x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

How to tame those dragons in the den

The Life: Robert Herjavec, the co-star of a reality show that puts entrepreneurs in front of potential investors, provides some helpful tips on how to startup a venture.

Review of Driven: How to Succeed in Business and in Life, by Robert Herjavec

For those unfamiliar with the TV programme Dragon's Den, there is a secret sauce that has got the reality show produced in more than 30 countries.

The recipe is simple: take some entrepreneurs, mix in plenty of emotion as they pitch their business ideas to a panel of potential investors and sprinkle in millions of dollars in funding for the most innovative concepts.

But as any entrepreneur will tell you, it's often a long road between conception and execution when it comes to launching a new venture. Securing outside funding to keep an operation going tends to be one of the biggest challenges, and that's where Robert Herjavec hopes to come in.

He is one of the investors who co-stars in the Canadian version of Dragon's Den, as well as the US edition - known as Shark Tank - and he has published a book that provides plenty of helpful tips on how new entrepreneurs can get started with their own venture.

In Driven, Herjavec also sprinkles in details about his own rags-to-riches journey, from poor-kid-in-Canada to an established businessman who sold one of his companies to AT&T for more than US$100 million (Dh367.2m) and another to Nokia for $225m.

Parts of the book read more like a how-to guide for aspiring contestants who may want to pitch on one of Herjavec's shows.

But there are some behind-the-scenes details that could help anyone trying to pitch their business, including the revelation that after a dozen or so attempts investors either "become lethargic about making decision[s] or testy with each other, leading to flashes of anger", Herjavec writes.

The takeaway for entrepreneurs: try to book one of the earliest pitch meetings whenever possible.

Skimmers will appreciate the easy layout of Herjavec's book, with some subsections containing useful tips such as "how to get financing" or "how I deal with the stress of running a business".

Certain chapters, though, such as 33, Have Fun, and 34, Look Good, can be easily skipped by most.

The Quote: "Your children are your babies. Your business is your business. Every business has a price. Your family hasn’t." Robert Herjavec, author of Driven and co-star of Dragon’s Den and Shark Tan