Yesterday one of my favourite programs started its new series: Dragon's Den on BBC2.
What I don't understand of some of the business persons pitching their idea/business/project is how they can get it so wrong! Sure, pitching in front of cameras can leave you breathless (not only by having to climb a set of stairs to get there), facing 5 budding and long-term entrepreneurs sitting in front of you isn't your daily job.
One of my reasons of watching the program is to learn about pitches, to learn what business angels expect from a pitch, to learn how to present well. And the Dragons make it easy for you (well, sort of).
Over the years the program has been broadcast I've learned to following:
- A perfect sale-pitch isn't enough
- Perfect financial figures isn't enough
- Over-valuating your business is a big No No (value your business at this moment of time, not three - four years down the road)
- Stumbling during your sales-pitch is pretty ok, as long as you can recover (a deep breath and an excuse to the Dragons is a good begin to 'get back on track')
- Know your market, know your product, know your competitors, and most importantly know what you have to do next.
Of course there are more things important than my little list, but what I really don't get is why it seems that so many of businesses coming to the Dragon's Den haven't done their homework. Not in regards of their idea or product, but in regards of the Dragons themselves.
You know Peter Jones doesn't like people dressed in jeans, you know Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis are going to drill you on the valuation of your business.
Study the programs, every one of them, they give you so many clues. Use the BBC special website on the Dragon's Den, most former episodes are down-loadable.
Why re-invent the wheel? Do your homework on the program first, then your homework on your idea and product and use what you've learned from the program to finalise your pitch. Fact is you'll have a much higher success chance this way.
(Side-note: if for whatever reason - I can't see one as yet, don't think I ever will - I would stand in the Dragon's Den myself, I probably go with any offer Peter Jones would make, he's my kind of straight forward, down-to-earth business person and I know I would learn a lot from him.)