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by Joanna Duong Chang

If you finally make it onto CBC’s Dragons Den and then one of the investors decides to back your idea… What will you do with the money?

You can be 100% sure that this question will be asked directly or indirectly during the process. So before you subject yourself to being burned publicly on television, dig deep and figure out your big WHY. Here are the questions you need to ask yourself when preparing for Dragons Den. Make sure you know these inside and out:

1. Why are you there?

Do you know your true intentions?  Perhaps it’s just to make it on TV to get publicity and the so called Dragons Den Effect?  Maybe you just need any investment you can get to keep going? Maybe it’s not about the money and you’ve always dreamed of being on the show? Or really, you need mentorship and experience from the Dragons.

The big why for Henkaa and myself was partially the need to shake things up. To get out of my comfort zone and get the word out about Henkaa. We have had our share of ups and downs and have made huge investments in people, systems and strategies. We have a lot of things started and a lot of opportunity ahead. I felt we needed that huge kick in the butt whether it came in the form of investment or eyes/attention on the business.  We don’t want to just survive, we want to thrive.

2. Who are you targeting as a partner?

Which Dragon do you think will actually have an interest in your business? Does it make sense for you to pitch to the Dragons if you don’t think any of them are a good fit for you?

As a fashion business, our obvious fit was Mr. Joe Fresh himself, Joe Mimran; and as a company with a sales channel of Direct Sales in America, Jim Treliving would be great too because his experience and investment in Dragons Den success story Steeped Tea. Think about who you would potentially like to have as a partner or who you admire for mentorship.

3. Where do you want to go?

Back to our original question on preparing for Dragons Den: What are you going to do with the money? How much will you ask for and how will you use it to advance your business? You’re asking for money here. Make sure to have some strategy with how you will be spending the investment and what direction you’ll take your company from there.

4. Do you even need the money ?

Are you and your business even investment worthy? Do you want/need the investment? Are you going in with a real hope of investment or are you there for the opportunity to get a boost in PR?  Whatever it is and it could be a combination of a number of things, make sure you integrate it into your story so you can go after what you want. Intention should line up with expectation and hopefully the reality of your outcome!  At the end of the day, the show really is an opportunity. It’s what you do with it that makes all the difference.

5. How are you and the Dragons going to get their investment back?

What is the potential? This one might be difficult to answer, but you do have to prove that your company will be worth it. There are so many questions that need to be answered and anyone who is an entrepreneur knows that you never fully have all of them, and that’s okay. But at the same time, you need to know or at least fake it until you make it!

I really did struggle with these questions and took a lot of time to actually commit to preparing for Dragons Den. I still struggle with the decision because I’m not sure how I will be cut or portrayed on air but time will tell!  For now, I feel that it was worth the leap of faith. And surely, if you’re looking to get out of your comfort zone, it will be for you too. Happy Dragons Den-ing!


Joanna Duong Chang
Joanna Duong Chang

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