The difference between success and failure can often be very small, and yet relatively few people make their dreams of success come true. Why is that, and what steps can be taken to ensure success? Great amounts of energy have already been devoted to this subject, but now a TV series shows budding entrepreneurs attempting to get financial backing in order to grow their idea. It makes fascinating viewing!
Enter the Dragons’ Den — a six-part TV series shown on the UK’s BBC2 channel. The format of the show revolves around a handful of selected fledgling entrepreneurs making their sales pitches to five already established entrepreneurs, in the hope of securing a specific amount of funding to grow their idea and business. It is interesting to see their ideas, how the people come across when attempting to sell their idea, and how they respond to a grilling session before the five potential investors. The investors speak their minds so it is very entertaining.
After hearing the pitch, the investors ask questions and elicit actual and projected figures from the hopeful candidate. If they like what they see, they may make an offer for a certain percentage of the idea/business. The offer may be for all, or only part of the required amount the pitcher demands. The other investors may join in, in making a partial offer too. Only if the complete amount of required funding is secured does the budding entrepreneur walk away with the money, otherwise he leaves with nothing.
The show’s host is Evan Davies, who is the BBC’s economics editor. The five “dragons” are:
- Doug Richard, an American who made his money buying and selling software companies, and who now runs Library House, a venture capital company based in Cambridge, England
- Rachel Elnaugh, who made her money creating her experiences company called Red Letter Days (now sold to Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis). She is now involved in expanding EasyArt.com.
- Duncan Bannatyne, a Scotsman who made his money trading in cars, ice cream, nursing homes, and now in health clubs, and a casino, bar & hotel. See here.
- Peter Jones, an entrepreneur who started his own tennis academy at 16 and now manages a group of companies across diverse fields such as software, communications, publishing and entertainment: see his website here
- Theo Paphitis, A Cypriot who came to the UK aged 6 and who now runs successfully rescued companies like Rymans and La Senza lingerie
What is refreshing to see, is that although the dragons appear invincible, in fact they have all had their fair share of failure too.
So far, there have been two series shown. If this sounds interesting you can download in DIVX format programmes from the series here. They are currently available, so hurry! After registering (it’s free), you will need a Bittorrent client like Azureus to download the programs. Enjoy!
For more information on the series, see here.
Of course, these entrepreneurs are not pure philanthropists, giving their time freely and expecting nothing in return. They know the exposure they get from this TV series will boost their businesses’ profitability. However, I particularly like the helpful advice they give for those that are interested in listening and learning: