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Going Back to Your Roots

Watching a re-run of Dragon's Den last week, I was pleased to see Levi Roots' excellent pitch for his Reggae Reggae sauce.

He came up the famous stairs, playing his guitar and singing "Give me some Reggae Reggae sauce..." and presented a beautifully simple pitch. It's not as hot as hot sauce and it's not as sweet as tomato sauce.

He also presented an order from a major retailer for millions of litres of sauce. The dragons were on the edge of their seats, because nothing gets their attention like a patent or order. In other words, if their investment is watertight, guaranteed, then of course they might just consider investing in your business.

Unfortunately, Levi had misread the letter from the retailer. Their order was for thousands, not millions of litres. One by one, the dragons pulled out. They couldn't work with someone who had such a poor grip on the financials of their business.

And then, a miracle. Peter Jones, of all people, took a plain and simple liking to Levi. Peter offered half the money, and Richard Farley offered the other half, all in return for 40% - double what Levi had been looking for.

Incidentally, I have only seen one person in the den ask the dragons what they were going to offer in return for their share of the business. It's a fair question, because the pitch is a two way transaction, not a beauty parade.

On the face of it, Peter Jones and Richard Farley took a punt, a wild gamble. Or did they?

A new product that can be sold as is with the face of the charismatic Levi Roots is good enough. But in the future, maybe we'll see recipe kits and ready meals that incorporate Reggae Reggae sauce.

In short, I think they saw potential.

The lesson from Levi is that your pitch doesn't always have to be word perfect, and sometimes you can get away with a less than complete grip on the numbers. If your heart is full of passion and pride in what you do, you may just find that, like Levi Roots, an investor sees the potential in you.

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