Episode 2: Deirdre Collins
As Irelands only meat-free brand I really wanted to share my vision of the Dee's brand with the Dragons and hoped that they would understand the concept behind Dee's. Fortunately, they did but you really didn't know until the end how it is going and whether they liked it or not.
Q: Who was the toughest Dragon?
A: I thought perhaps Sarah was, she pressed on figures and market research, which some of the other Dragons didn't.
Q: Were you nervous?
A: Absolutely, I kept trying to remember to breathe but kept taking shallow breaths instead of deep ones. I'm sure you can actually hear me trying to breathe!
Q: How did you prepare?
A: I am fortunate that I started this business from scratch so I know it inside out, I had refocused my business plan in the weeks before and practised my pitch over and over. The pitch sounded a little learned off so I had to practise doing the pitch in normal conversational tones. This I found really difficult, as you are trying to remember the main points you have to get across in your 2 minutes. I could definitely never be an actor!
Q: Was it as you expected it to be?
A: It is still a little surreal, and I can actually only remember talking for about a minute in the Den, even though I was in there over an hour. It probably is the most nerve wracking thing I have ever done.
Q: Who was most interested in your idea?
A: From the start Niall seemed the most interested; while Sarah kindly made an offer to give me a choice of Dragon's to work with, coming in with Bobby and Sean. However, the percentage they wanted to take was too high.
Q: Would you have done anything differently?
A: Maybe I could have negotiated a bit harder, but in the heat of the moment that is easier said than done.
Q: Has entering the den changed your perception of business in any way?
A: It is so important to have a business plan and this experience really cemented that. You are going nowhere without a good, solid business plan and it is important that it is tailored to what you can achieve today in your business, while also factoring in potential for manageable growth.
Q: Would you recommend applying for Dragon's Den to any other budding entrepreneurs?
A: Yes, definitely! It is a fantastic experience to get the honest opinions of 5 seasoned business people. Even if it didn't go well in the Den, I think any entrepreneur would take on board the advice given to them on the day.
Q: What does this mean to you personally?
A: I really feel that I prepared as best I could and gave it my all on the day. It couldn't have gone better in the end and I feel really proud that I have brought my business from my little kitchen in Innishannon, where I started in 2007, to a forum that allowed me to present my business to such remarkable business people.