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Dragons Den – the ones that got away…..

Aah… Dragons’ Den – how we love it – the “acceptable” face of reality TV.

We all love sitting there, cup of tea in hand, watching as someone explains how they have invested the last 10 years and their entire life savings in some bizarre product or service . We cringe when they are asked questions about turnover and net profit and they don’t know the answers. We are bemused at their pitches , and we cringe when they try and do something quirky – remember the singing “ Angel cot “ pitch anyone??
And of course we sit there, trying to guess which Dragon is going to go for which idea. We can sometimes even hear the famous “ I’m Out” before the words have even been smugly spoken.
But for every contestant that gets their investment, there are countless more that don’t – whether they turn down the investment offered or just get dismissed out of hand. But what I like most of all is hearing about the Post Dragons’ Den stories – what happens afterwards – especially to the people who got dismissed out of hand , who were told unanimously that their idea would never work.

People like Rachel Lowe for example, whose board game Destination failed to impress any of the Dragons yet still went on to be one of Hamleys’ best selling games, even outselling Monopoly.

Or Rob Law and his innovative children’s suitcase, Trunki who was told in no uncertain terms that retailers like Mothercare, would never consider stocking his product. But stock it they did – and so too did John Lewis and Debenhams, amongst others.

And talking of major retailers – none other than good old M & S loved James Nash’s “cup-a-wine” invention, a single-serve plastic glass of French wine with a tear off lid. Yet the Dragons were all utterly convinced that nobody would ever want to buy wine like that.

What Rachel, Rob and James all have in common is that despite their very public rejection, they all simply carried on – chose a different route to get funding ; kept going with their product and their strategy and ultimately had the last laugh.

That, I guess is one of the fundamental traits that every entrepreneur needs – self belief . No matter what obstacles or rejections are put in their way, the visionary entrepreneur keeps going , determined to succeed. And if that could be bottled , I reckon nobody would be “out” – we would all want a piece.



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