Thanks to Dragons’ Den, I have a really clear idea of what I’m looking for in a business investment.
First of all, I’m looking for a fantastic person. An outstanding entrepreneur can carry a mediocre idea, but the most revolutionary idea wouldn’t be able to get off the ground with a mediocre entrepreneur.
Secondly, I’m a product gal at heart – that’s not to say I wouldn’t invest in a service business but growing up in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) world means that products excite me because I can see the potential in them. In particular, I love products where there’s been some real innovation and when they provide a genuine solution to a real problem. It’s easy to see through the gimmicky products and to spot the ones that are really going to change someone’s life.
If your product fits this bill, it needs protecting so you’ll need a patent (see my blog post on Patent 101). I’m interested in getting behind something that is unique and that is protected, that way, we can be the only people in the world who have it.
The company I created, Crafter’s Companion, was founded on this kind of innovation. It was one creative product, born out of a gap in the market, that launched an entire business with multiple brands.
Finally, because I’m in the TV shopping game and have experience in this industry, I’m looking for products that I think can really benefit from a presence on TV shopping channels. This is my world and where I’m really comfortable. I also think it gives me an edge over the other Dragons, as it means I look for products that others might pass on because they’re not suited to traditional retail. Some of these products just need a demonstration to bring them to life and TV shopping provides the perfect platform for that.
Since appearing in the Den, I’ve received a lot of emails from budding entrepreneurs keen to pitch their ideas to me. However, since being appointed as a Dragon I’ve committed to doing all my business investments through the show and the BBC.
So, if you’re interested in having me hear your pitch, you’ll need to follow the official application process because if I’ve been in touch with someone privately, they are unable to pitch on the show.
However, my team have been briefed so that any pitches that come into the office, of which we have many, are kept from my attention. This means that people who have written to me not knowing about this rule will still be able to pitch in the Den.
Basically, what I’m saying is if you’re interested in me investing in your business then DON’T write to me direct or get in touch with me via social because you won’t be able to feature on the programme and I would love the chance to see some of your fantastic pitches!
So, if you think you’ve got something special, and you think that you have what it takes to enter the Den, what are you waiting for?