Saturday, May 26, 2007

Money where your mouth is

There are certain tv programs I can’t ever imagine myself going on. One of them is Distraction, that appalling quiz show where you can lose as much as you gain, and where the distractions consist of humiliations and pain. Seems to me to be a game show for fools.
Another show I’d prefer not to be involved in is Dragon’s Den, even if I had something that I thought could be funded by one of the dragons. I’ve seen very few people on this show who were both prepared for all the questions the dragons put or who had the nous to put their case in such a way as to impress the dragons. Occasionally someone makes it through, but for the most part I don’t think these self-made millionaires are in much danger of losing any money.

Venpar (Venture Alliance Partners) are a company who fund business ideas, and it’s interesting to see that they require a pretty sound business plan before they’ll consider your approach. The business plan, they say, should include the size of the investment you’re looking for and the structure of the business. It should have a description of the product or service (that’s fairly obvious), a history of the company (could be difficult for someone starting up), the business and marketing strategy – it’s getting harder – and an analysis of the market and the competition. Given in yet? Full resumes of the key players in the management and current financial statements – and projections – are also required.

This is the sort of thing start-up entrepreneurs aren’t very good at. And it’s why many of the people who go on the dragon show fail: they just haven’t given enough attention to all these matters. Usually this is because they’re too busy getting their product off the ground. Still, I guess there’s one thing about the Dragons’ Den: it’s a quick-fire learning ground for someone who does have something worthwhile, but hasn’t put all their info together yet.

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