requested information to start the process for season 5. In addition to the required information you must provide, tailor your concise pitch to what they are looking for and make them want to pick up that phone to learn more!

    As always, feel free to check out InTheSharkTank.com, for casting updates and future casting calls.

  3. Jen,

    There is nothing to stop you from pitching any business idea, however, I would warn against submitting an idea that you do not have protection from just anyone taking and doing on their own. Casting requires that you provide a non-confidential description of your idea for your submission.

    Tiffany Krumins, Shark Tank Entrepreneur and inventor of AVA the Elephant didn’t have a business, but she was protected by doing a patent search through an attorney to ensure her idea didn’t infringe on the rights of another and then subsequently filed for a patent herself before going into the Tank.

    Generally, the sharks prefer to invest in people who are proven by having already taken the leap to start their business because it shows their commitment and sacrifice. However, if you have an idea like Tiffany did, make sure you are protected before sharing your idea to just anyone…in or outside of the Tank.

    Since I am not affiliated with the show, my recommendation is only my opinion as an entrepreneur. You may want to seek legal counsel or reach out to the casting agents directly to inquire. The official page is: http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank/casting.

    Best of luck to you Jen and all of my fellow entrepreneurs!

    Julie

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