Windsor’s CBC Dragons’ Den auditions are just around the corner. In light of this, we’ve reached out to some of our local entrepreneurs who’ve faced the Dragons’ themselves. They’ve been kind enough to share some tips to help you prepare for your audition. (Windsor Dragons’ Den auditions are scheduled for January 24th, 2013 at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.)
|Product||Stilt Guys – Aired: October 24th, 2012 (Watch it)|
|Pitcher||Kyle Sipkens & Mark Lefebvre|
|Hometown||Windsor, ON & Toronto, ON|
|Ask||$50K for 35%|
|Description||Kyle Sipkens from Toronto, ON, and Mark Lefebvre from Windsor, ON, strut into the Den seeking investment for their stilt performance business.|
Tips below provided by Kyle Sipkens of Stilt Guys
1) Know your business! Preparation is key. And if you think you know your business, go over it again! Ask yourself the tough questions about your strengths and weaknesses. The Dragons will attack anyone who can’t answer questions about their sales figures, customer base, everything from your balance sheet to your daily operations. You’re looking for a business deal, so you need to know your business and how to sell it with confidence (they’re investing in you as much as your company). Spend a long time on your valuation and don’t inflate your figure, but don’t undersell it either. You need to know the sticker price of your company before asking money from anyone.
2) How far are you willing to go to grow? What is your company worth and how much are you willing to part with? If you’re a sole proprietor of your company, make a plan for how much of your company you’re willing to give up to get Dragon Dollars. Often Dragons are only willing to invest if they can have a controlling stake in your company (51% or more) since they know the dangers and what it takes to have your company take off. If you’re looking for investors, it’s time to stop thinking of your company as your baby and be ready to part with having your say if you want a Dragon on board.
3) WOW them! If you’ve got a great idea and nothing else, you may not get very far in the Den. If you have actual sales figures, a great business concept in a growing market and you have a fun/unique way to grab their attention, you may be ready for the cameras! Remember: this is TV! As producers will tell you, if you pass the audition and get invited to a taping, there’s still no guarantee of getting on air! You need to make it entertaining (that doesn’t mean cheesy-unless you’ve got a great new cheese!). But you need to make it a show in a way that supports your business! And make sure you have it rehearsed until you can do it in your sleep! Then practice it in front of your friends and family until you’re used to doing it in front of people. If you pass the audition, producers will work with you to help hone your pitch, but it’s up to your to get the Dragons’ attention.
If you keep all this in mind, you might just tame a Dragon or Two!”
And remember… these are some of Canada’s business leaders! You are auditioning for the rare opportunity to be in front of these 5 people in the same room at the same time to talk about your company. Some of the best feedback we ever received came from the Dragons (we were in the studio with them for over 45 additional minutes that you didn’t get to see on air). Accept their feedback as gold since they genuinely love entrepreneurship, but don’t forget: they’re only going to invest in something that can make them money!!! Your #1 point should be, as Mr. Wonderful says: “How is this going to make me MONEY?!” And that’s realistically with numbers and figures that can be proven. No deal is a ‘done deal’ until they’ve done due diligence and checked the books for themselves.