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So you want to be on Shark Tank...

By Dian Vujovich

If it weren’t for the hopes and dreams of entrepreneurs and small business owners, there wouldn’t be much money talk going on in America, business on Wall Street or an audience for the wildly popular television show “Shark Tank”.

If you’re like me, you’re a fan of that program and would love to know what it really takes to get on that program. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look very far to find someone who had, in fact, appeared before The Sharks.

Alex Furmansky is the founder of Budsies. The name of the company is a play on the word “buddy” and Budsies are cute custom-made plush toys individually created and designed based upon the art work you submit to them. Visit http://www.budsies.com/
for details.

Furmansky was lucky enough to have a great idea that provided him with a chance to pitch the sharksters. And, fortunate enough not to need their money as after the program he secured venture capital funding from another source.

In addition to being an enthusiastic and successful millennial, Furmansky likes to help others achieve their dreams. During a telephone interview, I asked him what wannabe “Shark Tank” guests might be mindful of before following through with their get-on-TV dream. Here they are:

1. Apply and wait. With the who-knows-how-many applications submitted every day, understand right off the bat that it will take months before you get a response to that app—- if you even get one.

“ It took like a year and a half from the time that we submitted (the application) to the time of actually being on TV,” said this Lake Worth resident. “ Which seems crazy.”

Furmansky downloaded the application to appear from the Shark Tank web site in September of 2013. But, didn’t hear a word from them until the fall of the next year. Then, didn’t finally appear on the show until April 2015.

At the time he applied he said the application form was a fairly simple one. Now, however, that’s not the case.

I’ve also created a product, have downloaded an application to appear on the show and submitted it four months ago. Still haven't heard a peep. A quick look online today revealed there are now two ways to apply: Mail or email in an app or attend an audition. To learn more visit: http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank/apply .

2. Don’t worry too much about somebody stealing your idea.
You pretty much give up a lot of your rights when signing the application. If you’re concerned about that, Furmansky said there are two ways to look at it.

“My advice to founders is to not be so worried about giving up your idea. One, if you are so worried that somebody is going to steal your idea, then you shouldn’t be the one executing your idea.”

Furmansky's second point is that he thinks the more people you share your idea with, the more ideas you get from those other people “and the more feedback you’ll get.” All of which can be helpful in the development of your product.

Good advice for future wannabe Shark Tank guests who, with any luck at all, will become future Palm Beach home owners, party goers and philanthropists.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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