The Dragon that used his noodle….

11th August 2013
Ideas are wonderful things. They come from nowhere, yet somewhere. They come from a viewpoint only you can see. They turn into a vision. And along the way a dream can, in some cases, become a reality.  But how does that happen? How can you inspire other people to dream your dream or envisage your vision. What if you struggle with anxiety? Or your reason for your desire to succeed makes it hard for you to express your ideas to the people that need to hear them?
Tonight I watched the first in the new series of Dragons Den (BBC 2, Sunday nights). And tonight I saw something different. I watched a guy called Ross Mendham present his pitch – Bare Naked Noodles – and like some, he struggled. “Jeez” I thought, “These Dragons are gonna crucify him”. He looked unprepared and out of his depth. “Kiss that money goodbye Matey” I thought as the pitch went on. He became more nervous and flustered and I really wanted the Dragons to just put the poor guy out of his misery and let him go home (or to the nearest pub for one Hell of a stiff drink!).
Then the story behind his ‘nerves’ unfolded when one of the Dragons asked him how he supported himself while building up his business. Through tear-filled eyes he said his wife worked full time to support them both and she had just suffered her third miscarriage. Losing a baby is tough at the best of times but when the woman does not have the freedom to take time off work to emotionally recover and the man is trying his all to build up a business, the stress for both of them at this time must have been excruciating. It was no wonder he was struggling with his pitch, he must have been all over the place mentally.
But here’s the bit that all viewers will remember tonight’s show for. Dragons get pitched to constantly I imagine, day in day out. They could refuse this guy knowing that another guy will come along with a stronger more confident pitch that could blow Peter Jones’ favourite stripey socks off, or even make Duncan Bannatyne smile. But then Peter Jones, followed by Duncan Bannatyne and lastly Piers Linney, these scary ol’ dragons did what people rarely do. They looked past the nerves and the emotion and they saw the idea and the vision. Instead of saying “I’m out!” they said “I’m in!”. Ross was offered several options and he chose to go into business with the first Dragon who put his faith in him, Peter Jones.  Amazing result for Ross and I hope his increased production in his business is successfully followed in his personal life.
But what about other people with ideas and dreams? Some people have big dreams of Dragons Den proportions, some just dream of coming off benefits and feeding their families, of being classed as a ‘Striver’ instead of a ‘Scrounger’. Some people just want to stop feeling sick in the pit of their stomach when the phone rings or the doorbell goes. “Easy” some of you will say, “Just get out there and get a job”. It’s not easy at all, for some people it damn hard.
There’s finding a job that isn’t temporary, part-time or a zero hours contract. Then if you find one you have to have a good CV complete with a work history and documenting your experience. Then a covering letter or email. If you are lucky enough to get through that stage, that’s great but for many people this is a hurdle of epic proportions. What if you have no work history through illness or extended unemployment? What if you have no experience because there are no vacancies within your preferred job sector and you are widening your options? What if you have a learning disability or dyslexia and your literacy is not to the same standard as the other CVs the employer receives?
I’ve no doubt many employers who wouldn’t look twice at you with regards to paid employment if your CV was ‘sub-standard’ would be more than happy to take you on if you were offered on a plate to them as free labour with a side order of ‘goodwill’ payment. But how do you find the ‘Peter Jones’, the ‘Duncan Bannatyne’ or the ‘Piers Linney’ that can see past the paper and in turn value the person?
I’ve an idea that I’m working on that will turn the recruitment process on it’s head, alongside that I want to offer through Peterborough Against Poverty, practical and social help for jobseekers to improve their skills and confidence to follow their dreams, whether it be standing in front of those scary ol’ Dragons or answering the phone or front door without that feeling in their stomach.
So tomorrow I start a new week and a new beginning. An idea. A vision. A dream. And a pitch that will hopefully find me my own ‘Dragons’ to see my vision enough to help me turn the dream into a reality. I can’t offer them a share in a company or a return in their investment in a financial sense but I can offer them the biggest thank you, publicity on the website and that warm glow in their hearts because they’ve done something amazing for people that need a hand up instead of a handout.

To watch tonight’s episode of iPlayer click here

Find Ross Mendham’s Bare Naked Foods here

Follow the Dragons on Facebook: Peter Jones, Duncan Bannatyne & Piers Linney

Better still follow Peterborough Against Poverty by clicking here and while you are at it like our Facebook page here

And if you want to be one of my own lil Dragons, fill out the form below leaving me your contacts details and we’ll talk x

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