How I Got on Dragons' Den Part 3: A Look Behind the Scenes

How I Got on Dragons' Den Part 3: A Look Behind the Scenes

I paced anxiously in the lobby of CBC Vancouver for my turn to pitch the Dragons remotely. I was scheduled for a 9:00am pitch and would be the second person to walk into the Den that morning. As the second person scheduled, I thought it a good sign, figuring that the Dragons would tire as the day wore on. I knew we had a strong business, with good fundamentals and a unique proposition, but some part of me still feared being that joke pitch or the company the Dragons tear to shreds.  I took a few deep breaths, put my fears aside for the moment and focused on mentally rehearsing my pitch.

As nine o’clock approached, I was called into a dressing room to get ready. I continued to rehearse my opening lines and paced around nervously waiting for my chance. Shortly after, a producer entered the room to microphone me up. They clipped on a lapel microphone and gave me an earpiece to wear.  I was led into the studio, stood on my mark, and was told to await instructions from Molly, the lead producer in Toronto (who could see me remotely on camera). I waited for a moment in complete silence, but no instructions were transmitted. After what seemed like an eternity, a producer came to check my microphone gear. It turned out my earpiece had not been plugged in by the audio team. After correcting that small oversight, I heard Molly come through loud and clear on the earpiece. She gave a few words of encouragement and then started to count down to go live with the Dragons. The Dragons appeared on screen and the instructions came through…time to start my pitch.  

Pitching remotely was more difficult than expected as I couldn’t gauge the Dragons’ facial expressions or body language. There was an audio and video delay and the screen that displayed the Dragons was too small to discern any useful information. I decided the best approach was to power through my pitch, sticking to the script exactly as I had practiced it. I smiled, made gestures with my hands, and made it through without stumbling. Yes! I had survived the first part of being in the Den.

The questions immediately followed which proved to be difficult from a logistical point of view. First of all, several Dragons started to speak at the exact same time. Coupled with the fact that the video feed didn’t always show who was talking, I couldn’t get any visual cues either. I did the best I could and decided to answer the question that I could hear most clearly. Given his loud voice and personality, this often meant I ended up answering the question of Vincenzo (Mr. Sunshine) first as he shouted overtop the other Dragons.

The questions period was approximately 25 minutes with the Dragons asking the usual questions you see on the show. It seemed like they genuinely wanted to learn more about the business and how it worked and as a result, the Q&A went smoothly as I had planned responses for their standard questions.

  • What do you sell your products for?
  • What are your sales like?
  • What are your margins?
  • What is the cost to acquire a customer?
  • How are people finding you?
  • Where do you sell your products?
  • Who are the owners of the business?
  • What is the average purchase size from a customer?
  • What is your repeat customer rate?
  • How much of your own money have you invested into the business?
  • What do you need the $250,000 for?

Since the 25 minutes was edited down to a 7 minute segment, there were a few notable moments that didn’t make the final cut. Some of them include:

  • Manjit made a mistake in her initial offer and made an offer that sounded too good to be true. Well, it was…after realizing what she said, she quickly took it back and provided another offer.
  • Michelle commented on how she was impressed by how well I knew my numbers. I knew I got that CPA, CA for a reason!
  • Vincenzo was not happy about losing the deal and he made that loud and clear after I accepted the deal from Arlene.  Being a car guy, I think he figured he and Wes had the deal locked up. Unfortunately, their deal was the least competitive.

Overall, I’m really happy with the way our episode turned out. I’ve read stories from other entrepreneurs who didn’t feel like they were accurately portrayed by the show. I felt the producers edited our segment in such a way was a fair and accurate portrayal of what actually happened.  Nice work CBC!

In the final part of this article series, I’ll discuss how I got offers from every Dragon and what I think were the most important keys to my success!

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