Episode 8: Aonghus O'Heocha
Before I went into the den I felt confident and well prepared. When I walked in, however, I could feel five sets of laser like eyes boring holes in me and my confidence 'wobbled' a bit. Thankfully that was only a minor blip and after the introduction I got back on track and gave them as good as I got; endurance and mental gymnastics rule!.
Q: Who was the toughest Dragon?
A: It's not that he asked particularly tough questions but Gavin Duffy has a particular glare which he couples extremely well with a sort of dismissive, I really think 'you're just wasting my time ' posture. For this reason I'd have to pick him.
Q: Were you nervous?
A: Initially I was fine but when I started to speak for the first time, the heavy atmosphere cut through my speech leaving me short of breath. I then settled into my stride and thought to myself these are only human beings just like myself.
Q: How did you prepare?
A: I presented to myself (whilst walking down the road) our three cats, my wife, my friends and a mentor panel from Enterprise Ireland just before Christmas.
Q: Was it as you expected it to be?
A: I did not think I was going to in the Den for as long as I was. Standing there being grilled by those five sharp minds was similar to my experiences presenting to BMW top management in Munich. An hour and half on your feet, fending off questions with long pensive pauses in between is a long time.
Q: Who was most interested in your idea?
A: I felt Bobby and I made a connection pretty soon into the presentation. He was clearly listening very intently and making the appropriate conclusions. He even re-affirmed some the things I had said earlier to some of the other dragons.
Q: Would you have done anything differently?
A: I probably would have waited a few months until the business was more 'mature'.
Q: Has entering the den changed your perception of business in any way?
A: Entering the den has not changed my perception of business but it has underlined how important the relentless pursuit of sales is.
Q: Would you recommend applying for Dragon's Den to any other budding entrepreneurs?
A: Absolutely, but I would only recommend people applying if they have a great product or service with a ready-made growing market and great profitability. The most important thing is to have your homework done and know your sector inside out. The den is not for ideas; these guys want you to have loads done before they hop on your 'gravy train', and start stoking the fires.
Q: What does this mean to you personally?
A: What this means personally is that I have achieved another milestone on the path to becoming a successful businessman. It's like another tick in the box but made even more valuable by the fact that it has been made by two very shrewd individuals who I hope will add real value to the business.