How it All Began
I founded my company from a need that dated back to my childhood years and took me until my adult "Hockeydad" days to realize.
The problem: Limited access to ice time, enough to perfect the skills necessary to excel at the game I loved... Ice Hockey.
It's what led me to where I am today as a formative leader in the synthetic ice industry, providing unlimited ice time to those in need, anywhere, anyplace, at any time.
It also led me to the world's most prominent entrepreneurial reality show with a chance to pitch my product, PolyGlide Ice, on prime-time national television.
What Was it Like to Appear on Shark Tank?
The question I'm asked most often, "What does it feel like to pitch to the Sharks?" can be answered in one simple word...Incredible!
From the day I submitted my email entry to the Shark Tank executive producers until my scheduled air date had to be, no doubt, one of the shortest and longest years of my life.
Longest because I couldn't tell anybody throughout the process, and shortest because so much took place that year; it's all a blur, but I can tell you it was an overall great experience!
Several family members had told me for a while that I should try out for the show, but I always shrugged it off and never gave it much thought.
Then one day, I figured out what the heck and filled out the online questionnaire form with information on my product and company and hit the send button.
After submitting my December 2015 email and not hearing back from anyone for over four months, I honestly forgot all about it.
Then the call this entrepreneur's been waiting for came in April 2016 asking, "So tell me about your synthetic ice panels," and that's when it all began.
Video Submission Deadline
The phone interview lasted about fifteen minutes, and at the end of the conversation, I was told, "Congratulations, you made it to the video submission round."
This next step involved producing a five-minute video submission explaining my product to wow the producers with my story.
I had only a few short minutes to tell how PolyGlide Ice became a manufacturer of the best artificial ice on the market.
I had only two weeks to complete the production as there were deadlines they were facing on their end.
After submitting my video a week later, I got another call saying
"Congratulations, the producers loved your video, and you're being considered for the show" however, nothing's ever guaranteed in the television world.
Shark Tank Arena
After continuing through the process, I was lucky enough to get my break and a chance to pitch to the sharks.
Once I was assigned a producer, I had to create the draft of my first pitch, which I thought I nailed until I read it to my shark tank producer.
My opening sentence was great, but it was back to the drawing board for the remainder of the pitch until I got it right.
It was apparent the synthetic ice panels would provide a visual attraction, and having youth hockey players skating into the tank got the Shark's attention.
Time to Pitch to The Sharks
Fast forward to August, and final preparations are underway involving all the details of my shark tank pitch, right down to the set design and travel arrangements.
At this point, it's finally official,
I'm going to pitch to the SHARKS!! (or am I?).
The simple fact is that even if you are allowed to pitch, only 40-50% of all Shark Tank pitches ever make it on air.
The fact is, contestants have to wait until just a few weeks before their "air date" even to confirm if they have an air date ...and throughout the process, you can tell NO ONE!
It's Showtime for PolyGlide
My pitch date was scheduled for September 20th, 2016 (Season 8, Episode 11) and after going through the whole process, trust me when I say I was beyond ready.
The common question is always "Were you nervous?" and I can honestly say I was much more excited than nervous.
As it turned out, because of the sizeable synthetic ice set design, I was to be the first pitch of the day, and the Sharks were wide awake waiting for their first "taste of the day."
Once the countdown began, there was no turning back 3, 2, 1, ACTION!
All in all, the entire pitch lasted about 45 minutes, that in the end, was trimmed down to 8-1/2 minutes of non-stop air time.
The fact is, the average 30-second prime commercial costing around $400,000.00 which would put me about 6.8 Million dollars ahead of the game, Deal or no Deal.
Let the Pitch Begin
After my opening pitch, things started rapidly, with the Sharks often talking over each other with their questions.
My engineer who traveled with me was in the green room and said it looked like I was watching a tennis match as my head spun on a swivel, snapping back and forth, addressing the fast pace of the questions.
Many comical moments were edited out of the episode, which took on a more serious tone in the final cut.
The deal for me, quite honestly (though not with a Shark), was just getting on the show AND being given an air date.
The feedback from the Sharks, and valuable exposure, were much more than I could ever ask for.
In the end, I can tell you that if you're an entrepreneur ready to take the next step and put it all out there, try out for Shark Tank.
Even though I didn't get a deal, the experience can be life-changing and help take your business to the next level.
If, by chance, you don't make it on the show, then I recommend you pitch your company to your friends and strangers whenever you can get the opportunity.
Their feedback will help steer you in the right direction and help you better understand your customers, and make the best decisions for your company and product.
Take a second and check out some of our most popular rink packages!
Keep on Skating!
Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice
For additional information call: 855-765-9423
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