Dragons' Den

On Wednesday 21st  February 2007, the Phoney Box appeared on the hit TV show Dragons' Den.

Richard Duncan Theo Deborah Peter

The Dragons - Richard Farleigh, Duncan Bannatyne, Theo Paphitis, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones

See the BBC website for more about Dragons' Den

A personal account by Andrew Peters - founder of the Phoney Box Company - of his experiences in facing the Dragons...

My story starts in September 2006 when I filled in an online application form to appear on Dragon's Den with the Phoney Box. My application was successful and I went for an initial interview in Manchester. This turned out to be an informal chat with two researchers. They were very impressed with the Phoney Box. However at this point I was told that I wouldn’t be appearing on Dragons' Den until Series 5. As you can imagine I was very disappointed.

I had been making replica telephone boxes for a few years and felt that the time had come to invest properly in the product and expand the Phoney Box business. Now that the Dragons' Den were postponing my chance of appearing on the show, I was going to have to go down the traditional route of financing, advertising and marketing.

Then, out of the blue, I got a call from Dragons' Den. Someone had let them down and they wanted me in London for filming the very next day! I was totally unprepared and the rush was on to get two Phoney Boxes up to the Den in time for my appearance in front of the Dragons. I didn’t have a proper business plan drawn up and had to work on my pitch to the Dragons while driving to London from North Wales.

I arrived at “The Den” at 7.30am and was told I was first up in front of the Dragons. Any last minute chance of preparing my pitch was lost but speaking off the cuff worked well for me.

As I walked into the Den I saw Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Theo Paphitis, Duncan Bannatyne and Richard Farleigh sitting in front of me. Panic was threatening to take over as I worried about my lack of preparation. “How many people fit in a red telephone box?” said one of the Dragons. It was a simple Guinness Book of Records question and I couldn’t remember the answer. I thought my pitch was over before it had begun. “Can five Dragons fit in the telephone box?” - Before my eyes ALL the Dragons got up from their seats and one by one entered my Phoney Box. A first for the programme and I’d done it!!!!

The fun was over and the real grilling started. Questions were coming at me from all angles. My lack of preparation was beginning to show and I realised that humour was the only way to get me through. Theo Paphitis asked why he should give me £100,000 and my inspired reply “it’s a phoney product but not a phoney business” had the Dragons in fits of laughter. At this point I knew investment from Dragons Den was not going to happen and just as easily as they entered the Phoney Box they one by one declared themselves “out”.

Despite leaving the Dragons' Den without their investment I had some really good banter with them, got invaluable advice and had a fantastic, once in a lifetime experience. And of course an added bonus of being on the show is that millions of people have seen my Phoney Box.

Andrew Peters - The Phoney Box Company Ltd

Andrew's advice for anyone interested in joining the very exclusive club of people who have appeared on the Dragons' Den:

  • PLANNING - I learned the hard way that preparation is vital. There are no truer words than “fail to prepare - prepare to fail”. Spend time on a realistic and achievable business plan and ensure that you know all the facts and figures contained in it.
  • BE YOURSELF -  There is no need to portray yourself as a someone you’re not. The Dragons will see through the act and you’ll put yourself under unnecessary pressure trying to keep up the pretence. Believing in yourself and your business will get you through.
  • DON’T TAKE COMMENTS PERSONALLY - The Dragons will try to unnerve you by passing comments to try to find your weak spots. Not rising to the bait will deflate them and ensure that you can get down to the serious business of getting them to invest in you.
  • HAVE FUN - Despite the serious nature of the programme just relax and enjoy the experience. They’re not real Dragons after all!!
Copyright 2012 The Phoney Box Company | Website designed by Oraica Ltd. www.oraica.net