Dragons Den Competition
I was told that Dacorum, my county council, were going to be running a Dragon’s Den competition.
The council was looking to promote small local businesses. Successful entrants would receive a prize of £ 1,000. The closing date would be the end of August. Two people I know and respect said I would be stupid not to apply.
I had to submit a business plan
The two questions in my mind were very simple; ‘Is aid4disabled a business?’ and ‘Could I be bothered?’. The answers to both questions were ‘Yes’. Not wanting to seen as an idle so-and-so I downloaded the application form.
Some of the questions were easy such as my name, address and business name. What really horrified me was that I had to submit a business plan.
Advertising and consultancy
Writing the proposal took me the best part of a week. Obviously I had ideas for the business and how it was going to progress. The problem was that they were no more than scattered thoughts lurking in the deeper recesses of my brain. Somehow I had to extract these ideas and form a business plan.
Looking back it was a very good idea to take these vague unconnected ideas and write out a coherent logical business plan. I soon realised that there other things I should do as well as build this website. The basic idea was to make money out of advertising but another idea was to build up a consultancy side to the business. I could talk to people about my disability, in fact I’m doing it already at the ‘Preceptor Trials’ run by my Neurologist, Professor Giovannoni.
Put it in the post thought no more about it
There were other other questions that had to be answered, such as ‘Who will benefit, explain how the grant will be spent, evaluation of success. It took me several days to complete the proposal, I finished it, put it in the post thought no more about it.
About a week later in early September I received a phone call saying that I had been selected to present my case to the Dragons Den. . This came as an almighty surprise to me, I was so excited – a bit like a child at Christmas. I had to meet the sponsor on Monday 6th of September, I was briefed why I had been selected to make a pitch and told about the weaknesses. I now had just over a week to make my presentation to the Dragons.
I was told the Dragons would want to be told ‘How success will be measured?’, ‘how the grant would be spent’ and how my plan would benefit ‘Community Social Responsibility’ and help people in the community.
At the pitch there were four Dragons
I was told that I would be given 10 minutes for my pitch and 10 minutes to answer questions. Afterwards I could put my points across in a video that as going to be on Youtube.
At the pitch there were four Dragons. I do not find talking a problem in fact quite the opposite I did not have enough time to explain everything. Ten minutes is not very long and as a speaker it is very difficult to know how long you have been talking. When I got home I felt that I could have done better and that I had not given it my best shot.
On Monday afternoon I got a phone call saying that £1,000 was going to be invested into the business by the council. I could not believe it, imagine my surprise and delight. I was on cloud 9 for over a day.
I will tell you more about how the website and the business has progressed in a couple of months.