What its really like going on Dragons Den…
A little run-through of my experience in the Den. Preparation, Pitching, Questioning & Aftermath!
A RANDOM PHONECALL…
On a random weekday afternoon, I received a phonecall from a producer of Dragons Den saying they like the sound of my business and would love to hear some more via a zoom call. My first thought was ‘is this a scam phonecall?!’. I did a bit of research, looked up the producer’s name & email and then realised it wasn’t a scam. My excitement starts to kick in…
The zoom call goes well (very relaxed and conversational rather than intense questioning) and they seemed interested in me and my business. A few weeks later they say they’d love to hear me pitch on another call, so I began writing my pitch and practising it relentlessly! I pitched and received some great feedback (they still seemed keen…phew!).
PAPERWORK PAPERWORK PAPERWORK
Now the barrage of paperwork started… they wanted proof of EVERYTHING (University Degree Certificate, Company Accounts, Insurance details, Emails with potential buyers etc etc). I think I had to send 25 separate pieces of documentation for them to review. After a long weekend of gathering these docs, i sent them via email and now it was time to wait…
Fast forward a month or so when one afternoon as I was casually squishing raspberries through a sieve, I get a phonecall from the producer. She invites us to Manchester to film the Dragons Den in May! Now it’s really time to prep and perfect my pitch. I decide to pull on the heart strings of the Dragons and take my Mum to hand out samples (she is involved in the making of our pops after all!). After weeks of drilling my pitch, I remembered it word for word 9.5 times out of 10!
ITS GO TIME
It was then time to drive to Manchester. Fast forward to the morning of the Den. Still feeling fine. We head to the studio for 7am and I meet the other businesses pitching that day. We are told we will be on in the morning which I was very happy about. A few more hours of waiting and we are told our spot is being pushed to the afternoon. A few more hours of waiting and we are pushed back again. I think we finally got on at about 3pm (8hours of waiting!). Next thing you know, I’m stood at the (fake) lift doors waiting for them to open…
A BROKEN LIGHT?!
BOOM! Doors open, I walk to the X on the floor and look up to all the dragons staring at me. They are way closer than I anticipated! I start my pitch which is going great and then I feel a tap on my shoulder and a producer says one of their lights broke and that I need to walk back into the lift, back out, and start over from the beginning. Just what I need, great! I redo the pitch (which went pretty well for someone that hates pitching!) and the first thing I hear from Peter is “Mmmmmm” when tasting my ice pops.
THE POPS ARE A HIT
My Ice Pops are a hit with all the Dragons, phew! Then it was time for questions. I try to stay super focused on answering all questions to the best of my ability without the intrusive thought of “wtf im actually on Dragons Den”.
Most of the questions they asked I had planned answers for and at this point I think it’s going pretty decent. Peter seems confused about the product and didnt see the market opportunity. They all agree I’m too early & the business is too small (which is what was expecting) and that I don’t need investment at this time.
IM OUT IM OUT IM OUT IM OUT
It ends by Steven saying he gets a strong sense of resilience from me and that I’m going to make it. This is followed by four “Im outs” which pretty much happen one after another. Whilst walking back to the lift I experience a whirlpool of emotions. I’m then rushed into doing some post Den interviews. I realise I was in the Den for around 1hr 45 mins. Still to this day it was all a bit of a blur! Next thing you know I’m back in Nottingham with no investment.
As I mentioned earlier, I was slightly worried my business was too early/small at this stage, however was never going to say no to such an opportunity. Overall, the Dragons were pretty friendly, the BBC producers & employees were great and the experience was definitely a positive one. I would recommend for any budding entrepreneurs to give it a go if they get the chance but not to be too worried about the result (tons of businesses that get no’s make it and tons of businesses that get yes’s don’t make it!)
If you want to try our amazing ice pops the Dragons all loved, click the link below:
Thanks for reading if you made it this far!