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November 10, 2008

It's a recession proof business

Post from the CBC's hit reality TV Show, Dragons' Den Blog:

“Succulent,” is not a word you think you would hear from Kevin – where’s the money – O’Leary. Of course he was describing profits, not his favourite roast beef, but there was not one, “You’re crazy” or “What a stupid idea” to be heard during the presentation by Creative Hair Solutions.
It all began when Brenda, the flight attendant, arrived in the Den with her hair extension business. At first, Kevin did look like he was measuring Brenda for her coffin but then, what a turnaround, as soon as the magic words “1000% mark up” were spoken.
After that, Kevin was lying on the ground letting Brenda tickle his tummy, purring, “I like your numbers, I like your product, I want to buy your product, I want to wear your product.”
Brenda created this positively oozing love fest because she knew her clients and her competitors, she went to market well prepared, she had proof of concept with an impressive sales track record and she could quote her financial numbers and key ratios. It was clear she was competent in business and was sane enough for an entrepreneur.
One of the investors, Dragon Robert Herojovac, allowed Brenda to use him as an extreme makeover model, going from plain millionaire to heartthrob Braveheart warrior in minutes. Lay on a kilt and axe and we could see Robert heading for the battlefield. I must admit, I felt a thrill going up my leg. Then Robert flicked back his hair and asked Arlene in his usual charming way, “This is one of the few times I actually do care what you think. What’s your opinion?”
Arlene was so overcome, she said, “I can’t even look at you, Robert.” See the affect of men with long hair on women? Imagine all those male office workers who could change their lives: during the week-they are Dilberts in their cubes, but by weekend – they morph into manly Fabios.
Kevin licked his lips as he talked about what drives the cash flow of a business and he was mesmerized by the fact that sales for Creative Hair Solutions would be driven by female vanity. Revlon sells “Hope” which has translated into billions of dollars spent on lipstick by ever hopeful women. “It’s a recession proof business,” Kevin said, glowing at the thought.
Then Jim Treliving put it in a far more eloquent and may I say, poetic way, “It’s about big boobs and big hair.”
W. Brett Wilson agreed. He shared a quaint story that in Texas, where they like everything big, a woman with large tracts of land is appealing and big hair also helps.
All the Dragons could see Brenda did not need their money to grow her business which is a big vote of confidence for her long term success. And then Kevin did the most extraordinary thing. He offered to make a phone call to change Brenda’s life.
Here you see the benefit of getting out of your comfort zone and talking to people who are not from your usual group of colleagues. By taking out your business presentation to people who scare the heck out of you, there is fresh information to gain. As the book Money Magnet will show you, they may turn you down but at the same time, they may put you in contact with someone who would invest in your business.
Kevin said, “Usually I take a slice.”
A slice?
A slice of what exactly, Kevin? That sounds alarmingly Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrels.
But it is true that rarely will you gain access to a Dragon’s Rolodex without first selling a piece of your business or paying an introduction fee. It must have been the effect of Brenda wearing her big hair or perhaps Robert looking so caveman or even Big Jim’s naughty talk, but Kevin seemed to have been rolling in catnip and was feeling particularly generous.
So Brenda, if you do get a deal as a result of Kevin’s phone call, remember to pay it back – perhaps give Kevin his own succulent hairpiece?
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