THE first-ever person to appear on TV’s Dragon’s Den is set to delivery a “reality check” to would-be business tycoons in Huddersfield.
Yorkshire-based Graham Whitby overcame the Dragons’ negative comments – delivered to a television audience of 8m – to launch a string of innovative products.
Next month, he will provide pointers on how to take a product to market – and the mistakes to avoid – when he delivers the final lecture in a series of free talks to be staged at Huddersfield University.
Marketing Society, text messaging specialist SMileS and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
And his first piece of advice to people keen to branch out on their own is that really good business ideas for products and services are few and far between.
“Anyone wanting to go it alone has a million and one hurdles to overcome,” he said.
“It is all well and good setting off with an idea you think is brilliant, but don’t rely on people around you telling you to get it out there. You have to face some hard facts.
“I am not a great advocate of business plans, but anyone wanting to put their redundancy money into starting a business is walking into a minefield.”
Graham adds: “I am not delivering a negative message – just to make you sure people know what they are doing is right.
“I have met people who have put £30,000 or £40,000 – sometimes into the hundreds of thousands – into a business, but they haven’t got a good idea.
“They needed someone to tell them that their idea was useless.”
Graham is well-placed to deliver his talk on 100 Things Not To Do in Business, having built up a strong track record in launching new products and companies.
Graham’s baby Dream Machine, designed to soothe your baby to sleep, was derided when he first appeared on Dragon’s Den, but proved to be a star product at a major trade show in Cologne, Germany, and is now distributed in eight different countries.
The entrepreneur has also set up other businesses, including Alchemy Products, which develops electronic products such as the Alchemy Atom tracker devices.
Others include online nursery products supplier mumstore.co.uk and Temperate Systems, a company providing bathwater heating systems for those seeking a leisurely soak.
Other innovations include a new home-office communications system and a range of children’s night lights.
Graham’s talk – the final event in the series, Putting Principles in Practice – will be held at 6.30pm on Wednesday, February 9, at the Castle Hill Suite at the university’s Queensgate campus.
The event is organised by the University Marketing Society and supported by text messaging specialist SMileS and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
For tickets call 01484 473090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org