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‘Dragons Den’ BBC TV Series – Success Stories

Dragons Den BBC2 TV Series is unlike any other reality TV show in that there is something more at stake than the contestants’ pride. In front of some the richest and most successful businessmen and women in Britain members of the public pitch their products, ideas and their business acumen in the hopes of securing an investment that could turn their businesses and their lives around in a way that most can only dream of. The aim of the game is not to win but simply to make a life changing business agreement. The stakes are real, as is the money.

Whilst many of the ‘budding entrepreneurs’ that have entered the Dragons Den over the past five years have only succeeded in winning the dragons’ distain, an equal number have also made a lasting impression on them, winning not only their investment but also their valued advice. A number of the winning ideas featured on the Dragons Den TV show are now making their mark on the business world and we are witnessing the rise of a new business empire, controlled by the Dragons and made stronger by the wide-scale publicity that the show offers.

Perhaps the most successful of all the products featured on Dragons Den UK, however, has been reggae singer Levi’s brand of Jamaican BBQ sauce. Levi has been successfully selling his Reggae Reggae Sauce at the Notting Hill festival for the past fifteen years but with the help of Dragons Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh demand has exploded. Reggae Reggae Sauce can now be found on the shelves of major UK supermarkets.

Despite a shaky start on the show Ray Smith’s Magic Pizza – a device for ensuring that microwave pizzas do not go soggy in the middle – was also snapped up by the Dragons Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis, much to the delight of the thousands of pizza fans across the UK. Ray Smith has since been added to the gallery of Dragons Den success stories with his innovative product selling to single men, students and busy mums up and down the country. Other Dragons Den success stories include the i-teddy, the Cuddledry range of baby and toddler towels, the Concentrate range of school and college accessories and many more.

One of the most famous products from the Dragons Den are Trunki suitcases – colourful ride-on suitcases for kids, which was unsuccessful in securing funding from the dragons but has since gone on to become a great success story.

Ice Blading boots were a successful product pitch in which Theo Phaphitis invested. He loved the idea of these sohphisticated inline skates which allowed you to move like an ice skater but without the ice. They are being launched in 2009 so we are looking forward to see how successful this Dragon’s Den Product is.

With such successful deals being made right on our TV screens it is clear that Dragon’s Den is more than just another BBC reality show. It is helping to shape the business landscape of the UK and giving us an opportunity to see how the big boys play. For those of us with an idea to pitch and the guts to go up against the Dragons, this BBC2 TV show is also an opportunity to make it big by winning the interests of both the Dragons and the nation.

Business Books From The Dragons’ Den

Five of the UK’s leading multi-millionaire, serial entrepreneurs sit on the panel of the Dragons’ Den deciding whether or not to invest in business propositions. Successful applicants are few due to the many years experience of the Dragons whose advice should really be heeded, but often isn’t on the program.

After making their case the pitchees face a grilling from the panel who decide whether or not to take a stake in the company being pitched. Generally, they do not bother as the prudent questioning usually picks holes in the proposal being examined. However, some people do a good enough job to convince one or more Dragons to invest.

The Dragons have vast experience across a wide spectrum of business sectors and anyone who ends up working with one or more of them benefits greatly from their experience and knowledge. They all invest from time to time and continue to look for opportunities. They are not the type of people to stand still.

It follows that if these people are worth listening to the books they write are probably worth reading too. That’s assuming that the book in question concerns their specialty; making profits with successfully run businesses.

It is often said that success breeds success, so if you are a business person and would like to be successful hanging out with successful people like the Dragons would be a good idea. Failing that reading their books would be a viable second option. The question then is which book to choose, or which Dragon’s book to choose.

The obvious choice would be to choose a book written by your favourite Dragon, although a wiser option would be to choose the one with the greater experience in a field closer to your own. Each Dragon has a wide portfolio of business experience but still have specialties; Duncan Bannatyne – Care Homes, Health Clubs/Spa’s; Deborah Meadon – holiday company; Hilary Devey – Transportation and distribution; Peter Jones – technology; Theo Paphitis – retail, property, finance and consumer goods.

On the other hand, each probably has sufficient skills to make a business with potential in any sector do very well, so a particular Dragon’s speciality may not be critical. For most businesses appearing on the Dragons’ Den program, pitching to the panel and eventually getting the required investment is not an option. But spending the time reading one of the Dragons’ books is more realistic and could potentially provide the no-nonsense advice required to give your company the boost it requires for growth in the present economic climate.

The books of the present and past Dragons are readily available, from Amazon and elsewhere, good value and packed with the kind of advice that only years of experience can offer. There’s very little to lose and possibly a huge amount to gain. So what’s stopping you?

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.