LEAKPRO® Meets the Dragons
After 20 successful years in business, in order to grow the business further, I needed assistance in the areas of Franchise Sales and Franchise Management. I had previously considered acquisition offers in the hopes that those companies would provide such support, but after completing my due diligence I realized those companies would not be the right fit for LEAKPRO® or our Franchisees.
I take every opportunity to learn about business – reading articles, books, listening to business radio shows and watching TV shows like The Profit, Shark Tank and of course, Dragon’s Den . I knew I was strong on the technical side of the business. I’m also great at selling the services of my franchisees and broadening their opportunities to grow their individual operations. I know my weaknesses – I needed assistance with back office functions, franchise support and franchise sales.
I have been a dedicated fan of Dragon’s Den for many years. While I may not have agreed with the individual Dragon’s point of view, I always had great respect for what they had accomplished and I was fascinated by the entrepreneurs and the myriad types of businesses they created, always looking forward to the next episode.
There was one entrepreneur in particular who caught my attention on Episode 5 of Season 10 – I call her the “Cookie Lady” (Wendy McNally – Good for You Deserts). We had a lot in common – she had also been in business for 19 years and was challenged with how to expand her business. We were both entrenched in the daily operations with no time to consider the big picture in order to expand. We both needed help. The “Cookie Lady” episode stayed with me.
My younger sister Susan, who is a natural at sales, had been telling me for years that I should go on Dragon’s Den . As fate would have it, in reading my local Saturday Kingston Whig Standard newspaper, I came across a little ad about Dragon’s Den Auditions scheduled in Kingston on Friday February 26 at the Ambassador Hotel. With Susan’s voice in my ear, I thought – WHY NOT!
Friday February 26, 2016 Ambassador Hotel, Kingston Ontario
I walked into the hallway of the Ambassador Hotel and found a number of entrepreneurs madly practicing their pitches. I hadn’t thought about a “pitch”! One of the young entrepreneurs and I exchanged stories about our businesses and she told me that she and her partner had been practicing their pitch for at least a month. She asked how long I had been practicing – I responded that I hadn’t been practicing at all! The nerves set in! While I knew my business, I didn’t know what to expect from the audition! She chuckled and wished me luck. The first entrepreneur went in…5 minutes later they came out – I asked them how they did. They responded “We nailed it!” The nerves increased! The third entrepreneur entered the audition and 8 minutes later they came out sporting huge smiles. LEAKPRO® was called in next…I started to sweat!
I did my “pitch”. I was asked a lot of questions and when I exited the audition I looked at my watch and realized that my pitch had lasted 40 minutes! Boy time flies when you’re being “interrogated”! I breathed a sigh of relief. One of the producers then advised me to expect an email in 6 weeks’ time. Two weeks later I was notified that I had been chosen to participate in Season 11 of Dragon’s Den and provided with my taping date of Wednesday April 20, 2016 which was the FIRST day of the new season and to top it all off, I would be the FIRST presenter. Talk about pressure!
Wednesday April 20, 2016 CBC Studios, Toronto, Ontario
With the help of my son Nolan, who had worked with me the previous summer while at university and Multi-Unit LEAKPRO® Franchisee Michael Tedesco , we were primed and ready to present to the Dragon’s! First impression of the studio building – MASSIVE. We took a red Dodge Charger up to the 10th floor studio in a freight elevator that could have lifted a transport truck. The actual studio was smaller than expected from watching the show on TV – very tight for space because of the room required for all the cameras, production equipment, staging and dressing rooms etc. The amount of staff required for the show is tremendous. The Dragon’s Den makeup, hair, lighting, sound people and production assistants were all very good at what they did and while very professional, they helped us prepare and calm our nerves.
Producer Adam Avrashi had been assigned to my segment. He was friendly, patient, and supportive as he kept me focused on the task of learning my script – thank you Adam!
Next…Lights, Camera, Action…HUGE doors opened. We walked into a dimly lit area and up a flight of wooden stairs. We waited for the music to cue our walk down the now famous hallway, down the stairs, and then… LEAKPRO®entered “ THE DEN” .
Starting the “pitch”
Water testing the car with a malfunction but the show must go on….
Multi-Unit LEAKPRO® Franchisee Michael Tedesco entering the Dragons Den his own way…
We start our pitch and…the water system I had constructed and tested over and over again, broke! We could not “water test” the car! We worked around it…we had to! The non-stop taping took 49 minutes – the Dragons’ peppered us with questions – brutal! You had better be prepared – you need to know your business inside and out, including your financials. We did! We were still exhausted at the end of it but exhilarated because of the adrenaline! 49 minutes of taping would be cut down to 4-6 minutes for TV.
I learned a lot from the experience – about me, my business and the difference between making good TV and making a good business deal.
LEAKPRO®’s Dragon’s Den segment aired Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
AFTER THE DRAGON’S DEN
The Dragon’s Den Season 11 Episode 5 aired tonight; Wednesday November 2, 2016 at 8 p.m. on CBC featuring LEAKPRO® – I hope you had the opportunity to watch it!
I would like to thank Mr. Jim Treliving and his TEAM at T&M Group of Companies, especially Brad Hallwood and Max Joyner, two very professional investment analysts! I would like to thank the Dragon’s Den directors, producers and support staff, especially Adam Avrashi, Segment Producer, whose support and guidance helped me “Slay the Dragon” – Thank you Adam!
I would also like to Thank Multi-Unit LEAKPRO® Franchisee Michael (Mike) Tedesco and my son, Nolan Koyata who appeared with me in the episode. Thank you to my TEAM and Franchise partners at LEAKPRO® for your support. To my personal Cheer Leader – my wife Deborah Allen, whose encouragement and support was tireless throughout this adventurous journey.
I jumped into The Dragon’s Den with both feet, not knowing what to expect but I knew what LEAKPRO® needed – the expertise, guidance and hands on management of an invested partner to grow and move the company forward. I set my sights on The Dragon I thought was right for LEAKPRO® …and was very fortunate to make a deal with the Franchise King himself, Jim Treliving!
The T&M Group of Companies is a portfolio management company, managing the money and assets of the companies they’ve invested in. Through the six month due diligence process it became clear that LEAKPRO® and T&M’s objectives were not compatible at this time and while we didn’t finalize the deal the door remains open to do business in the future should LEAKPRO® ever need capital for future growth.
While I continue on my journey, pursuing other opportunities that are better suited to LEAKPRO®’s current business needs; I will always appreciate the opportunity provided and celebrate surviving The Den!