10 things business owners can learn from The Dragons

It’s been our screens for nearly 10 years now and Dragons Den continues to give viewers an engaging insight into businesses operating in many different sectors and at different stages of their lifecycle. Whilst much of the show is simply good entertainment there are valuable lessons to be learnt for existing business owners and those thinking of starting a business. Here I take a look at 10 things you can learn from Peter Jones and co.

  1. Structure your business - Whether your business is in its infancy or you’re approaching retirement it is essential to choose the right structure. Sole trader, partnership, company, LLP or something else you should spend time making the right choice and review it regularly.
  2. Differentiate - You may have a successful business that generates good profits but what is to stop a competitor opening ‘next door’ and taking your customers? Identify your Unique Selling Point and takes steps to protect it from being copied.
  3. Prepare a business plan - Many businesses operate without a formal business plan but putting your plans in writing can help focus your mind on current and future issues. The plan should consider all factors affecting your business and should be as comprehensive as time allows.
  4. Negotiate - Customers are likely to drive a hard bargain from you so don’t be afraid to do the same with your suppliers to get the best deal possible. Bulk discounts, faster delivery or other terms may be available which would be valuable to your business.
  5. Know your market and plan ahead - Keep a close eye on competitors and the market and predict how any changes will affect your business. As an example, it has been important for most traditional high street retailers to move towards online retailing in recent years simply to maintain their previous success.
  6. Be prepared - All businesses face setbacks of one form or another and you need to be adaptable and evolve to succeed.
  7. Consider your exit strategy - Dragons are always looking for a way to realise their investment and as a business owner you should be no different. Whether you’re looking to continue trading until retirement age or intend to build your business and sell up it is advisable to plan ahead.
  8. Choose your business partners wisely - Businesses often start through friendship or family relationships but no matter how amicable they begin things can change given time. A partnership or shareholder agreement is recommended for all businesses with more than one owner.
  9. Know your numbers - Every business needs to know where they stand financially to help good decision-making. A computerised system such as Xero or Sage will help give accurate up to information at the push of a button.
  10. Consider growth through franchising - Duncan Bannatyne has shown interest in franchising businesses over the years including an investment in 2007 in Carlisle-based Razzamataz theatre schools. Franchising can provide fast growth for the right business whilst retaining control.

If you would like to discuss ways that your business can stay one step ahead of its competitors contact Chris Carr from our Rosehill office in Carlisle.


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