Deliberation with a Dragon
On Monday 24th November I had the pleasure of going to an event where Deborah Meaden was speaking. Before I begin, I’d like to point out that Deborah is one of my business idols, someone who I really respect as a business woman and certainly aspire to be like.
I love Dragon’s Den, and watching all the businesses pitching their stories in an attempt to get investment from the Dragons. Deborah has always come across as a very knowledgable on the programme and the thought of being in the same room as her was very exciting – it is a well known fact in business that hanging around with inspiring people can be really beneficial.
Along with her success as a business owner and entrepreneur, Deborah also has a passion for ethical and environmental businesses so we have an instant synergy.
Deborah came onto the stage and she was charming and obviously very down to earth. She talked for a while about her life and then took questions from the floor.
She told us her story and how she had always felt she was a bit different and wouldn’t fit into a work situation, especially the being told what to do part. I think as entrepreneurs often we are a bit like this. I have certainly felt I don’t want to or need to fit in, and I like to push boundaries, do things differently and question the everyday mundane way of life.
I can also see it in my daughter and how she is always trying to accessories her school uniform because she is seeking that sense of individuality. I think at school we are really taught to conform, and perhaps a reason many of us entrepreneurs did not fair well in the school environment.
I loved how Deborah spoke about her morning routine how she is a late riser (something else we both have in common). I’d much rather work late at night than early in the morning and have often stayed up past 2am working on things, but don’t enjoy having to get up before 7am.
As part of her routine, Deborah goes outside for an early morning walk barefoot in her garden. I actually thought this was a great thing to do. She said she does it to ground herself, but actually the act I think does far more than that as I think it relates to keeping well as an entrepreneur. Just taking some time out for yourself in the morning can be really important to fully reset and connecting with nature in a way that is wholesome and energising. I am actually thinking of adopting this into my mornings in an attempt to connect with nature more and use the time to reset my batteries and clear my head for the day ahead.
She also talked a lot about her behaviour with customers and how her early days as a bingo caller (another thing we have in common) helped her to really connect with her audience. She learnt early on that the way you behave is very influential to business success, and that customers can see if it is not authentic. This was something I learnt last year, having sent out some marketing that was written by someone else. I got a lot of people responding, asking me if I had hired a marketing agency in as it didn’t sound like me. So I think it is important to adapt your message to fit you and your brand to make sure there is a consistent message.
Remembering that people buy people is key, and something that Deborah obviously mastered early on, which she believes has led to her great success.
On another point, it turns out another thing I learnt is it take better photos as the one below shows you. Thanks to Mark Reynolds from Profit Reach for lending me his, which I have used in this blog.