A look at the highs and lows experienced by the many entrepreneurs who have entered the Den, examining the ingredients required for a successful pitch.
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This is the Dragons' Den.
Over the last six years,
700 entrepreneurs have walked up the stairs, looking for investment.
Before them, five of Britain's most successful business brains,
collectively worth a reported £1 billion.
Convincing them to part with their cash isn't easy,
but tonight, they've agreed to share their tips for success...
..from the initial idea to the pitch.
Are you ready for the alternative?
From the business plan...
The tidiest patent that I've ever seen.
-..to the negotiation.
-10% in total.
These are the business secrets that work outside the Den and within...
-..revealed by the Dragons themselves
and the brave entrepreneurs who've dared to stand before them.
Tonight on How To Win In The Den, we examine the pitch.
Romeo meets Juliet.
It's a little bit harsh to expect
-your dog to hold his bladder for hours on end. Right, Trish?
From a school assembly to a job interview or a wedding speech,
presentation and communication are skills we all need.
Feeling difficult, this.
In life, all the time, we're presenting ourselves,
we're selling ourselves, so we're pitching.
Be confident about yourself, be sure about what you want.
It just takes a millisecond to lose your trail of thought.
I don't know my figures!
You just can't recover from it.
If you like, I'll show you and let you see it work.
If you don't believe, don't do it. You've got to put
your whole heart into it.
Now the Dragons are catching up with their investments...
-He's a beauty.
-..and revisiting some of those they sent packing...
Gosh, you're not being serious? You haven't even got the .com?
..as they break down the rules of engagement...
Make yourself understood.
-Grab their attention.
Let the inner you shine through.
You've got to rehearse.
Be honest and be credible.
..whether you want to make money or just be heard.
These are the lessons you need to know
if you want to be pitch perfect.
-It's another year,
and the Dragons are back in the Den to film a ninth series.
It's amazing how you step back into Dragons' Den.
It completely takes over your life.
And this year, logistics millionaire Hilary Devey joined the team.
This is my seat.
Probably the most uncomfortable, I would say!
Duncan's got the best. But then...
That was my seat, and I loved that seat,
but they gave it to you because they didn't want you stuck on the end.
Yeah, cos you're such a gentleman(!)
The days in the Den are long, and the Dragons sit through
hours and hours of pitches.
So, if you want them to sit up and take notice,
you have to stimulate them.
The visual impact is actually mega important.
It's like the first piece of your presentation.
So, the Dragons' first rule of pitching is
to make a good impression.
The Dragons are human beings. They need something that'll get their attention, get them excited,
that'll arouse a little bit of passion.
'The first impression is always important, in all walks of life.'
# Come and taste some salsas with me! #
It's the same as coming on the Den.
And no matter how many pitches they sit through, the Dragons have
learned that they can't predict what will come up the stairs.
-We've had a pig...
-This pig is worth its weight in gold.
..loads of dogs...
But remember, an entertaining pitch doesn't always get investment.
You've got to remember that, if you do that,
you raise people's expectation levels.
# Dance at Razzamatazz, yeah! #
You can make real bad mistakes
by getting that visual impact completely wrong
and not correlate it to your business.
It's a total waste of time, thinking you're going to schmooze
a Dragon just because you've come on and done a little bit of a dance.
# Jump, jump, jump up to the sky... #
You haven't got a brand, so for that reason, I'm out.
One man who takes presentation very seriously is
ex-radio presenter Bob Davies.
Bob entered the Den this year,
looking for investment in his entertainment concept.
I'm here today to ask you for a £50,000 cash injection
for a 20% share in a brand-new company that will
manufacture and market an interactive game challenge.
He looked fantastic. Bow tie... Who wears a bow tie these days, man?!
Good on you, Bob!
This is a business presentation.
'You wouldn't walk into your bank manager with an open shirt
'and a pair of tatty jeans and trainers, would you?'
As a seasoned showman, Bob knew how to play the crowd
and wasn't hesitant in giving his product the hard sell.
I've been in the event industry for just over 25 years.
I've worked for many large companies, and small,
and one thing that is apparent in order to maintain their market share,
they will have to do one of the following.
That is to organise an exhibition,
staff motivation, maybe a charity event,
to create PR as well, and certainly just maybe a good old bash.
This product clearly ticks all of the boxes.
I wanted to keep the cover on as long as I possibly could
so everything was there.
So, before we take the cover off, this really has so much potential.
Five revenue streams.
Bob, it'd better be good! That's all I've got to say!
It sounds it, though, doesn't it?!
-It is good.
-Get on with it!
Dragons, are you ready
for the alternative that everyone is waiting for?
This is Bob's Box.
Immediately, new Dragon Hilary Devey stepped forward
to play Bob's interactive game, giving him
an opportunity to demonstrate his product.
'When Hilary said, "Can I have a go?" '
and she got into the machine, she saw then the potential.
It's been used by a couple of exhibition companies,
twice by two TV production companies.
It's highly visual, we are ready to take it to market right now.
-That's where I need your help.
-Tell me a bit about yourself and your background.
I'm MD of an event company.
I'm known in the event trade as the car showroom king.
Whenever there's a car launch being facilitated,
I'm an approved supplier for events.
Bob's experience in the events industry was impressive,
but Duncan Bannatyne was perplexed
about why he hadn't offered the Dragons
a share of his already-established business.
Why not put that in your existing company,
going to make some money from this,
-as well as what we're doing already?
There is no real total objection to that.
If I could have my time again and go up the stairs...
Go up the stairs and come back and say that to me.
In a Den first, Bob was told to go back down the stairs.
I didn't think it was going to work from then on, to be honest!
But he seized the opportunity to pitch again.
'That was a real big lifeline.'
I came back up the stairs and said, "Hello, my name's Bob Davies..."
I'm here today to offer you a 20% equity share in my company,
which is currently very successful in its own marketplace.
With a better deal on the table, it was over to the Dragons,
but they weren't buying into the concept.
I'm going to wish you the real best of luck, but I'm out.
It's not investable, I'm out.
As lovely as you are, I won't be investing in you. I'm out.
Only Hilary Devey and Duncan Bannatyne were left.
Would they see something the other Dragons had missed?
Bob, I really wish I could find a reason to invest in you.
I've got to say, I'm sorry, Bob, but I'm out.
OK, thank you, Duncan.
I could see that working at a corporate event.
I could see that bringing to my own business's corporate event.
I'd like to make you an offer. 50K for 20%...
..of your new product and your unique ideas, initially.
The new Dragon wanted a share of both the game
and Bob's event business,
but would Bob be prepared to give so much away?
I look forward to working with you, Bob!
' # Bring me sunshine... # '
I was so happy, it just...
I was on the floor, and the barometer went, whoosh!
'Cyclone, we can do it!'
I'm just so, so pleased. It's a dream come true.
I've been working on the project for two years.
As a small business, as a person that has a dream,
to make it come true, it's... Words can't say it, perhaps...
it's time for some emotions.
After hundreds of hours spent developing his game,
Bob now has a multi-millionaire
with her own successful events company on board.
We did it.
But for Hilary, the hard work has only just begun.
He's got to learn -
God gave us two of these and one of these, and use them wisely.
We did it, son. We did it.
Two weeks later, Bob is on his way to meet his new business partner
and he's keen to prove that he will make a reliable one.
We'll bring out the business side,
and she can see there is two halves to this guy, both good halves.
Hilary often works from home, and her base here in central London
is where many of her high-level meetings take place.
This is my business pad. It's not everybody's taste, I might add.
So what does Hilary expect from her investment?
Good to see you.
'I sacrificed my whole life to get my business to where it is today.'
So you've dressed up for me again, Bob!
Perhaps nobody will make the self-sacrifices I made,
but I hope they will make some self-sacrifice.
I've got some things that I need to talk to you about.
After the Den, every deal goes through a meticulous process
of due diligence, so now Bob will have to answer
some tricky questions.
Try and talk me through why, in 1997, when you bought that business,
you had a turnover of 400,000...
-..but you've then dropped to where you're at now,
which is 86K, you're projecting this year.
-86 was last year's figures.
-You only took a salary of 12K.
Clearly, you've not had
any commercial input into your business at all.
What you've done is allow 14 years to happen
with a degenerating revenue stream,
and not really thought about why this is happening.
Do you have monthly management accounts?
Erm... I look at... No...
I don't like it.
-And I will be enforcing that on you.
-With Hilary on board,
it's clear that Bob will need to pay more attention
to the way he runs his business.
-What I think about you is, you're jumping around.
What we've got to do is focus this business in one direction.
Hilary, I feel like I'm the oldest apprentice in town.
-Every single day, you learn something.
-Every single day.
I appreciate that.
We're going to put every effort we can into this to try and make it work.
'I'm sure if anybody can rein Bob in, I can.'
I've got to get him to start thinking more commercially
than acting as a compere or a master of ceremonies.
Hilary is unimpressed with Bob's business acumen,
but he's determined to show her he can make a success of the game.
So, he's invited her down to the South Bank to see it in action.
If you can take the challenge, go for gold.
I'm hoping that he gets a fantastic reaction from the public.
Cos that will demonstrate to me
that it is a business that's going to work.
It's called the Cyclone Game Cube.
Hilary already owns an events business,
and her plan is to incorporate Bob's concept
into her successful portfolio.
I have no problems turning everything around so I can prove
I do have that business head.
-What did you think of the game?
-It was brilliant. We had a lot of fun.
It was brilliant, yeah.
-Awesome! Absolutely awesome!
The public have spoken, but is Hilary convinced that
the Cyclone Game Cube has a profitable future?
We've had people from Ireland, from Sweden, from North Carolina.
There hasn't been one negative response.
That's surely got to be a very positive sign.
Bob has pulled out all the stops
-to show the Dragon there is value in his company.
-Off you go.
His business may have been in decline,
but Hilary is convinced that, with her help,
they will turn things around.
Today has really given me
an insight into the true opportunity of this as a business venture.
That, to me, has enthused me to take this business to the next level.
Over the years, the Den has seen hundreds of people
make presentations before the Dragons.
If they want investment,
they need to make sure that everything goes to plan.
There's a slight panic to make sure
that it's actually going to work when we set it up!
So, the next lesson from the Dragons is simple - practice makes perfect.
It amazes me how often you see people who go in
and look as though they're delivering this really for the first time.
Practise in front of people.
Practise it, practise it, then come along and say it succinctly.
I'm sorry, I've really lost it. I do apologise.
And there's one element of the pitch that,
if left unrehearsed, can dash your hopes of an investment.
The Knowledge - the premium-rate telephone helpline.
You have to practise your demonstration.
Murphy's law says the day you do a demonstration, it's going to fail.
-I'm never going to call you again, because it doesn't work.
Do not assume anything.
So, who looks like they could have done with another rehearsal?
HE PLAYS BADLY
One person who came across as unprepared was Samantha Gore.
I'm seizing the moment and I'm here today
to pitch for £275,000 for 10% of my company.
She entered the Den in 2008 with her invention,
designed to deter criminals.
I will start... If you would like to guess what it is...
Now, there's two... Right.
MUSIC PLAYS FROM BOX
It's an occupancy simulator.
It's quite difficult to see
from the... It's a TV, a fake TV.
What's going on? I haven't got a clue.
-You've lost me.
-A fake TV?
No, it's not, it's like a radio.
She demonstrated a product, and we all said, "What does it do?"
That's my mistake - black's going to absorb it.
The white's going to reflect it. Sorry, sorry.
When entrepreneurs come onto the Den and they've not prepared,
I think there's no excuse for that.
One of the worst pitches that I've ever heard.
And if you don't get it right the first time,
for heaven's sake, make sure you get it right the second time.
Hardly anyone comes back to the Den, but a year later, Samantha was given
a second chance to pitch a new range of security blinds and curtains.
I think this is going to be the best product that's ready to go now.
It's my retrofit curtain closers.
'It was really strange.'
I was absolutely flabbergasted when it didn't work.
I've tested it a million times.
It was just practice - I should have practised a lot more.
Samantha went back to doing what she does best.
Running her chain of Japanese restaurants.
But she's not giving up on her security inventions,
which she says have sold in their hundreds online.
We've expanded the restaurants,
plus I've been doing my electronics as well.
So I've continued just to work harder than I've ever worked in my life.
Another pitch that famously went awry was James Seddon,
who stood before the Dragons five years ago
with his electric egg cooker invention.
It's a sort of toaster for eggs.
Yeah, the egg cooker... legendary, legendary.
As soon as it's finished, it beeps, and that's it, it's done.
I forgot to put the egg in!
He's nearly as much of a legend as me, actually!
Tried three times to demonstrate that this egg thing could actually
boil his egg perfectly.
-I'm afraid this one hasn't cooked properly, I'm sorry to say.
You go, "Ooh, no!" You're like, "Oh!"
-For some reason...
-Why didn't this one work?
-I haven't got a clue.
You think, "You idiot! It's your big moment and you completely spoilt it!"
It does work, I promise you.
But five years on, the product still isn't ready to be mass-produced.
Remortgaged my house, almost mortgaged my kids.
If it doesn't work soon, we're in deep trouble.
There we are - five years to cook an egg!
The knee-trembling walk up the steps into the Dragons' Den can mean
only one thing to our dry-mouthed entrepreneurs -
their pitch is about to begin.
I'm very, very nervous.
I'm absolutely petrified to be going on there.
I'm just praying that I don't fall to pieces!
A few lucky entrepreneurs get it right. But many don't. They dry up.
Er, we're, er...
So, the next tip from the Dragons is absolutely imperative.
Keep your nerve.
Going into the Den is incredibly nerve-wracking.
You're physically...just very slightly out of breath,
cos you've been climbing up some stairs.
No-one says, "Thank you for coming to the Den,
"what would you like to show us?"
You have to start from cold.
'You have to be able to tell the potential investor'
what your idea is.
Musiccontrol will offer...
-How it works.
Account to royalty collection agencies.
-If you can't do that, there's no point going on.
-They start sweating, they lose their lines.
And before you know it, they're buffoons.
-Hello, I'm Peter.
I've completely lost it.
-You can hear the nervousness in the voices.
You would be investing in HandyGirl as a brand.
My heart goes out to them.
It's currently going through CAA certification.
They do have to get their act together pretty quickly.
'Business is tough.'
'You just have to get out there'
and you've got to step up and deliver.
So, what advice do the Dragons have for people who find
the prospect of entering the Den terrifying?
Take a sip of water, take a step back and start again.
I'll start again - compose myself.
I used to sing Eye Of The Tiger. In my mind.
# Da-da-daaa, da-da-daaa Da-da-da, da da da da-da. #
One person who froze before the Dragons was Andy Harmer,
who entered the Den in 2007 to pitch his idea for an agency of lookalikes.
-I thought it was my birthday - David Beckham arrives into the Den.
-He looked fabulous!
-My name's Andy Harmer.
My company name is the Double Dates.
My idea is a celebrity entertainment concept which allows
the everyday person to be a celebrity for the day.
'I'd nailed my pitch before then. I was confident...
'until I messed up my first line...'
And that's how I lost what I was going to say.
What my concept is...
Bless him, I felt so sorry for him.
He just totally forgot what he was talking about.
He was just standing there saying, "I can't talk."
I totally... I can't talk.
Oh, my God! Oh!
Here's a man who's supposed to be in the entertainment world,
going to be on the stage and doing all that.
'I thought, that's weird.'
'It's the lights beaming down on you.
'You start to sweat.'
The Dragons just saying nothing.
'It just builds up the pressure.'
I was virtually THAT close to pretending to faint.
I... What I've done is I've created... I can't talk!
Luckily for Andy, Will Smith and Captain Jack Sparrow were there to support him.
How are you doing, Dragons? All right?
We've got exclusivity contracts with Grosvenor Casinos, celebrity nightclubs, recording studios
photo studios and limousine companies.
Obviously, with all of my celebrity doubles.
If you lose track, you've got to focus,
regroup and work out a way of getting back on track.
Fortunately, Deborah Meaden was on hand to clear up the situation.
You've got some celebrity lookalikes and you're offering people
to be able to hire them for the day to do celebrity-type stuff.
It's not just the celebrity lookalike. It's the whole day.
-That's what I mean by the celebrity-type stuff.
-Is that in a nutshell?
-Should have had me doing your pitch for you.
But anything can happen in the Den,
and Andy's fortunes were about to change.
You need money to tell people out there
the service that you're willing to offer.
-Andy, I'm afraid I don't agree with Peter.
-You can phone these people up...
-But he's got that now.
-But he's not doing it now.
-But he won't...
'Then the dragons started to actually LIKE my idea
'and started to argue'
I thought, maybe, from the bad start, I could turn this around.
I'd put up £50,000
and I'd want 25%.
A shock offer from former Dragon James Caan meant Andy
had half the money, but would another one be interested?
You ain't going to make it happen with my 100,000 quid,
so I'm afraid I'm out.
And to help you out, Andy, I'm out.
Then I thought, maybe Peter, maybe.
I don't just think it's good, I think it's fantastic. I think it has a huge potential.
Are you going to get £100,000? This is the question.
And I don't see the fact that I could get a return on the money.
That's the only reason why I'm out.
Without Peter Jones, there was no chance of investment.
For Andy, it was an experience he'd rather forget.
Since the Den, if I'm in a situation where I can't get my words out,
I get that Dragons' Den feeling. It's like, "Oh, no."
'Maybe the business side of it isn't my strength. I'm an ideas person. I come up with great ideas.'
But after his unfortunate performance in the Den,
life got even tougher for Andy.
Recession hit, and it was kind of like a time
when people stopped spending money.
At one point I was even busking. I put a sign down on the floor saying, "Busk It Like Beckham".
But Andy was determined to make money from his collective of lookalikes.
MUSIC: Intro to "Disco Inferno"
He found a business partner, and together,
they created an act called the Chippendoubles.
They reached the semifinal of talent show Britain's Got Talent
and have since billed over £80,000 for appearances.
Guys...THAT was extraordinary.
But with seven people to pay, Andy's profit margins are low.
I still wanted to create a celebrity experience that showed
a better return, an idea that would potentially make me rich.
And now they have a business plan that he hopes will make millions.
I feel like we've come up with the idea with Vipeo.
It's an online greetings card service that features... well-known celebrities.
Andy and his partner have spent 10K developing the idea,
which requires them to visit the VIP's home and record them
saying every popular first name.
Users can then visit the website
and send a personalised message to their friends from the VIP.
The first celebrities featured are fellow Britain's Got Talent contestants Stavros Flatley.
But the product is a long way from launch.
To get the service online, they'll need an investor with deep pockets.
Our new product is called Vipeo, it's personalised VIP videos.
Andy feels the time is right to face Peter Jones again
and has set up a meeting.
-Personalised celebrity e-cards.
-It doesn't have to be...
Fortunately this time,
he'll be joined by business partner Lee, who's worked in sales and marketing for six years.
I've found a business partner that I've taken on their advice,
and we've been very strong as a team.
Clearer, straight to the point. Much better.
'Getting the chance to meet Peter again is a chance'
to redeem myself a bit, I suppose.
It's the day of the meeting.
And to make sure his idea stands out,
Andy has once again enlisted the help of his lookalike colleagues.
I'm really keen to see what his business idea is,
but more importantly, will he hold it together?
Peter will see you now.
All right, Peter? You got a minute? Yeah? Just...
introduce you to a couple of my mates. Come on.
Obviously, you know who she is.
-Good afternoon, ma'am.
-You know who he is.
-David, hello, David.
The real reason why we're here is that we've got a couple of friends that have got a little idea
-they want to put to you.
-Ah! It's Andy!
-Come and say hello.
-I recognise Andy!
-Andy and Lee.
-Good to see you again.
-Good to see you.
With Peter's experience in telecoms, he is the perfect fit
for their business, but will Andy and his partner persuade him to invest?
I've got five minutes, so over to you.
Right. The company's called Vipeo, and it stands for VIP Videos.
Vipeo is an online store of personalised celebrity e-cards.
I'll show you an example.
This message is to say thank you ever so. You're a star!
So anybody, anywhere, anytime, can purchase one of these
if they've got a device which has mobile browsing capabilities.
Someone such as Stavros Flatley -
he has 1.6 million Facebook followers, so if we converted 1% of his fans
at a unit price of £2 in a year, that would generate £32,000 of revenue alone.
Extrapolate that to three years and 100 million celebrity fans,
and you're looking at £2 million.
We feel that the concept and scale of it is bigger than the two of us
and we're looking for this support.
I've got to say, Andy, it's definitely a better pitch
-than you made in the Den.
And you've got a business partner, which is something that I felt you really needed.
But will Peter be interested in helping them get their business off the ground?
-How much money are you looking for?
-It will be £86,000.
-Have you got the .com?
We've got .co.uk. The .com is owned by a company in Germany.
Guys, you can't be serious? You haven't even got the .com?
-First thing you've got to do, surely?
Get the .com?
You want to build an international business online, it's just a .co.uk.
Who's going to see that?
The pitch has suffered an early setback,
but hopefully Peter will look beyond the lack of web presence.
-Have you recorded with any key celebrities?
-Who've you done?
-We've recorded with Stavros, we've got some other reality TV...
-And what does he get out of it?
-We're going to give him 50% of the revenue.
But you've already given him half your profit?
There's a new type of celebrity at the moment, reality TV.
They're in the shop window for a short period
and they try to maximise that opportunity,
so things like this would be ideal for them as well.
So you record them, spend all the money, you get the downloads initially,
they're finished tomorrow?
You've got to get real, proper, decent celebs.
You need a message from Robbie Williams.
All of these people are going to look at you and think,
"Do I really want to go and spend an hour and a half in a studio
"with Tom, Dick and Fred, who've got a Handycam?"
We did one with the David Brent lookalike
and people absolutely loved it.
-I would go out and trial with a few others.
-And would you see us again?
I would see you again. If it got a following,
and I felt that you could have traction, then I would.
The message from Peter is clear - prove the business can work,
and there's a chance he might help out.
There's a lot more work to do,
but the pair leave with their heads held high.
I didn't mess my words up, it was better than last time.
My fear of public speaking, I suppose,
I have overcome it this time.
Andy, this time, held himself together.
He must've taken quite a few deep breaths before he came into the office.
He was very calm, actually.
He wants to see it piloted first, get it up and running,
but he's going to be looking over it, so...
-Drinks all around!
'It's not a bad idea, you know. I think people would probably do it.'
You might get the celebrities to say, "I'll give you an hour of my time,
"cos I might make a few thousand pounds every week after just doing a quick video."
And if he takes away what I've said and comes back, who knows?
You never know.
This is the Dragons' guide to pitching and presentation,
six lessons that can help all of us improve our public speaking skills.
When it comes to audiences,
they don't get much tougher than these five business brains.
People will try anything to win over the Dragons.
I'm confident the Dragons will like me, and they'll love my tie.
But being likeable isn't something that comes naturally to us all.
No way I would get involved in you and the way you sell it.
So the next lesson is simple - whatever you do,
don't offend your audience.
-Please let me finish, Theo.
-No, I'm not going to let you finish unless you answer my question.
If you can get the Dragons to like you personally,
they will be on your side.
You have got something.
If they don't like you,
they will then hear everything you say with a bit of suspicion.
-You made a flippant comment about...
-It's very serious to us.
-You made a very flippant comment.
If I don't like that person, it's a no-no.
-What's your gross profit percentage?
-Don't know the answer to that, you'll have to move on.
You don't know? We'll have to move on?
I've forgotten it, not a human calculator.
By shouting back at them, it's not really going to get you very far.
When was the last time you negotiated, because the market's changed...?
And there's one way to guarantee you walk away empty-handed.
If you start giving the Dragons business lessons,
guaranteed, you are going to wind them all up.
-That's totally irrelevant.
-I find you arrogant, rude and insulting.
-Don't tell us how to run a business.
-I'll see you when I'm loaded.
One partnership that got on the wrong side of the Dragons
were husband and wife David and Sarah Glashan.
The product we're going to show you today is called an Itsa.
It's a multifunctional sunlounger towel.
An experienced businessman,
David was confident he could impress the Dragons.
You find out what the competition isn't doing, find out what it's going to cost you
to do what the competition isn't doing, and by the time you've divided it up,
your percentages should be right, because business is about percentages.
But his business lecture had the opposite effect.
This is not the way to talk to anyone, let alone a Dragon,
an extremely successful Dragon.
You should write a book - How To Run A Business.
That's not a very nice comment, I'll ignore that.
It was a compliment!
We weren't giving business advice,
we were purely answering what we felt was the way to do it.
Duncan, I'm not a schmuck - don't try and treat me like one, OK?
"You're out of order, Duncan.
"Don't try it with me, I'm not a schmuck!"
Somebody could quite easily, a cruise liner, do their own.
And I'll challenge you if you copy me, cos I'll take you to court,
I won't think twice about it, OK?
I think that might have put them off a bit.
I think they may have thought he was a bit, I don't know, arrogant?
'Theo is a great business guy, I'm not knocking him for that,'
but he was talking out of his backside.
They walked away without investment.
But despite the reactions from the Dragons,
the couple still pushed their product to market.
'Do we believe in the product? Yes. Could they be wrong? Yes.'
Let's show them, let's go and do it.
Five years later, the beach towel is selling all over the world
after the pair licensed it to manufacturers in the US.
They say worldwide sales of the brand have topped 8 million.
But they haven't been able to turn sales into profit.
Their decision was right not to invest.
They want to earn between two and four times.
'You cannot manufacture our product at a cheap enough price'
to sell it on a wholesale basis.
Their net profit on the product this year is forecast to be £80,000.
'The product is still selling, still being used on the beach.'
That, to me, is fantastic.
The Dragons' next lesson requires an attribute
that many entrepreneurs have in abundance.
If you look in the dictionary at "passion", you'd see my name.
If you want to be convincing, you must be passionate.
If you don't believe in your own product,
it's very unlikely you're going to get other people to believe in it as well.
iFoods.tv is the future of cooking.
Mytilus edulis, the edible mussel.
It's a rollercoaster, it's going, we have rocket, sorrel.
What I'm looking for is passion, enthusiasm. Tunnel vision, almost.
It's going to the back, we've got bitterness. Whack! Here comes a pepper kick.
If you don't love what you do, you're not passionate about it,
then you're not going to spend the hours that are needed to make that business a success.
I'm telling you that this is an effective way
of training a muscle that people know they want to train.
You should get riled up now and then. Passion is good.
But take the Dragons' advice carefully,
because there is such a thing as being overenthusiastic.
Angel Cot, my own invention.
The other end of the scale are people who are passionate about a business that doesn't work.
# Let's show them you care
# Children are our future... #
You can be passionate about a square-wheeled bicycle,
but you know it's never going to sell.
People have to get real.
It's totally orgasmic.
Forget Sex And The City - we've got shoes in the city!
One man who may have misplaced his passion
was future millionaire Adam Marshall,
who pitched his exfoliating shower mat in 2006.
These products work by the shower mat laying in the shower cubicle
and allows you to wash your feet by moving them back and forth.
Passion in my life comes kind of as a second nature.
'It's incredibly important to believe in what you're doing.'
It is totally a revolution in the shower market.
-Are you serious?
-I am, totally, yes.
I think it's absolutely ridiculous.
It was awful,
and he was so enthusiastic.
I totally believe in this and I will totally make this work.
He had the entrepreneurial spirit,
but he just had to find his feet a bit.
And it wasn't on shower mats.
The mat never took off.
Little bit, little bit higher.
'I didn't want to be known as the shower mat guy.'
I wanted to be known as a successful person in my own right.
Adam is still a passionate businessman
and has spent the last few years putting his enthusiasm into something else -
a chain of trendy bars.
'Started off with 30 grand from a high street bank.'
I had to work very hard with it. Blood, sweat, couple of tears.
He's taken that passion and energy, he's channelled it
into another industry and has gone on to become very, very successful.
Five years after his Den departure, Adam has 12 venues
and an impressive income.
They all do very well. I currently turn over £12 million.
You know, I don't do hardly any work any more.
Adam came into the Den asking for thousands,
he got turned down, he got great advice,
he listens to the advice and he goes out and he's now worth millions.
The Dragons are wily characters and when they're faced with an entrepreneur,
they're analysing their every word and their every move
for any hint of embellishment or exaggeration.
Have you got any defence?
In order to part with their money,
they need to know just about everything and expect straight answers.
So the Dragons' final lesson is to be honest.
As soon as you're up there trying to be something you're not,
to oversell, to overdo it...
-How much a year do they earn?
No, that's a new one, isn't it? Is that a new number?
-..the Dragons can read it, it doesn't come across right.
-About 600 million.
Don't think that you can just wing it.
I've got no sales figures to talk to you about, no book-work whatsoever.
Cos it will backfire on you.
-You've created organic, artificial acorns?
If I can't work with that person and believe in their honesty,
then I'm not interested.
You must be a very wealthy young man.
Meaning, is the money in my account? No.
So, how do you make sure the Dragons believe in you?
The answer is to answer everything.
-Are you boyfriend/girlfriend?
Don't just sell your product - sometimes you have to sell yourself.
You gave us the immortal line, "The cheaper I can get these bits
"and pieces, the cheaper I can make it." So true.
Yeah, well, I just talk naturally.
I would say, let the inner you shine through.
The Dragons want to see you.
I'm not perfect, that's why I'm here.
One entrepreneur who impressed the Dragons
with her direct and honest answers to their questions was Layla Bennett.
The 26-year-old entered the Den in 2010
looking for investment in her falconry business.
Hello, Dragons. I'm Layla, and this is Monty,
from Hawksdrift Falconry.
We'd like to ask you today for £50,000 for a 25% share of our company.
We specialise in the commercial use of birds of prey.
Our main income comes from bird control,
that's the natural and environmentally friendly control
of pest species of birds by using raptors.
'When people come on with animals, they're always taking a risk.'
If the animal doesn't do what it should, it detracts from the pitch.
If anybody would like to step forward and hold Monty,
you will be very welcome to do so. Thank you.
'And the hawk did exactly as she wanted it to do,'
just by her making a movement and snapping her fingers. It was fantastic.
Are you finished with me? Yes?
-He said he's had enough.
What better way can you get someone's attention by walking in with a bird of prey?
With the help of Monty the falcon, Layla intrigued the Dragons,
but it's the business interrogation that matters.
-Let's focus on the business. So, you talked about turning over 72,500?
-Yes, last year.
-How much of that became profit?
-49,700 was gross profit,
net profit was 22,700.
I was really honest about the value of the business,
the amount of turnover that I had, about my income.
I was also honest about the way that I live.
Are you taking a salary out of that?
There's myself and my partner full-time, we have £12,000,
-and we live basically off that.
-That's very committed.
Some people naturally are calm in all sorts of pressure situations, but that was an extreme example.
What will the business look like next year?
Next year, we expect to turn £125,000,
bearing in mind that in 2009 we only turned 38,000,
in 2010 we turned 72,500,
so the business is expanding very rapidly.
It was just completely polished and rehearsed and delivered...precisely.
-We are gaining pest control contracts for bird control rapidly.
Every question was dealt with skilfully and directly by the falconer,
but would the Dragons invest?
Are you offering at the moment 25% of the company
without the land or with the land?
-25% with the land.
-Do you think that's a good idea?
You're a Dragon, I trust you.
I think when she told Duncan that she trusted him
not to do anything with the land, I think that won him over.
And, yeah, it got him onside, definitely.
But Theo Paphitis wasn't finished with his questioning.
-Layla, how old are you?
-I'm 26...and a half.
26 and a half!
Look, I'm going to make you an offer.
I'm going to give you half the money,
but I'm going to keep my business hat on.
I would need, for the risk/reward ratio on this, 20%.
The retail giant was preparing to drive a hard bargain,
but, impressed by her honesty, Duncan Bannatyne had other ideas.
I'm going to offer you exactly what you've asked for -
£50,000 for 25% of the company,
because I don't think anybody should try
and drive a hard bargain with you,
because I think what you're offering is very good value.
Thank you, Duncan.
I don't think it was a case of driving a hard bargain, Duncan -
I made absolutely clear what my view was.
There were two offers on the table,
but once the remaining Dragons declared themselves out...
-I'm going to say, I'm out.
-Thank you very much.
..it was decision time for Layla.
'From the age of 16, I've done it all by myself, and for a Dragon,
'a successful business person, to think that my business is worth something,'
it's a really emotional thing.
Are you going to accept my offer?
Of course I am, Duncan.
Layla was upfront, honest
and showed she was willing to make sacrifices -
qualities admired by Duncan Bannatyne.
She's really committed to that business,
she's committed to making that work and she's willing to live like that
for as long as it takes to get her business off the ground.
Layla shook hands with Duncan just over a year ago
and since then hasn't stopped working.
As he flies over you, whatever you do, don't make a noise like a rabbit.
'It's very difficult to live in a field in a caravan.'
I do work very hard - sometimes I work through the night, and the day, as well.
Sometimes I'll miss an entire night's sleep, then carry on,
but it doesn't feel like it's hard or a commitment -
it's just what I want to do, I can't imagine doing anything else.
And now she's ready to move beyond the life of a sole trader
and finalise her investment deal.
We're going through the contracts, I've just become a limited company -
any moment now, it'll all be happening.
Now the Dragon has arrived to check out the new company
and have a first look at the piece of Wales he will own a share of,
which is a far cry from the Den.
I'm quite nervous about Duncan coming down to the field.
I'm not sure what he'll think of our rather rural location,
but I hope he'll find it as beautiful as I do.
Liked the business, it's quite different, quite unique.
I thought it could be exciting.
I've certainly learned a little bit about Wales, anyway.
-Hello, how are you?
-I'm good, thank you.
Welcome to the field.
The investor is here to work out where they're taking the business
and how they'll spend his money.
Just have to jump over the fence, I'm afraid - haven't got a gate yet.
But first, he needs to meet the employees.
-Do you remember this little guy?
Using the hawks for pest control is now 90% of Layla's income,
and the area she plans to develop with Duncan's assistance.
Last night, in fact, I was down in Cardiff -
we had a pigeon in a cake production area that had to be moved.
-How do you move the pigeon?
-In that case, with a hawk.
-So, the hawk chases it?
He's a beauty.
Duncan wants to fully understand how the business works,
so he needs to learn how they train the hawk
so they're fit enough to chase away the unwanted vermin.
This dummy rabbit here, which you'll need to keep hidden from him,
-just throw it onto the ground and drag along a little.
No, no, you didn't see that.
-He did, he's very clever. Ready?
It was Layla's direct pitch that impressed the Dragon.
When you're ready, throw the rabbit onto the short grass.
But can she deliver on the figures she gave in the Den?
Encouragingly, Layla says she has already hit her 2011 turnover target of 125,000.
Since being on Dragon's Den, Hawksdrift has grown dramatically.
We have actually exceeded our forecasted figure for the second year by £7,000 extra.
It does still need a lot of work and it still needs a lot of help and input from my Dragon.
So far, Layla has invested most of her profits back into the business
and has started work on a brand-new aviary.
What happened here?
We'd just laid all the concrete, and it was going on, and the horse walked straight down the middle.
And then the cat came in the end and she's put her paw prints down there too.
As a brand-new company, things are changing quickly,
and Layla has some questions she needs to ask her Dragon.
Driving the business forward has become more like trying to hold it back,
because there are more contracts coming
than I can physically take on with the number of staff I have.
I believe you started as an ice-cream man.
At some point, you must have made that transition to being an employer
from a person who did it all yourself.
Delegation's difficult for some people. I never had a problem with it.
You've got to be able to trust people, let them run with it, let them make mistakes,
pay them a decent salary, more than you pay yourself, and still make a little bit of profit.
The future looks bright for this partnership -
with Duncan's hotel credentials, he is best placed to help her expand into weddings and events.
I think one of the main reasons I invested in you was
your absolute honesty. I think that still shines through,
-I like that. So I think we'll see what happens next.
Do you want to sit in the caravan and have a cup of tea?
I don't have any water. The spring just dried up.
-What do you have for breakfast?
I think she will take my advice on board and I will work with her,
and she will continue to expand into a big business.
He is helping me now a great deal as I'm moving through getting more staff
and basically making the changes the company needs.
I'd like to prove to Duncan that he was right to invest
and that we are going to be a very successful company,
that we will never lose his money
and we will pay him back time and time again over the years.
I'm glad I made this investment.
-We've learnt that pitching is all about keeping calm.
-I can't talk.
Practice. Presentation. Passion.
It will be a revolution in the shower market.
-Honestly and being likeable.
-I'll take you to court.
I won't think twice about it.
But one question hasn't been answered.
Since Dragon's Den began, which pitch has been the closest to perfection?
If you want a demonstration of how to pitch in here, that is it.
I still remember Levi Roots coming up the stairs playing a guitar.
# Give me some Reggae Reggae Sauce
# Hot Reggae Reggae Sauce... #
I was half thinking you should be at an X Factor audition.
But it was impactful.
Ian Chamings, MixAlbum.
With our technology, anybody can choose whichever dance tracks they want
and hear them mixed together with the click of a button.
He absolutely made it clear what he did and why I should back him.
No-one else in the world can do this.
But there's one that stands out.
It may not be the most technically perfect pitch,
but it takes all the boxes.
Kirsty Henshaw gave one of the best pitches we have seen in the Den.
It wasn't flashy -
no-one would say she was bombastic or overselling her product.
Particularly appealing was the fact that she came across as authentic.
I'm Kirsty, I'm 24 years old and I'm here today
asking for £65,000 for a 15% equity stake in my company, Worthenshaws.
She pitched it so well and she was so passionate about it.
The inspiration behind my range stems from my four-year-old child
who has a serious nut allergy and is dairy-intolerant.
She so clearly deeply understood what she was doing,
why she was doing it, what her market was.
I've sold 2,500 units so far.
But I went to a big meeting with a large supermarket about a month ago.
She just, answer by answer, won us over.
-Who is it?
Fantastic story. Delivered so simply. What she told you was the truth, and you knew it was the truth.
Have you really done all this on your own?
-I just worked 2 1/2 jobs at a time.
Well, two jobs, and then I had a bit of a night job as well. I was self-employed.
Two jobs and a bit of a night job as well?
-And my little boy, yes.
-And your little boy.
I don't know how he puts up with me really, but yes.
You are pretty amazing, aren't you?
No, not really.
You got the emotion - you realised, sitting in that chair,
how much this opportunity meant to her as an individual,
and she was going to do everything she could to make it work.
I know that I cried
when she started crying,
and she really reached out and touched the audience.
I started to cry, for God's sake!
I had tears coming down when I saw Kirsty up there and she was crying
and Theo was crying and everyone was crying
and it was like a bag of tears.
They'd have been crazy not to have backed her.
I'm not going to give you £65,000...
I'm going to give you £100,000.
But I want 40%.
I'd like to make you an offer for the full amount you are asking for, 65,000. But I only want 25%.
What I will do is match Peter's offer.
Have a think about it.
You can say what swung it for Kirsty was the emotion, but for us,
it was the passion we were seeing.
That is when passion really, really sells the pitch.
Delivering a technical pitch isn't necessarily to be all and end all.
It is being able to keep calm and convince us
you know what this is about.
With four of the Dragons to choose from, Kirsty accepted an offer
from Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne.
It was like watching ET.
How can you watch ET at the end and not cry?
New business of the year. The winner is, Worthenshaws.
Fast forward a year, and Kirsty has been invited
to the Northwest Business Awards to celebrate her success.
She has now launched the product in all the major supermarkets
and says she is on target to sell 25,000 tubs this year.
I have shown that I can do it and I'm going to keep at it.
I am really determined to make our company a success
and I really hope we'll get there.
With the production and distribution infrastructure now in place,
Kirsty has the potential to turn her dream into a multi-million-pound business.
I think the future for Kirsty, as one of her investors,
is one of sheer excitement.
She is extremely determined, she wants to do a lot of things herself,
and I think she is destined for greatness.
Just like one of Peter's previous investments.
New Levi Roots.
Levi Roots of the frozen products.
Lord have mercy.
Next time, the Dragons examine the art of negotiation...
..and catch up with some of the entrepreneurs in the negotiating hall of fame.
Bannatyne, how are you?
Plus, who could be the best negotiator ever to walk up the Den's stairs?
He cleaned it all out.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
An examinination of the key ingredients required for a successful pitch, plus a selection of the tough lessons dished out by the Dragons - advice that will hopefully help budding entrepreneurs. The programme also delves behind the scenes during the filming of series nine, finding out how new Dragon Hilary Devey settled in.
The Dragons reveal the secrets of pitching and presentation in six lessons. They also catch up with some of the entrepreneurs who have had the most memorable pitches in the Den to find out how their businesses are getting on.
Bob Davies took personal presentation to a whole new level when he entered the Den in 2011. Suited and booted, the bow tie wearing ex-radio presenter was not afraid to hype up his gaming product, but impressed Hilary Devey enough to get an offer of investment. But now the hard work begins as Hilary starts scrutinising his business accounts to start planning for the future, and it becomes clear that she is not afraid of pointing out where he has gone wrong.
In 2007 David Beckham lookalike Andy Harmer failed to get investment when he famously froze during his pitch. Four years later he calls in on Peter Jones with a new idea and a very recognisable entourage in tow. But will he be able to make it through this presentation without his nerves getting the better of him?
As far as Duncan Bannatyne is concerned, one of the most important factors of pitching is honesty. In 2010 he invested in straight-talking Layla Bennett who runs a falconry business in Mid Wales. Now the Dragon comes face to face with a falcon as he arrives to survey his new business partners.
Plus, we reveal the Dragons' favourite pitches.