Shaan Patel, the 26-year-old who went from living in a motel to Shark Tank victory, is basking in hockey-stick shaped growth since appearing on the ABC hit show in late January 2016. Sales for 2400 Expert, his Las Vegas-based, test-prep school has exploded nearly 10 fold over the prior year. He’s gunning to make billionaire Mark Cuban 10 times his money and be his “most successful Shark Tank investment ever.”
Patel shares the next steps in moving his business forward with Cuban and the secret to acing an open casting call.
Ho: What kinds of distribution deals/sales channels do you hope to score after being on Shark Tank?
Patel: We are focusing our efforts both online and in-person. We have opened SAT prep locations in 20 major cities across the United States. Also, Lori Greiner was right. One of our most popular products has been the online “on demand” SAT course that includes 30 hours of prerecorded videos of me teaching the 100 SAT strategies that students can watch at their convenience.
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Ho: What are you doing to move your business forward and expand?
Patel: One thing that became clear after Shark Tank is that if parents just know about our service, they are usually interested in learning more about how we can help their child get into great colleges and win scholarships along the way.
Therefore, I’m focusing my efforts on digital marketing – SEO, PPC advertising (pay-per-click or the amount of money spent to get an online ad clicked), social media, affiliate referral systems, e-mail campaigns, retargeting display ads and content marketing.
Ho: What are your goals for your business over the next year and five years?
Patel: I measure our impact by the number of students helped. Over the next year, I hope we can help 100,000 students improve their SAT scores an average of 300+ points. Over the next five years, I hope we can help 1,000,000 students improve their SAT scores an average of 300+ points.
Ho: How do you find business partners, instructors, salespeople, etc.? What qualities do you look for?
Patel: I’m open to collaboration with a variety of different business partners. For instructors, we require that they have scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT or ACT, have previous tutoring experience, and can demonstrate an ability to effectively teach difficult material in a personable way.
Ho: Have you gotten other investors to invest in your business? Who? How much?
Patel: I have had many offers, but have declined. Unless an exceptional strategic partner or major acquisition offer appears, I am looking to grow the business with Mark Cuban.
Shark Tank Success Secrets
Ho: What can you teach others about your Shark Tank experience? What are the secrets of a successful audition and appearance?
Patel: My primary motivation for appearing on Shark Tank was not for the investment, but for the publicity and a strategic partner. I made the right decision. My business would’ve taken years to get where it is now.
The Shark Tank effect is the most powerful marketing engine on this planet. I would recommend all entrepreneurs and businesses to go to an open call audition. They typically take place from March-May. Whether you need or investment or not, Shark Tank can transform your business.
To succeed at an open call audition, you need to communicate your value proposition in simple terms quickly. Here is my exact one-minute pitch that I delivered in New York City last year. It took me a dozen hours to put together after lots of revisions with business school classmates at the Yale School of Management.
“When I was in high school, I raised my SAT score from an average 1760 to a perfect 2400. Of the 15 million students who have taken the SAT, about 3,000 have gotten a perfect score. That’s just 0.02%. Now, I’m the only one who went from average to perfect to start an SAT prep company: 2400 Expert.
“Based on my No. 1 bestselling SAT Book, 2400 Expert is now the largest test prep provider in Las Vegas with over 10,000 students prepped. After a six-week class, the average score improvement is an industry-leading 368 points — with many of our students going to the Ivy League.
“We offer double the course hours, at half the price, with top instructors. We’ve been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and Business Insider. Now, 2400 Expert is looking to expand across the nation. So Sharks, who’s ready to score big off my perfect score.”
This story originally appeared in Forbes.com in 2016.
|Shaan Patel and his partner Adam Lawrence have made $10 for every $1 dollar they spent on digital advertising. You can learn all of their tricks of the trade in their online marketing course. Watch now to learn more.