A couple of weeks ago we posted the following video on our facebook page:
In the video you can see a particular part of the show Dragon’s Den. The concept of the TV show that was licensed to dozens of countries is very simple: an entrepreneur pitches his idea to a group of investors who will then ask the applicant a bunch of questions and in the end they either give him money for his idea or not.
Success is dependent on strong content, i.e. a good idea, and a solid business plan. On the other hand, it also needs to be packaged in a nice way (pitch). At the end, during the Q&A, the plan needs to be defended in every aspect.
This list is very similar to the success factors of a case study. Let’s see what we can learn from such investor pitches!
- First impression
The first impression, and sympathy in general is incredibly important. One can often see that the investors have already made up their mind and are only asking questions out of being polite. In the Hungarian version of the show, the judges could indicate this by saying they were ‘out’. And they used this option many times: when listening to an IT software idea, there was a judge who was out after 30 seconds. Moreover, Kati Zoób fashion designer said at one time: “I was out when you walked in’. The situation may not be this bad at case competitions but a bad, flavorless opening story can definitely affect the rest of the presentation in a negative way.
- Respect the jury
First of all, appreciate the time of the jury and keep it short. At a case competition the time limit is fixed, the most important is to have an executive summary at the beginning of the presentation from which the jury can understand the core of your idea and perhaps (!) continue to pay attention to the details. Secondly, don’t be rude. Do not interrupt the jury and under no circumstances be patronizing.
No matter how nicely you package your idea, the jury will always ask about the details. This time you cannot feel insecure instead you have to defend your plan. It is not enough to say that a business administration software is “simply better” than its competitor. You need to specifically name its competitive advantage. If you are talking BS, the jury will think that your plan is not ready or that even you don’t really believe in it. The idea and the details need to be based on reality otherwise the jury will tear you apart.
If you liked the post, you should watch other Dragon’s Den videos. There was a similar TV Show on RTL Klub, called Ecopoly which sort of went wrong but you can nonetheless learn a lot from the presentations. You can find videos here:
How NOT to present: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vhHE9ibYYg
How to present: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8iZLL6fgNg
And a bonus for those with entrepreneurial spirits: http://www.ted.com/talks/david_s_rose_on_pitching_to_vcs.html