What We Can Learn From Dragons’ Den

Well last night we had another varied range of pitches, including one for £2.5m investment to develop an environmentally friendly car.

As always, there were a bundle of learning points. Here are my key learning points for this week.

Be careful about what you plug

The first person we saw who was looking for investment in his company that helped people write and publish their life stories was plugging being ethical as one of the key things that made the company different.  It was clear that this did not sit well with all of the Dragons’.

Persuasion matters

Unless you can positively influence you are never going to be able to move the other party closer to your point of view.

Be careful not to give mixed messages

The chap from Anyway who got investment for inserts in aerosols and spray products got investment.  Yet he could have so easily blown it.  A good example was when he said to Theo that if he (Theo) called the MD of Proctor and Gamble, he would get to speak to him whilst he personally had been struggling. 

A few minutes later he was quibbling about the two Dragons’ wanting a 40% stake when he was offering 5%.

He clearly did a good job at negotiating a deal at 20% but as he already had indicated himself, the reputation and contacts would make a huge difference. 

Being clear about what matters most helps reduce the risk of giving mixed messages.

Be grounded and realistic

The chap seeking £2.5m of investment was clearly very bright and had a brilliant track record.  Trouble was the Dragons’ exposed some real flaws about his ability to get his eco friendly car produced and to market for £10m.

The most telling point was when asked about marketing the finished product.  His budget estimate was £500,000 whilst the Dragons’ stated that a marketing campaign for a new car was likely to be in the region of £20m.

The big learning from this bold pitch was that you always need to go back to basics, do your research and not let your heart rule your head.

So what learning points did you notice from this week’s episode?  I invite you to leave a comment to add your perspectives and insights.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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8 comments
Janice Robertson says 27 August 2009

The woman who was selling the ice bandages lost a Dragon when she didn’t declare that she was already using the product for another target market i.e.: the equine industry. Maybe there is a learning point about being completely open so that there are no surprises.

As usual, good learning points from you Duncan.

Janice

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