The Dragons’ Den is fast approaching… Are you ready?

3 days to go! Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse… And remember that the purpose of the Dragons’ Den is to provide you with constructive feedback on your business idea – be it a product or service. The judges have been instructed to avoid harsh comments, and instead to be fair and objective in relation to the marking criteria. Remember these? Here’s a refresh:

  1. Elevator Pitch: Did you clearly explain what you are selling, in a compelling and direct way at the start?
  2. The need or problem you are addressing, and the target group: Have you provided key information about the problem or need you have identified, and the market or group of people who experience the problem? Who will buy / use your product or service?
  3. The product/ service: Did you provide an outline of the product / service or project and how it meets the identified needs of your market segment? How does it work? What are its key features and how does it benefit the target market?
  4. Alternatives & Competitors: Did you demonstrate an understanding of who your competitors are? Did you then explain how your product or service is different from what is already available in the market? Did you also explain why customers should buy from you, rather than your competitors?
  5. Market entry: Did you explain how you will attract your first customers? How will your product/service be made available or distributed to your target market/audience? What longer term plans do you have? How do you plan to expand/grow?
  6. Overall Presentation: Did you, as a team, demonstrate excellent presentation skills needed by entrepreneurs? Will the judges remember your presentation?

And remember the ground rules and pitching tips!

Ground rules:

  • 5 minutes pitch + 10 mins. Q&A
  • No PowerPoint presentations (you can use slides only to show pictures)
  • Respect the time limit and use all time allocated

Most important tips:

  • Provide hand-outs (canvases, flyers, pictures…) and materials (business cards,
    prototypes, samples) that will remind your audience of your pitch
    and offer additional information
  • Engage your audience (and be grateful for feedback)
  • Be passionate (traction effect)
  • Have a clear team strategy for dealing with Q&A
    (do not talk over each other, decide on who answers which question area, …)
  • Dress the part

And also:

  • Do not say ‘there is no competition for this product/service’! The judges are
    going to respond: ‘Then, there is no market…’. Instead, think of substitutes!
  • Be clear about your first customer
  • Do not overstate, do not understate…

The motto is: Show, don’t tell!


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