You've got just minutes to convince billionaire investors Mark Cuban and John Paul DeJoria that your burgeoning business is the best in your industry. At stake for the victor: a year of mentorship from Cuban along with potential funding from a private equity firm.
But how do you prep an opportunity like this?
During an inaugural event dubbed Beauty Pitch, which is set to be part of the Professional Beauty Association's Business Forum on July 12 and hosted by Cosmoprof North America, I'll be joining Shark Tank cohost Cuban, Patron Spirits and John Paul Mitchell Systems cofounder DeJoria as well as Martha Stewart Living's beauty director Melissa Goldstein as the panel determines which finalist walks away with it all. Here's what these entrepreneurs say they're doing behind the scenes to gear up for their big moment.
100% Pure: This San Jose-based business is dedicated to creating the healthiest line of cosmetics in the world.
The most important way Richard Kostick, CEO and founder, is preparing:
It's always nerve-wracking presenting in front of judges that you don't know so I'm getting myself familiar with all of them so they feel like my friends instead of strangers.
His advice for entrepreneur prepping for a big pitch:
You will only have a small amount of time to cover a lot of territory so stay focused and get to the point, prepare the information that's most important to the judges. Beforehand, learn about the judges so you understand what they care about. Read what they write on their social media, listen to the questions they have asked previous participants.
18.21 Man Made: This Bedford, Texas-based venture aims to elevate the grooming experience for men through a pairing of uncommon goods and professional services.
How Angel del Solar, managing director, is preparing:
By gaining a solid understanding for the panel members and the audience, considering their beliefs, interests, accomplishments and goals so that we can develop a custom-crafted message that's the most appropriate for the situation.
His advice for others:
Focus your message down to a few core points and practice delivering your presentation to become comfortable with the delivery. Make sure to demonstrate your passion and expertise in your field. Identify both the void and solution that your goods fulfill and make sure to be yourself.
Hair Construction: Headquartered in Miami and Denmark, this company helps hairdressers succeed by giving them the three things they need most: education, more clients and more retail product sales.
How Cory Hoffart, cofounder and CEO, is preparing:
We are focusing on shoring up our market validation, and of course, we will spend much time putting together a concise pitch since we only get two minutes to present our company before taking questions.
His advice for others:
Practice your pitch -- you'll be glad you can rely on practice in an extremely stressful situation. Don't forget to speak slowly -- one of those small tips that people forget when they're stressed. And, above all, just relax and trust yourself: You understand your business so just relax and communicate what you already know.
LightStim: The Irvine, California-based enterprise designs and manufactures LED light therapy devices for both consumers and professionals that claim to deliver clinically-proven anti-aging, acne and pain results.
How Steve Marchese, CEO, and Joni Marchese, president, are preparing:
Almost everyone in our offices is involved in prepping for this. We're doing a lot of research and putting together direct, concise messaging with the goal being that the panelists will be able to fully grasp the LightStim business and brand identity.
Their advice for others:
Prep, prep, prep! Have a well-thought-out game plan. You must truly be vested and passionate about your endeavor in order for that to come across in your delivery.
Zenagen: Based in Nashville, this business utilizes nutraceutical science to develop unique solutions for hair loss and scalp repair products sold in salons and professional beauty retailers.
How Jared Reynolds, president, is preparing:
Refining our upcoming two-year projections to better accommodate the acceleration we expect to see after the pitch as well as bringing on a multi-faceted media relations firm to help prepare and manage the various media requests and scheduling, as we are actively growing and traveling on average 20 days a month opening new markets -- they are a vital for us now.
His advice for others:
Pitching at the highest levels requires confidence and the only way to do the best job possible is to know your numbers, know your distribution channels and, when comparing your solution to the competition, focus on the positive aspects of your company/product. Don't talk negatively or dismiss your competition.