Dragons' Den was a tense affair on Sunday evening, with all of the featured entrepreneurs making a strong case for their products as they sought investment from the panel.
Unlike many episodes where some of the more sensational ideas are quickly shot down, the latest instalment saw a strong display of poise, determination and knowledge from the plucky businessmen and women who made their way into the Den.
One of the most impressive features of the numerous pitches was the confident approach adopted by the entrepreneurs - especially from David, Mike and Heidi of SnuggleBundl, who managed to stay calm and collected despite some biting comments from Peter Jones. The trio eventually left with nothing, but certainly caught Kelly and Deborah's attention.
While the Dragons are sometimes left to lament the delivery of entrepreneurs' pitches, they were finding it tough to pick any significant holes in this week's efforts
Similarly, Lynwen and Rachel presented their NouriSH me now brand with admirable composure and understanding, providing in-depth answers to Kelly's questions as they demonstrated their faith in the sports recovery drink they'd created. Unfortunately they couldn't win the Dragons over, either, but the product and its purpose had clearly been well thought through.
While the Dragons are sometimes left to lament the delivery of entrepreneurs' pitches, they were finding it tough to pick any significant holes in this week's efforts. The only real criticism was reserved for Joe Nelson, with Deborah accusing the former trader of talking over her. Yet despite the hiccup, it's tough to label Joe's pitch as anything but cool and confident - even if he did fail to convince the Dragons to invest in TheyFit following questions around his patent.
The series of impressive pitches had to result in someone securing investment eventually, and it was Amer Hasan who finally managed to talk the panel into parting with some cash.
Amer ticked all the boxes as he talked through his venture - minicabit.com. Answering questions, explaining the business and detailing his targets, the entrepreneur was a picture of professionalism. He may have initially been reluctant to reveal his corporate investor, but the decision to do so proved worthwhile as Peter, Deborah and Piers queued up to make him an offer.
This left Amer in a particularly strong position. With three Dragons showing their desire to invest in his mini cab price comparison service, he had the opportunity to seek a deal suited to his own expectations - providing he played his cards right.
Fortunately Amer displayed some particularly strong negotiating skills, manipulating the situation to get a deal that would have initially seemed unlikely.
Peter was the first to make an offer, pledging the full £75,000 Amer needed in exchange for 40% of the business. Deborah responded by offering exactly the same deal, while Piers opted to undercut his counterparts for the second consecutive episode by asking for 30% of the business in return for the money Amer needed.
While the obvious choice was to take Piers up on his offer, Amer seemed intent on getting as much expertise on board as possible. After some clever manoeuvring he talked Deborah and Peter into each taking 17.5% of the business by dividing the investment money.
It was a shrewd move by Amer, using the offer from Piers to improve his bargaining position and get what he wanted. It was also a welcome change to see one of the entrepreneurs holding the power, and set a great example for future hopefuls to follow when bartering with the Dragons.
Dan O’Sullivan is Make It Cheaper's Web Content Manager, which means much of his time is dedicated to ensuring we have plenty of online material to help business owners understand the energy, insurance and telecoms industries. With years of experience working alongside SMEs, Dan is committed to making life as easy as possible for smaller firms. You can email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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