I watched an episode of Dragons Den a couple of weeks ago. I think it was the first episode of the new series.
It was shocking. There were five dragons sitting with their “wad” a la BBC and various entrepreneurs wafted in and out again either with a promise of money and support or not. It was like a financial version of “Big Brother”, I’m a celebrity” and “The X Factor”. Just shocking.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some real “white knights” who are keen to support promising people or people with promising products/services. Most of them had lots of money which they’d made over a number of years and many of them saw it as their duty to re-invest some of that money back into business and commerce.
Not one, that I came across, were anything like the Dragons. Big egos sure, but generally good men and women.
Obviously the BBC pitch it as they see fit. It’s surprising though that the dragons may at times, and I’m being gentle here, be a bit rude, look down on people, be slightly arrogant, etc. etc. etc.
The first guy to pitch didn’t do a good job but he was ridiculed for his trouble. Others followed. They knew their numbers but there were flaws or there wasn’t enough money in it for the dragons, or the dragons thought the concept being pitched to be ridiculous.
They did offer deals to support the idea and the people behind a couple of times. But the deal is always slanted towards the dragons advantage.
I would have thought that the dragons would remember times in the past when they didn’t have as much as they do now. There must have been times when they went to their bank manager and he wouldn’t play ball, or they needed to win an important client and they couldn’t even get a few minutes to make their pitch etc. etc. etc..
It might make good television for people who don’t know how business and commerce works but it is pretty brutal for those who do.
I worked with a very well know entrepreneur who had made huge amounts of money. In his early career he’d been selling goods from franchises in a large department store with many branches. One day one of the main buyers asked him to go see him. He turned up and the buyer suggested that he got as much of the money that was owed to him as quickly as possible.
A few weeks later the store went bust leaving him with a £3000 loss, which he never got back. He had saved his bacon though and was able to go onto bigger and better things. Why did the buyer tell him to chase his money? Because the buyer liked him and liked the way he did business.
Do any of the dragons strike you as being that type of entrepreneur?
Even if they are acting in a way that the BBC likes?
I don’t think so.