Popular dragon Deborah Meaden.
The hugely popular show, Dragons’ Den, where entrepreneurs pitch their weird, wonderful and ingenious business plans for investment has just finished its 14th series.
If the intimidating stare of Peter Jones and the no nonsense tone of Deborah Meaden doesn’t put you off, then read on to learn what the show’s demonstrated about how to get your hands on investment for your business…
Make sure your prototype works
Despite having a fantastic product that went on to be valued at £13 million Trunki designer Rob Law fell foul of the dragons when investor Theo Paphitis pulled off the strap of one of his plastic children’s travel trunks! To add insult to injury Paphitis exclaimed, “You shouldn’t come here with problems that can be solved…it drives me mad that we waste our time with these things.” Whether he was right about that or not he certainly missed out on a future goldmine!
Know your figures
The experience of Fit Britches slimming shapewear founder, Farnaz Khan provides a cautionary tale when it comes to being confident with your business figures. Despite Khan’s pitch going well it started to unravel very quickly when Deborah Meaden pressed her on margin, revenues and profit. When she admitted to having “brain freeze” ice-queen Meaden asserted “I don’t think you know how to run a business”. Ouch!
Research the competition
Ben Fridja secured £70,000 in the den for his steamer business and got off to a great start by eloquently explaining why his clothes steamer is so much better than a conventional iron. His preparation and knowledge of the market as well as his great produced paved his way to success.
Have a clear vision for the future
Young entrepreneur Jennifer Duthie from Blackpool wowed the judges with her clear ambition and plans for the future growth of her company Skribbies. She secured £60,000 investment for her unique shoes for children that can be scribbled on. Her cool and calm pitch can be seen as a masterclass in how to snare a dragon.
Don’t give up
Plenty of Dragons’ Den rejects have gone on to have successful businesses despite being given scathing reviews during their TV pitches. For example, when Natalie Ellis entered the den seeking £120,000 investment to export her portable no-spill dog bowl to America she was told by James Caan “America is the graveyard of British business.” Road Refresher’s annual turnover is now into the millions and even the US president has one for his pooch proving there is life after the den! Other products that failed to secure investment but have gone on to success include Oppo ice cream, cup-a-wine and the tangle teaser.