Dragons & Sharks

Dragon´s Den & Shark Tank- "Everyone should pull their finger out and start a business and to believe in themselves. There is nothing else to it. Anyone can make a £100m. But most people don't go out and try. They just stand in the pub and complain."

If your business idea clearly answers a need in the marketplace, it’s probably a good idea. If the need is already being met by well-entrenched competitors, it can still be a good idea if it’s a new, cheaper or more clever way of doing it.

Barbara Corcoran (on what makes a great business idea)

Something that solves a problem (i.e., helps you do something faster), satisfies a need (i.e., makes an existing product cheaper), or improves quality of life (i.e., medical devices ).

Daymond John (on what makes a great business idea)

A good business idea is a product or service that solves a problem that is not already being solved in the marketplace. The product or service should be unique enough that it’s not something already readily available.

Kevin Harrington (on what makes a great business idea)

There are lots of good ideas but most great business are built on better execution of an existing idea. I am not a big believer in create a better idea and the world beats a path to your door.

Robert Herjavec (on what makes a great business idea)

Every great entrepreneur is passionate about being successful. They are not just passionate about their business idea, but have enough passion to weather all the obstacles and see things through to the finish line… … Every great entrepreneur is extremely pushy… …I’ve learned that all great entrepreneurs are pushy people and they always deliver.

Barbara Corcoran (on traits of great entrepreneurs)

1) Being driven; 2) Always educating themselves; 3) Doing something they love; 4) Willing to take advice; and 4) Resourceful.

Daymond John (on traits of great entrepreneurs)

Entrepreneurs must have 1) a vision of the future; 2) the drive for the day-to-day, to work unending hours; 3) the ability to handle adversity without letting it shut you down; and 4) the desire to never give up.

Kevin Harrington (on traits of great entrepreneurs)

Many – but most important is the ability to be relentless as the sand shifts around you. I always say “quick is good – relentless is better.”

Robert Herjavec (on traits of great entrepreneurs)

Make a list of every product out there already answering the need and be super critical as to whether yours is a better mousetrap. Also ask your family, friends and enemies if they would buy it and what they would readily pay.

Barbara Corcoran (on how to evaluate your product)

Put it for sale on the internet and see if people who do not know you purchase it!

Daymond John (on how to evaluate your product)

It’s important to test before you invest to see if there is a need for your product or service. I use catalogues, shopping channels and internet websites to do this.

Kevin Harrington (on how to evaluate your product)

Ask the only people who matter – paying customers – emphasis on the word paying. RIM (the makers of Blackberry ) never develop a new product until they have a client who will pay for it.

Robert Herjavec (on how to evaluate your product)

Be clear about what’s most important. Figure out what it will cost to produce your product or service, what you can sell it for and to whom.

Barbara Corcoran (on first steps of new entrepreneur)

Educate themselves in the product and the industry they are attempting to enter.

Daymond John (on first steps of new entrepreneur)

A new entrepreneur should always first put together a business plan. Once the plan is together, then test it out with people you trust (friends, relatives, mentors, bankers, etc.). With positive feedback, the next step for the entrepreneur is to raise money and put a good management/advisory team together.

Kevin Harrington (on first steps of new entrepreneur)

Find a customer!

Robert Herjavec (on first steps of new entrepreneur)

For most people a lengthy business plan is virtually useless because you need to change it constantly in response to things outside your control. The simplest form of a business plan is just a list of what’s most important to attend to and what’s not. I do much better imagining exactly what I want my business to look like once I’m successful. It’s a daydream in living color. Then I make a simple “to do” list of what’s most important to make my dream a reality.

Barbara Corcoran (on creating a business plan)

Allocate all the time and money that you can invest into the business. And write down your strengths and weaknesses, then cost out how much it will take to partner or hire somebody to cover the weaknesses.

Daymond John (on creating a business plan)

To create a good business plan, you need a good format. You need to be sure that you cover all the basics. It’s important to be sure that your business plan is comprehensive enough for your business. Get someone with financial experience in your business category to give you advice and help you vet the plan.

Kevin Harrington (on creating a business plan)

People spend way too much on a business plan. When you start – it is important to have vision but a business plan is theory and when you are starting there is very little room for theory. At the beginning, any plan beyond the next quarter is a dream; after you get bigger the next quarter becomes the next 2 and so on. As you grow, size gives you some predictability.

Robert Herjavec (on creating a business plan)

Sit down and write out a clear picture of what your product or service is, what it will cost, what it will sell for and who will buy it. Then put down on paper the concrete steps you’ll need to take to bring it to fruition. After that you can ask your friends and enemies to honestly critique the plan and share with you what’s unclear, what makes no sense and what’s missing.

Barbara Corcoran (on who can help in creating business plan)

Small business consulting firms. Then look for a consultant in the area of business that you would like to go in.

Daymond John (on who can help in creating business plan)

There are plenty of books and websites to help you craft a good business plan. Entrepreneur magazine is a good start, and there are plenty of others available at bookstores. Bankers and small agencies like the Small Business Administration can also help you craft your plan. You can also get help at universities through entrepreneur programs.

Kevin Harrington (on who can help in creating business plan)

Spend less time on your plan and find more time talking to people who will actually buy your product. I never had a business plan for my first four businesses.

Robert Herjavec (on who can help in creating business plan)

The big guys usually have the corner on money, but remember the little guy always has the corner on creativity. If you can position yourself as an expert in your marketplace early on, you’ll get the leg up on all of your competitors right away. I created market surveys on apartment sales in Manhattan to grab the attention of the press and make the Corcoran Group appear much bigger than it was. The media is always hungry for statistics, so creating your own market reports and distributing them will soon have the press calling you instead of you running after them for PR. And if you can steal the limelight, you’ll steal the market share.

Barbara Corcoran (on competing against the big guys)

Do not try to compete against the big guys. Your strength will be that you are small and can do the things they can’t do.

Daymond John (on competing against the big guys)

The best way to compete against the “big guys” is to find a niche that they are not covering. Be sure to keep your overhead low so you can beat them on price. It is also great if you can offer a personalized service, like a concierge type service. Give them more and better service at a lower price.

Kevin Harrington (on competing against the big guys)

The smaller you are the more laser-like your focus needs to be. A single man cannot defeat an army unless he finds their weakness and attacks them at that point one on one.

Robert Herjavec (on competing against the big guys)

Always choose attitude over experience! When I hire people I make a habit of never looking at their resume because most people spend most of their life in the wrong job. I never hire complainers or excuse makers because they’ll find a way within my company to do more of the same. People with a can-do attitude are a pleasure to work with. Positive people are willing to learn, eager to try and somehow find the solution to anything they don’t already know. They’re always great team players, and teams build big businesses, not individuals.

Barbara Corcoran (on how to build a great team)

This is trial and error. Make sure people know their roles. Make sure they complement your weaknesses. Make sure they are focused and in the business for the right reasons.

Daymond John (on how to build a great team)

You can build a great team by bringing in people you usually could not afford by offering small piece of the action or an upside.

Kevin Harrington (on how to build a great team)

Lots of ways – but the first thing is be a great leader. People naturally want to be lead and not managed. Look in the mirror – are you the one who can lead?

Robert Herjavec (on how to build a great team)

My most important criteria when making the decision to invest are: 1) Do I trust the individual? and 2) Do they have the fire in their belly to bring the business to the finish line?

Barbara Corcoran (on what makes a deal investable)

Trusting and believing in the CEO, knowing that the business can grow and distribute large profits, and knowing you have a patent that can be defended as well as licensed out to a larger company.

Daymond John (on what makes a deal investable)

First of all, an investor likes high return and accelerated payback. Generally, there is going to be more risk in what you are offering to an investor, so you must offer the him or her a higher rate of return either through the existing deal or continuing involvement, for example, the first right of refusal on new projects and new opportunities.

Kevin Harrington (on what makes a deal investable)

A great probability of a healthy return on the capital – and the likelihood of capital being returned (element of risk ).

Robert Herjavec (on what makes a deal investable)

Be concise and do not spend 4 minutes presenting a presentation if you can do it in 1 minute.

Duncan Bannatyne

Stay focused and work hard.

Duncan Bannatyne

Everyone should pull their finger out and start a business and to believe in themselves. There is nothing else to it. Anyone can make a £100m. But most people don’t go out and try. They just stand in the pub and complain.

Duncan Bannatyne

It has never an exact science when you are launching something new. There is no matrix, and there are no golden rules.

Duncan Bannatyne

I get annoyed seeing entrepreneurs laying down the law about the one and only way to make it work.

Duncan Bannatyne

It is much more important to have a really detailed plan when you are borrowing lots of money. We are not borrowing any money…

Duncan Bannatyne

Corporate social responsibility won’t help build your business. It is the right thing to do and you should do it… but not because it will help grow business.

Duncan Bannatyne

Do not spend a penny unless absolutely necessary. Focus on cash flow rather than profit.

Duncan Bannatyne

It doesn’t matter what the business is, the logic has to be the same.

Duncan Bannatyne

A board will only slow you down.

Duncan Bannatyne

The key to any business decision is to break it down into easy small decisions.

Duncan Bannatyne

Let’s say that, instinctively, you see that a deal is good. So you like it. But it’s not done yet. After that, it really is up to due diligence, to make sure the deal not only looks good for you, but that it is right. Use that due diligence as part of your decision-making process. Don’t just treat it like small print, and it helps you no end.

Duncan Bannatyne

You only live once. If you don’t enjoy it, it’s your fault, nobody else’s.

Duncan Bannatyne

A lot of the difference between a successful launch or expansion and one that falters is down to you and your priorities. I believe you should just be determined that, in the field you have chosen, you are going to make an investment, and you are going to get a return on it. And, then, that you are going to enjoy that business, and you are going to be proud of it. Because these are the most important things, and people just don’t focus on them enough.

Duncan Bannatyne

At the end of every day, ask yourself: “Have I made a profit or a loss today? And what can I do to be 100 per cent certain I make more of a profit tomorrow.”

Duncan Bannatyne

Focus on profit every day.

Duncan Bannatyne

Use whatever PR sources are available to you.

Duncan Bannatyne

Present yourself to as many investors as you can. If you are turned down, ask why – then use the advice when preparing your next pitch.

Duncan Bannatyne

Be truthful, spell out your achievements but don’t make up qualifications and previous jobs. If you are honest you will establish a reputation for reliability with your boss and colleagues.

Peter Jones

For a dream to become reality, make it real enough to believe in.

Peter Jones

Be results orientated – this will help you to be more motivated, and leave you with a sense of achievement when you reach your goals. Think carefully about what you want, and then focus on how to get there. You’d be amazed at how many people don’t do this.

Peter Jones

I lost my computer business when I was 29 because I gave credit to firms I didn’t investigate. I lost my house and had to move back in with my parents and then I lived in an office for six months.

Peter Jones

I have seen celebrities whose friends change as they become more successful, but my friends haven’t changed over 30 years.

Peter Jones

I can certainly splash out and spend on nice cars and a big house, but I’m very cautious about my investing and everyday expenditure.

Peter Jones

I’m a reporting fanatic – I have a set of indicators to alert me to which businesses need attention.

Peter Jones

If a new customer gives us an order and wants credit, we go over them with a fine-tooth comb. You have to make sure the money will be collectable.

Peter Jones

I’ve certainly learnt there’s nothing more important than cash – cash flow issues are one of the biggest causes of company failures.

Peter Jones

I’ve always liked the idea of creating a nation of entrepreneurs.

Peter Jones

I have set up a trust fund designed to keep them incentivised to work – they won’t automatically inherit large sums.

Peter Jones

I prefer to use card. I carry a couple of hundred pounds in cash for small things, but I’m a card user if I can be.

Peter Jones

Having it has led to the happiest moments in my life – as soon as I could afford to, I told my mother she didn’t have to work anymore. I said I would give her more each year than she was currently earning so she didn’t have to work past the age of 70. That was a really satisfying thing to do.

Peter Jones

There wasn’t a huge amount of money in our house and I grew up appreciating the simple things in life. It was only as I entered my teens that I started to look at how hard my father worked for relatively little return and began to feel I wanted to earn much more than him.

Peter Jones

Protect your job by making your boss aware of how committed you are.

Peter Jones

There are so many things to think about – but the bigger picture is – could this product or service become a big company. We don’t just want investments and how do we use our influence to add value to the business.

Peter Jones

I will not tip if service is poor. I don’t mind if someone accidentally spills something, but if they give me bad attitude I’ll go as far as asking for a free meal.

Peter Jones

Create a strong brand identity.

Peter Jones

Passion and commitment are vital ingredients of a winning pitch.

Peter Jones

I feel as though I´ve been very lucky.

Peter Jones

Just because I’m a millionaire, I don’t want to be taken for a ride.

Peter Jones

When they pitch their idea to me, I am thinking about the market – will the consumer want buy, do they want it, how good is their pitch and how good is the return on investment. In other words if I give him or her my money how much am I likely to get back.

Peter Jones

Always be confident, believe in what you are doing and don’t waver. You won’t persuade other people to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.

Peter Jones

Believe in yourself, never give up and go about your business with passion drive and enthusiasm.

Peter Jones

I take nothing for granted. I now only have good days, or great days.

Theo Paphitis

Dress smartly (a tie is not always necessary). Research the subject or business as much as possible – do your homework! Answer questions with honesty and precision.

Theo Paphitis

Work in a subject area that you love. Understand the detail. Write down your business plan.

Theo Paphitis

Work sharper and smarter in small, tight teams. Watch your overheads. Don’t forget to invest in people – keep training.

Theo Paphitis

Have a business plan. Demonstrate your achievements to date, ideally financial ones. Get testimonials and support from respected third parties.

Theo Paphitis (on getting investments)

Look for business opportunities with scale, as there must be potential to grow. Make your first £100,000, knowing the rest will be far easier. Always keep your feet on the ground.

Theo Paphitis

Know what is important and spend your time on that.

Deborah Meaden

Be clear, concise and honest. Address the most important business issues upfront. Do not waffle, do not make things up. Your pitch or interview doesn’t have to be perfect, just credible. Doing your homework on the person you are presenting to, and explaining why you/your business is the perfect fit, will also impress.

Deborah Meaden

Know what is important to your business and where and how the profit is generated, and spend your time on that.

Deborah Meaden

Think about how your customer is feeling and behaving in the current climate and flex your model to make sure it is relevant and appealing.

Deborah Meaden

Choose your target investor wisely, tell them why they should invest and what returns they will achieve in a clear, concise, and credible way. Explain what you require from them and what you will offer in return. Simple, but not easy!

Deborah Meaden (on getting investments)

Being a millionaire is not a career. It is something that happens because you do something of value that enough people want to pay for. For you to become a millionaire you simply need to provide a product or service to a large enough market, at a viable price – that’s it!

Deborah Meaden

Take the compassion out of the commercial decision; put compassion back in once the commercial decision has been made.

Hilary Devey

Be concise, confident, don’t over-complicate yourself or your product. Also, know your business model.

Hilary Devey

Focus and tenacity: understand the market, people, competition and the opportunities.

Hilary Devey

Think laterally and globally. Upsell wherever possible, as it costs nothing.

Hilary Devey

A business plan prepared with a realistic projection that’s accurate, concise and encompasses all aspects of your business.

Hilary Devey (on getting investments)

Don’t chase money, it runs away.

Hilary Devey