Brace yourself! The Dragons are back. Entrepreneurs from across the country have another chance to face the Dragons for the chance to receive financial backing for their business ventures. Windsor entrepreneurs will get this chance on January 24th at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.
If you’re one of the brave souls thinking about pitching your idea to CBC, here are some tips from a few local entrepreneurs who were lucky enough to meet the Dragons’ in 2012. Regardless of the outcome, their insight might just help you tame a Dragon or two! For more information about the auditions, visit http://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/auditions/.
Tips from Kyle Sipkens of Stilt Guys
|Product||Stilt Guys – Aired: October 24th, 2012 (Watch it)|
|Pitcher||Kyle Sipkens & Mark Lefebvre|
|Hometown||Windsor, ON & Toronto, ON|
|Ask||$50K for 35%|
|Description||Mark Lefebvre from Windsor, ON, and Kyle Sipkens from Toronto, ON, strut into the Den seeking investment for their stilt performance business.|
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.
4) 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.
Tips from Maria Latouf of Posture Beads
|Product||Posture Beads Aired: September 26th, 2012 (Watch it)|
|Ask||$50K for 40%|
|Description||Maria Latouf from Windsor, ON, pitches her posture aid necklace to the Dragons.|
1) Do not place great importance on the outcome – whether you “get on the show” or not. Remember, it’s just TV. It’s all for show and it has a lot to do with entertainment. I wouldn’t let it truly build you up or break you down with regards to how you feel about your business overall.
2) Remember – it is TV!! It’s all about entertainment – have as much fun as you can to get the exposure! ( hehehe)
3) THE DRAGONS ARE BUT HUMAN, just like you and me. They have feelings and fears and they are actually quite cool, well I thought they were, and especially if you are also. Don’t take it too seriously or personally, they sure don’t.
Tips from Maxine Ebegbuzie of Nneka’s Bling Car Eyelashes
|PRODUCT||Nneka’s Bling Car Eyelashes|
|ASK||$105K for 35%|
|DESCRIPTION||Maxine Ebegbuzie from Windsor, ON, pitches her novelty car eyelash product to the Dragons.|
1) Be yourself, they will smell a fake a mile away.
2) Have fun through the nerves, smile, be enthusiastic and excited. It’s contagious.
3) When you get to the show, go over the prep with the producer and make sure the set is prepped properly, don’t assume the producer will make no mistakes. Dot your I’s and cross your T’s folks!
Happy Dragon Slaying!