With our very own CEO, Oliver Tezcan, experiencing the entrepreneur hot seat, we got his 5 tips on surviving Dragon's Den, and how to dress for success.
Now in it's 13th series, Dragon's Den has seen its fair share of budding entrepreneurs go up against the Dragons in a bid to receive financial investment and a stake in their business. While some have failed in their attempts, there have been success stories like Reggae Reggae Sauce founder Levi Roots, who managed to get tight-fisted Peter Jones to invest £50,000 in return for 40% of his company.
Although the Dragon's Den cast has changed, the acclaim and infamy remains. Along with the successes there have been the fails, with products such as the Tingatang - a range of jewellery to show off your single status, and 'Mummy clothes' - bright and garish outfits intended to 'inspire and educate' babies, and clearly terrify everyone else.
Along with the odd there's also been the misunderstood, and many rejected entrepreneurs have actually ended up making millions with their business, such as James Nash and his 'Cup-a-wine' idea. Initially waved away by the Dragon's Den cast, his handy foil capped wine glasses are now stocked in M&S and has won numerous industry awards.
As someone who's recently experienced the den and returned unscathed, we caught up with our CEO, Oliver Tezcan, to discuss how he prepared for it, what he did to keep his cool and how to dress for success. Check out his top tips for Dragon's Den survival below and find out his past experiences and his plans for the future in our interview with him here.
Remember to learn your pitch. It sounds obvious, but when you're in the studio and there's a camera pointing in your face, it's easy to forget. I recorded mine onto my phone and played back to myself on loop on the drive up there.
It's also wise to condense your business plan down into the most important numbers and memorise them, as you're bound to get quizzed on them and you need to have them to hand.
Lastly, eat a decent breakfast. I was made to wait in a holding room for over two hours, so I'm glad I'd eaten beforehand.
2. What to Take
Take something with you that encapsulates your brand or product. I took two rails of our own label collection so I could convey to the Dragons what The Idle Man was all about.
Another thing you need to take is an iPad. In fact it's a requirement to be on the show, so make sure charged and contains all the necessary information you need.
3. How to Keep Your Cool
At the end of the day they're just people, so try and imagine them naked - as frightening as that may be.
4. What to Do Next
Every experience is a learning experience. Take feedback on board but don't take it to heart. For example, Nick Jenkins had some very useful advice on Digital Marketing even though he didn't invest.
And don't forget that some of the most successful businesses on the Den didn't receive investment from the Dragons. Ultimately, it's down to you to believe in your business.
5. Dress for Success
Try and wear something that reflects your business. I went for this smart/casual outfit comprised of a grey, slim fit blazer and failsafe white shirt from The Idle Man. I teamed those with some classic, dark denim jeans from Nudie and a pair of brown tasselled loafers from Hudson.
How to Survive Dragon's Den Cheat Sheet
- Dress smartly, but in an outfit that represents you and that you feel comfortable in.
- Practice your pitch before you arrive.
- Find a way to stay cool. Stammering through your pitch is a surefire way to show a lack of confidence in your business.
- Have all the information you need memorised, be it your yearly intake or your set customer.
- Don't ramble. Condense your key facts down so you don't leave out any important information.