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Voted #6 on Top 100 Family Business influencer on Wealth, Legacy, Finance and Investments: Jacoline Loewen LinkedIn Profile
Showing posts with label Dragons Den CBC Jacoline Loewen Private Equity flax pitch deal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dragons Den CBC Jacoline Loewen Private Equity flax pitch deal. Show all posts

November 10, 2011

How to do a Health Food pitch on Dragons' Den

"Hi, I'm from "Hali-flax," said Brent, the pitcher of 0megaCrunch Flax, a health food. By using this corny joke to open his pitch, Brent gave a quick insight into how five years of partnering with him could feel, and the Dragons responded warmly. A sense of humour shows a great deal, for example, how Brent would build relationships with the retailers who would be selling Omega flax. 

So what the heck is flax and who cares? In any pitch to investors, the entrepreneur must illustrate very quickly why there is a burning need for their product in the market. Who would buy these jars of what looks suspiciously like hamster food? Luckily Brent had Arlene to step in and give his pitch for him. She showed why she is the Master of Persuasion and gave Robert a thorough primer on the value of flax as the miracle food to help those baby boomers. 

Next, the make-or-break question. "Sales?" 

Turns out Brent has a steady cash flow and is already working with Sobys in the Maritimes. The large retailer demands professionalism. Brent is ready to expand his territory. The business is making a fair profit but his sunk costs are growing due to marketing costs. 

Finally, it was time to try the flax. Out came a slightly sinister mascot called Flax Boy. The Dragons nibbled on the flax and I waited for a grimace. What is good for you often tastes like lawn clippings or tree bark. Evidently Omega Crunch is pretty tasty because Bruce, who has revealed himself to be a bit of a foodie and health nut, was scoffing down the stuff, "This taste is unbelievable." 

Then came his Big Jim swoop: 50 grand in dough for half the pie. No doubt, he was thinking it could add a health value to pizza crusts for Boston Pizza. 

Jim needs a controlling interest because he'll need to make business moves that may be over Brent's head and out of his comfort zone. This is the big decision for owners. Do I want to be in control or do I want to share the steering wheel and go a heck of lot further than I thought possible. It may seem obvious that Jim will bring his food industry clout and within a year, Brent will be in a far more profitable position than today. Yet for Brent, he knows it will mean a sea change in how the business will operate. 

Kevin threw in an offer with a pearl of a marketing idea: put Uncle Kevin's "smiling bald head" on the jars. That might work for golf balls but Arlene and Robert submitted their views on that idea in their diplomatic way. I did agree with Kevin about getting rid of Flax Boy, although torching him seemed a tad extreme. 

Arlene choked on Kevin's marketing plans, but made an offer with a similar financial structure that included a royalty fee in order to get paid back more quickly. This is good for a silent finance partner, but Brent knew it would kill his cash flow, which he needed to build the business. He also wanted more expert help. 

"Holy Flax! Three competing offers," said Robert. Indeed, Brent had interest but he recognized that although Jim would take more ownership of the business, he had deep food industry experience. That expertise is priceless. 

I have to say, with the dragon heavyweight on board, I'm looking forward to seeing Omega flax its muscles. 

Jacoline Loewen, MBA, is a Director of Loewen & Partners Inc., a corporate finance firm working with business owners and family businesses. Loewen & Partners has raised over $150 million for owner-managed Canadian companies, as well as managing family business succession, acquisition, and final sale. She is an advisor, lecturer and writer of business strategy and private equity. Her latest book "Money Magnet: How to Attract Investors to Your Business," published by Wiley, was selected by the Entrepreneurship course at The Richard Ivey School of Business.

Jacoline began her career working for Granduc Mines in Northern British Columbia and went on to work with Deloitte in their strategy unit. She developed a strategic planning model and published it in a book called "The Power of Strategy" which went on to be a best seller. She also wrote "Business e-Volution" which helped teams understand the business opportunities created by the Internet. She writes for the National Post, Globe & Mail and hosted Financial Post Executive podcasts (available on iTunes). She organizes CEO Roundtables and other conferences in alliance with Ivey Business School, Rotman and leading law firms.

Jacoline is a Director on the Board of the Exempt Market Dealers Association (EMDA), working with the Ontario Securities Commission to establish transparency in the private placement industry. She is on the advisory board of DCL International, Bilingo China, and Flint Business Acceleration. She was on the Board of Directors of the Strategic Leadership Forum where she ran the Knowledge Café series. Her other roles include serving as a judge for the U.B.C. and the Richard Ivey School of Business' Business Plan Competitions, mentoring for Canadian Youth Business Foundation as well as being a member of The Ticker Club.

Follow Jacoline on Twitter at @jacolineloewen