Dragons’ Den – Success From Pitch to Profit

The Book entitled “Dragons’ Den: Success from Pitch to Profit” (published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd) 2007 is a terrific read – and a must if you have ever watched, or intend to watch (or better still – intend to take part in) DRAGONS’ DEN.

For those who don’t yet know what the Dragons’ Den is, think X-factor for the business world. With a panel of eminent business judges who are willing to invest their own money (many thousands of Pounds, in fact) sitting in judgement on the would-be new Business kid on the block. Each candidate must do their best to impress some of Britain’s best business brains with a short pitch on their new idea (sometimes an existing, and already successful business which needs some extra cash, or perhaps the expertise that any of the “Dragons” can bring).

Featuring interviews with Peter Jone (aka in this book as “The Visionary”); Deborah Meaden (aka The Marketeer); Theo Paphitis (The Retail Expert); Duncan Bannatyne (The Serial Entrepreneur); James Caan (The People’s Investor) and Richard Farleigh (The Business Angel) with a foreword by Evan Davis (The Economics Expert) – it is an exciting book which is inspirational as well as scary!

Scary, I hear you ask? Well yes – in my opinion it must be completely nerve wracking for many of the intrepid entrepreneurs who have ventured up that long stairway (OK – maybe it just seems long – I’ve never actually walked it myself, of course) into the Dragons Den and onto our TV screens. If you succeed in your pitch possible fame and fortune awaits. If you fail, then with the high coverage viewings that the Dragon’s Den has now enjoyed into it’s Fifth Series (at time of writing), then you are going to be seen as having failed in the Dragon’ Den by a lot of people! The reassuring thing with this book however, is that even for some of those who have “failed” in the Den, there has been some other successes outside. Conversely some of those participants who appeared to get backing and whom we would assume would go onto bigger and better business success, have actually stalled after the programme was viewed.

The Dragon’s all carry out due diligence on their would-be proteges after the programme is aired (or at least before the business proposition can go ahead) and it is not unheard of for some of the business plans and ideas to have fallen short under closer scrutiny. In these cases, the planned investment does not go ahead. This book shows who has faltered and who has succeeded (and why) and gives a good background for anyone who is thinking about going into business even if they are not planning to go into the Dragons’ Den to seek investment for it.

You really need to read the book yourself to get the full facts on what each of the Dragon’s are looking for; the personality traits and ideals that appeal to them most. One commonly recurring theme amongst the dragons was that presentation IS important! Not necessarily being able to stand in front of them with a flip chart or powerpoint and making a good impression in that respect, but certainly personal appearance was important for everyone. A clean, professional image with polished shoes and neat appearance. Now I think I could probably manage the polished shoes, but as for the polished presentation of some million-dollar making business proposal? Well, chance would be a fine thing!

One tip of my own though: polished shoes look good; new shoes look good. The difference being that you must be comfortable in whatever shoes you are wearing at the time. And new shoes are often NOT the most comfortable ones – so don’t make that mistake. Your great overall presentation might be ruined by the look of discomfort on your face when the toes of your new shoes start pinching halfway through your pitch…. Just a thought!

The other recurring theme is this book is the fact that all successful business people agree with the old saying “If you Fail to Plan, then you Plan to Fail”. Don’t try and impress the Dragons (or your Bank Manager!) without a full Business Plan. If you are not sure where to start with writing one, seek advice. It is better to ask and get it right, and then put in in writing, than to think you can just remember all the salient points of your business idea and take it from there. If you ever go into the Dragons’ Den you will need to show that you have done your homework – and if your memory is not what it could be (or was), then arm yourself with a copy of your (professional) business plan and impress the Dragons (and surprise yourself) with what a clear and comprehensive business plan you have produced.

Feng Shui Enhancements in The Year of the Water Dragon

On Monday 23rd January we celebrate the Chinese New Year. Many people think the Chinese New Year is when the animal signs change but in actual fact this change always happens on the first day of Spring which this year will be the 4th February. As we move from the year of the Metal Rabbit to the year of the Water Dragon I thought that it would be a good time for me to look forward and see what we can expect to see happening in the world in 2012. From a Feng Shui perspective the movement from one animal sign to another always provides some great opportunities to realign the energies in your home, so in this article I will also share with you some of the actions that you can take to ensure that the year ahead is as positive and as beneficial for you as it possibly can be.

The year of the dragon traditionally is a very auspicious year bringing as it does the four blessings of the east which are wealth, virtue, harmony and longevity. This year in the world in general we can expect a better year financially than the tumultuous times seem in 2011. The worst of the world’s financial crisis seems to be behind us now and many economies are once more likely to see the start of growth and new optimism, although don’t expect fortunes to change overnight. Eastern economies are likely to grow much stronger and quicker than those in the west. Improvement overall will start slowly from around the end of spring 2012 and as we move through the year confidence will grow and we can expect to see the start of a long but sustained period of financial growth.

Though financially we are unlikely to see dramatic changes, a dragon year often signifies momentous change and this year will be no exception. The water dragon is a calmer, quieter animal than some of it’s siblings so even though momentous events are likely to occur expect them to slip under the radar, or happen very quickly with the minimum of fuss. We are certainly unlikely to see the conflicts that we saw in 2011. In saying that, expect some traditional or long serving governments to fall this year, and expect those that replace them to be led by new governments or structures that put the family and traditional values at the heart of everything they do. New governments or rulers that begin this year are likely to be in power for a long time, the last year of the water dragon saw the start of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II which is still going strong 60 years later.

In this year of the water dragon there will be a general sense of optimism and an emphasis that anyone can achieve anything. People power will topple one long standing family ruler in a country but not in the way that was seen in 2011. It is likely to be a very quick process that ends almost before it begins. We are also likely to see the formation of a new major charity or charitable event this year, one which has a global reach and could well start to change the world.

As far as the natural world is concerned in 2012 there is a high likelihood, unfortunately, that we will see more natural disasters. I predict that major flooding will affect two major cities or countries this year and later in the year the world will see ferocious tropical storms that are stronger than many yet experienced. A major relief effort will need to start this year which is likely to be led by a group of people rather than by a government. With the stronger sense of optimism in the financial markets we can also expect to see some of the wealthiest individuals in the world make some major philanthropic gestures to support those most in need.

Turning our attention to an individual level, the year of the water dragon is a good time to start a new business, begin a new relationship, get married or learn a new skill. Businesses, alliances and learning are likely to succeed and have long lasting benefits, providing that careful thought and planning has gone in to them. Dragon years can be rocky years for the unwary so do not try a get rich quick scheme or get married on the spur of the moment. This is definitely a year for slow and steady accumulation not speculation.

To make the most of the opportunities that the year of the water dragon is going to bring, there are a number of Feng Shui enhancements you can make in your own home. When enhancing your home through Feng Shui always make sure that any cure or enhancement you put in place does not negatively affect the existing flow of energy around your home and is placed with intention. My web pages on Intention and Chi will help you understand these practices if you are uncertain.

Feng Shui Enhancements for the Year of the Water Dragon

Welcome in the year of the water dragon by hanging a wooden wind chime in the east or north east of your garden. Other enhancements you can make to this area of your garden are to place a picture or a statue of a dragon or to plant a fruit tree (cherry, plum or peach are best)

If you do not have a garden you can hang a picture of a dragon, or place a small dragon ornament in the east or north east area of your home. If you are placing a dragon ornament it is best if it made out of crystal, wood, stone or ceramic.

If you are starting a new business enhance the career and knowledge areas of your home this year. These areas are in the north and north east of your home. Good enhancements to make in the career area include placing a small indoor fountain, hanging a picture of a stream or waterfall or placing a small crystal dragon in a prominent place. In the knowledge area a stone or ceramic dragon, a small indoor garden or a square bowl filled with carnelian crystals can be beneficial.

If you are getting married this year create a small display in your relationship area filled with plants, candles and crystal dragons. The relationship area is the south west area of your home. A beautiful indoor garden can be created filled with miniature roses, two pink candles and two small crystal dragons. Scatter rose quartz or amethyst crystals across the surface of your indoor garden and after you are married place a small photograph of your wedding day in the centre. Not only will this help your relationship be everlasting but it will also serve as a lovely reminder of your special day for years to come.

If you are beginning a new course, learning a new skill or taking qualifications this year you can help this area of your life by placing a ceramic or stone dragon in the knowledge area of your home (the north east area), or in your study or the room where you learn. Other enhancements you can make to this area this year are buying a pot plant which is displayed in this area of your home or filling a bowl with crystals and placing this on your desk. Excellent plants to buy for this area of your home are indoor plants that flower in the spring and the best crystals to use in this area are Green Fluorite, Carnelian or Amethyst.

I hope that you have found this article useful and are looking forward to the year of the water dragon with positivity and optimism. All that is left for me to do is to wish you a happy new year and to hope that this year brings everything you hope for.

Bearded Dragon Breeders – How to Avoid Pitfalls

Plenty of people will tell you that if you’re in the marketplace for a bearded dragon as a pet, you need to avoid heading to the local pet store, and there might be a good reason behind this recommendation. To be truthful, there are lots of breeders out there breeding the bearded dragon, in reality just about all bearded dragons available to the general public, will be captive bred reptiles, supplied by bearded dragon breeders.

One of the problems related to purchasing your pet from a pet store is the incontrovertible fact that the pet store customarily gets their supply from a pet wholesaler who will obtain bearded dragons in bulk from assorted breeders, without first checking the quality of the lizards, or the breeders. You’ve got to remember the issue for the wholesaler is not about pet care or a love for bearded dragons. The wholesaler has just one target and that’s to turn a profit in all sales.

So, like any other market in the world we reside in, there are always going to be bad breeders and great breeders, and the bulk of breeders will fall somewhere between these 2 points. The issue is that without taking care to choose only high quality stock to supply the pet stores, the wholesaler will just obtain the number he has to make his money. He doesn’t care about the quality, because once the pet store takes delivery that’s generally the end of the accountability for the wholesaler.

Being the pet store cannot afford to have each animal it buys in checked by a vet, the possibilities are fairly high the stock may actually have mites, or bugs, or other conditions.

Often this is even picked up by the reptiles as a consequence of being kept and shipped with lots of other animals, some who could be infected. Unless you know what you’re looking for, you won’t always know that your selected dragon is sick. Reptiles tend to cover symptoms, and bearded dragon breeders know this.

On the other hand it creates a lot of sense to look for a breeder in your neighborhood or close by, who has a reputation and a history in providing dragons. A breeder will usually certify the health and well being of reptiles from their grounds, and most good bearded dragon breeders will do whatever they can to be certain you’ve got the right dragon for your situation. They have their business image to guard, and they desire your repeat business. After all there isn’t any middle man concerned in this process, it is just you and the vendor.

Dedicated bearded dragon breeders will pride themselves on not only delivering a better quality reptile to you, they will be the best folks to find recommendation about the breed, and the people to gain from as to how best raise and care for your new pet. They’re folk who spend all of their time breeding, raising, feeding and caring for young and adult bearded dragons, and due to this, they might be considered the best folk to be purchasing from.

Glaringly when working with bearded dragon breeders, you must treat the arrangement as though it were any other business arrangement. Raise questions and expect answers, till you are satisfied the breeder has been about for a very long time, and they know what they are talking about. Get a clear communication channel opened with them, so that when you do purchase from them, you can contact as urgently as you must for the support you could need.

It is a good idea NOT to buy from online sources.