The 6th series of Dragons’ Den returned to our screens on the BBC on July 21st (U.K.).

For those unfamiliar with the concept, Dragons’ Den is a popular TV show in the U.K., where entrepreneurs pitch their business plans to prospective investors or ‘dragons’ as they are known. These dragons consist of a group of wealthy British entrepreneurs such as Peter Jones, James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne.

A typical encounter pitches a nervous entrepreneur attempting to sell their ideas to the dragons in return for an equity stake. However, the majority of pitches get ruthlessly dissected and the entrepreneurs leave the den with seriously bruised egos and without securing any investment.

The emphasis of the TV production is clearly focused on entertainment. While this is understandable, the critical take away for me as a viewer, is the apparent lack of preparation undertaken by the entrepreneurs pitching their business plans. This lack of preparedness is what fuels the entertainment as flaws in the participants pitches are exposed to the full. Of course there is also a spattering of bad ideas thrown in for good measure which serves to increase the entertainment even further.

Given it is the 6th series, getting a DVD of the previous series would seem to be an obvious thing to do as a form of preparation. However judging by the performance of recent participants their preparation has not even gone this far. To paraphrase the famous Spanish philosopher, George Santayana, those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.

Similarly, with some additional focus on their respective business plans, the participant can switch from being the source of entertainment to being desirable entrepreneurs with Dragons bidding against each other to secure the investment opportunity. Unfortunately, show after show consists of entrepreneurs with poorly crafted pitches, littered with glaring errors and omissions, and entrepreneurs without even a rudimentary grasp of the financials.

While we at Palo Alto Software cannot assist with the ‘ideas’, we can certainly help entrepreneurs with their preparation. With this in mind we have put together a number of resources which will help entrepreneurs of any hue ensure that they do indeed learn the lessons, so as to help them with their goals of surviving the Dragons’ Den and raising the necessary finance they need to propel them towards accomplishing their goals.

How to Survive the Dragons’ Den

Securing Funding the Dragons’ Den Perspective

Delivering a Winning Business Plan Pitch

Dragons Den Master class – the numbers you need to know

 

To read more articles on business planning, entrepreneurship and pitching business plans visit the business plans section on BPlans.co.uk.

Alan Gleeson
Managing Director
Palo Alto Software Ltd U.K.

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Alan Gleeson
Alan Gleeson

Alan Gleeson is the General Manager of Palo Alto Software UK, makers of LivePlan and Business Plan Pro. You can follow him on Google+.