It all started last July with an email from the BBC that went into the spam of our generic email account and almost got deleted.
“We are currently in production for the 18th series of Dragons’ Den and in the process of auditioning entrepreneurs who ultimately hope to pitch to the Dragons. I came across your business whilst scouring the internet looking for suitable applicants and I just wondered if you are currently looking for financial backing and had thought about trying to get investment via this route?”
It transpired that the researcher, Sam, had seen that we’d been shortlisted in the regional heats of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. An application I almost never sent off as I was starting to get downhearted at applying for various competitions and awards (forty seven to be exact!!), and, with two exceptions, getting turned down for every one.
Still, not being one to look a gift horse in the mout, I said, ‘Yes’. The reality was that we were still in product development and weren’t actually looking for investment at this point, but we knew that the exposure was priceless. And, even if the Dragons ripped us to shreds, it’d better to get a reality check now.
So I filled in the application and waited… and a couple of weeks later I attended an audition.
Well, I say audition. In these Covid dominated times I was interviewed and recorded in my bedroom – in my Batman lounge pants over Zoom – by Sam (bottom half attire unknown) who was sat in his kitchen, rather than in front of a BBC panel in either London or Manchester.
We got invited to the next stage… due diligence… woohoo!
Now, anyone who knows anything about selling or buying a business knows this is a very time consuming and very tedious process by which everything said in the audition or put on the application form is checked to the nth degree.
Bank statements, patent documentation, shareholders agreements… the list is pretty exhaustive. Luckily, being an accountant by trade I had the majority of the information to hand but for somebody without that disciple I can imagine it being pretty off-putting.
It transpires that during an early series of the show they had had a number of issues, so weeding out was a critical part of the process as filming, editing and broadcasting is a particularly costly business in more ways than one.
Monday 8th September 12.05pm and we got the call… “You’re on the show.”… Woohoo! Woohoo!
“Brilliant! When do we film?”
“Your filming date is 13th October. 5 weeks. But you’re pretty much ready aren’t you?”
“Not a problem, Sam,” I half lied.
Shit had somehow just got very real.
Final part of the blog on our transmission day – 8th July