The Shark Tank Method - How to Filter Ideas

Prepare For The Shark Attack

Welcome to The Shark Tank (or Dragon’s Den for my Canadian friends).

It’s extremely important to go into this practice and remove any emotional connections to your ideas. You can’t get attached to the ideas and you can’t take feedback personally.

Look at your idea as if it were not your own. Let it be judged on it’s merits. When you can remove bias and listen to what others have to say, you can truly receive the feedback in the most constructive manner possible.

Essentially, you want others to poke holes in your plan so that you can strengthen it and make it better than it was before…. or cut it loose.

Without further ado… here we go.

Definition: The Shark Tank Rule is a self-imposed guideline for entrepreneurs who find themselves full of ideas. It suggests that before investing time, energy, and resources into a new venture or concept, the entrepreneur should present the idea verbally to a group of peers or mentors, much like how entrepreneurs pitch to the investors (sharks) on the TV show "Shark Tank."

Purpose: The primary goal of the Shark Tank Rule is to filter out ideas that might sound good in one's head but may not be as practical, feasible, or innovative when articulated aloud. By saying the idea out loud and presenting it to others, the entrepreneur can:

  1. Test Assumptions: We often build ideas on assumptions. Presenting them helps identify and challenge those assumptions.

  2. Gain Feedback: An external perspective can provide invaluable insights, critiques, and suggestions that the entrepreneur might not have considered.

  3. Assess Market Fit: It can help in gauging if there’s a genuine need or demand for the proposed product or service.

  4. Check Emotional Bias: Entrepreneurs can sometimes become too emotionally attached to an idea. This method provides a more objective assessment.


  1. Prepare: Write it down! Outline the key aspects of your idea – what problem it solves, who it's for, how it’s different, and how you plan to implement it.

  2. Select an Audience: Choose a group of trusted peers, mentors, or potential customers. This group should be diverse to provide a range of perspectives.

  3. Present: Share your idea as you would in a formal pitch. Be clear, concise, and open to feedback.

  4. Listen: Pay close attention to the feedback. Ask questions to clarify and understand the concerns and suggestions offered.

  5. Reflect and Revise: Use the feedback to refine your idea, pivot if necessary, or even discard the idea if it doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Okay, so I’ve given you the outline on how to execute The Shark Tank Method. Take this and tweak it if needed. For example, sometimes the only shark I present to is my wife. I will run a lot of ideas past her because I won’t be as embarrassed if it ends up getting cut early on.

Always assume that the sharks haven’t heard about your idea before. You have to present it to them as if they’re brand new to the concept, because they probably are. You’ve had time to digest the idea and work out everything in your mind, but it’s new to them.

Keep it simple, present it clearly, and take the feedback as it comes.

The Shark Tank Method isn’t about seeking validation but rather about refining ideas, challenging assumptions, and ensuring that as an entrepreneur, you're investing in ventures with the best potential for success. It's a proactive step in the journey of turning an idea into a viable business or growth strategy.