How did I end up getting a $250,000 Deal on Dragons’ Den after receiving offers from all the Dragons? The answer is fairly simple…I was prepared.
Knowing that Dragons’ Den could be a huge opportunity for our business, I went to great lengths to ensure that I was fully prepared. I had two weeks to prepare and during this period I made the following action plan which took about 80 hours to execute.
Step 1 – Watch a lot of Dragons’ Den
I watched the previous 2 Seasons of Dragons’ Den in its entirety and took notes on each of the Dragons. I summarized what questions Dragons liked to ask as well as what type of investments they preferred. I also took notes on which pitches were successful and why and kept track of the valuation Dragons were placing on businesses.
Step 2 – Research each Dragon
I dug deeper into the background of each Dragon. I researched their previous deals, what types of business they owned, as well as watched interviews to get a better idea of their personalities. Since I made a Custom Car Poster for each Dragon, I even researched their taste in cars.
Step 3 – Research Companies that were Successful on Dragons’ Den
I researched other companies that were success on Dragons’ Den. Many companies have posted about their experience on Dragons’ Den and this gave some insight into what to expect behind the scenes.
Step 4 – Build a Cheat Sheet
I synthesized all my findings into a cheat sheet using my research. The cheat sheet included my notes on each Dragon, a list of likely questions, responses to each questions and other general notes about being on the show.
Step 5 – Practice Until the Pitch is Perfect
I spent numerous hours rehearsing and tweaking the pitch. The first step was memorizing the pitch and then working on refining it to where every word and hand gesture was planned, but still looked natural. During my practice, I would film my pitch, play it back, and make the adjustments I thought necessary.
I also spent a lot of time rehearsing my responses for the Q&A period. Based on my research I focused my practice on the questions that were most likely to come up as well as the ones that entrepreneurs struggled the most with (question like “how did you come up with your valuation”). I’m happy to say that I was prepared for every question except for one. Arlene asked me about NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), but luckily my crypto game was strong enough to make a solid response on the fly.
Step 6 – Prepare for the worst
Failing on Dragons’ Den was a real possibility. A lot of entrepreneurs have appeared on the Den and have been eaten alive by the Dragons. I wanted to make sure that this did not happen to me. After watching numerous pitches that went south, I knew the producers at CBC would look for any slip up, stumble, or stutter to use against you. With the magic of editing, they can make you look like a complete idiot fairly easily.
I determined that the best approach would be to give them absolutely nothing they could use against me. I practiced how I would respond to things like not getting any offers (looking slightly disappointed, but not overly bothered), or being ridiculed by a Dragon (a neutral face with a matter of fact response about the profitability of the business). I spent a lot of time trying to cap the downside by rehearsing worst case responses. In the end, I was received favorably by the Dragons, but was glad to have prepared for all eventualities.
To summarize, it took about 80 hours to prepare for a 1 minute pitch and 30 minutes of questions. $250,000 for 81.5 hours of work? Not too shabby.
For anyone who is looking to be appear on Dragons’ Den, I’d be more than happy to share some notes and tips. Just send me a message.