In episode 152 I spoke with Chris Lefteri from FixIts, who talked about his unique product.
On 9 March 2023 Chris was on BBC’s Dragons Den.
In this short episode, I speak with Chris about what it was like, what it involves and whether he’d recommend it as an experience!
Welcome to the Bring Your Product Idea to Life podcast. This is the podcast for you if you're getting started selling products, or if you'd like to create your own product to sell. I'm Vicky Weinberg, product creation coach and Amazon expert. Every week I share friendly, practical advice as well as inspirational stories from small businesses. Let's get started. So just a few weeks ago, in episode 152, we spoke to Chris from Fixit all about the challenges of creating and selling a unique product. What neither Chris or I told you at the time is that Chris had actually. Already recorded an episode for Dragon Stem and that episode went out last night, so that's 9th of March, 2023 if you're listening in real time. And I caught up with Chris to find out a little bit more about what it's like to appear on the show, how to prepare, and whether he would recommend it. So whether you've seen last night's episode or not, or if you haven't, I suggest maybe having to watch it first. It's a great episode. Um, Sit, sit down and listen to this very short, um, episode of Chris, where he explains a lot more about the process. So, hi Chris. Thank you for talking to me again. Hey, Vicki. Good to speak to you. So we were all very excited to see you on Dragon Den last night, and as you can imagine, I have some questions if you're happy to share with us. Yes. Um, and I would love to start with when and why did you decide that was something you wanted to do? Um, and actually they approached me almost a year ago, um, to ask if I'd like to apply it, and I think it would've been crazy not to have, um, at least attempted to, to get into the den and, um, I mean, it's not something that I particularly relish, you know, the thought of having to present to five people in a very intense scenario. Um, but I couldn't really turn it down. It's too big an opportunity. Absolutely. And do you know where they found you? Um, on social media? On social media? And it's, um, incredibly long process. I have to say, before you actually get into being filmed on the den. Many, many steps that took maybe two months, I would say, um, of, you know, submitting, auditioning, um, you know, uh, sending in documents. Um, it's a very, very long process. Oh wow. So, so you are doing all of that before you even get to sit in front of the, the Dragons? Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, it's a case of having to, to get through a series of steps. Um, it isn't a case of submit your, your product and your idea, and then it, it's accepted. It is a series of steps. Um, and, and actually once it was finally accrued the point of which we filmed, um, Was very short. So that critical point of, um, of rehearsing and preparing the pitch and you know, what that table looks like with all the products was very short. Oh, wow. That's, that's quite intense, isn't it? Incredibly intense. Incredibly intense. And what kind of things are you asked to prepare? So before you actually, you know, we see you on television in front, in front of the dragons, what sort of things are you been asked to provide and prepare? I'm just thinking for anyone who thinks, oh, I might like to have a go at that, what is it that you need to have? Yeah, I mean, I think you have to be very clear on what your product is. And, um, I mean, and it's obvious that there are, that there. Projects, products that are very topical. Um, the, the, and I was very aware of that and, and obviously I, the, you know, fixes is about, um, you know, reducing waste by, uh, you know, people repairing their stuff. So the. I mean, one of the first things you do is you submit an online application, which it says you know, what is your product? Um, and, and then you have to do, I think, two auditions that are online. Um, and at that point you really hone your story because, I mean, it's not very often that you have to pitch your, your business. Um, and you have, I think two, two minutes, three maximum, if I remember correctly. You can't overstep that. Um, and um, and then once you go through that, that process, and then that's approved by the producers, then there's a whole series of, uh, documents that have to be completed in terms of the business, in terms of. Uh, uh, you know, sales and figures and, um, yeah, and that has to be approved. And then finally get on a train to go to Manchester and have fun, you know, waiting behind the scenes for your turn. Wow. Well thank you for explaining all of that, that, yeah, it does sound super intense. And do you get any feedback when you are sort of doing your auditions? So obviously that's to researchers or producers. Do you get any feedback on what your position. Pitching or how you are doing it, or no, not, not really, not not from the b bbc, I mean, um, you know, they were, they were very supportive throughout the process. Um, uh, I, I, I got lots of feedback from people that I knew, friends, um, who had experience, you know, presenting people who ran theaters. Um, I pitched it to my neighbors and. I, I realized, and I went through six different versions of the pitch before I even got to writing the pitch. I was prepared to stand there and say, this is my product and this is what it's about. And be very enthusiastic and be very clear, because that's very easy for most people to do. But actually the realization of, um, you know, you have a very limited amount of time and it's, you have to tell a very clear story. And I thought if I were paying for this and I were paying for an actor, I'd give them a script. So therefore I need to have a script. So I really had a script and I tried to remember that, you know, off my heart, which you know, was a challenge. That must be absolutely terrifying actually. And then obviously they ask you lots of questions as well. They do. And I think what's very interesting is that you, you know, when you watch it on tv, you're seeing a very, very small segment of actually the, the time that you occupy in the den. Um, that I think maybe. I was there for an hour and a half perhaps, um, which goes very quickly. Uh, and you think, oh, you know, I've been in there so long when you finally leave. Um, and yes, they do ask lots of questions. Um, and obviously the, the. The editors, you know, filter out many of those questions. So what you see is, is not necessarily everything that's discussed. Um, and, and actually, you know, the, the, the dragon themselves have to make a decision and it really is on the spot. There isn't any prep, there, isn't they, you know, they're handed information about fix. Its beforehand. It really is at that point that you walk through the. The elevator door, that that's when they receive the product, that's when they listen to you. So they have to understand everything. Um, so yeah, it appears like it's a, it's a 10 minute q and a. It's not, it's, it's a very detailed series of questions. So given that, then, I guess you have absolutely no idea what they're going to ask you either. Cause that, that was a question I had. I didn't know how much the dragons were briefed on the products and the companies, and so whether they had any questions in mind, but it sounds like No. So you have to be prepared for anything? No, no, no. I mean, no, no, there's no, there's no, um, there's no, these are the questions we're gonna ask. So, I mean, you know, I also, I also did a presentation to my account. And I said, ask me the, the number questions, which is the hardest thing because, I mean, I think it's, it's, it's not really a re realistic scenario that if you are, if you're looking for investment, you turn up with, you know, having to remember every single number. You know, you have that in front of you, you can refer to it, but actually there, there isn't any of that. You have to remember everything, which was probably the hardest thing to remember all the numbers as you. Witnessing the show. I mean, on a very personal level, I was very happy when we walked out there den because it is incredibly, um, an incredible buildup. I mean, you have to appreciate it. The, you are walking through, you know, what you see is walking through an elevator is me walking through an elevator. But actually, Just on the day you are waiting. And that buildup, you know, it's like, you know, actors going on stage or it's like people, you know, waiting to give a speech or, you know, give a lecture. There is that incredible buildup. So on a, on a, um, personal level, I was just relieved. If I, if I tell you any more than that, then that does give away and I think it's very, uh, yeah, it's, it's a great, I think it's a great. It is a great episode. Yeah, I agree. And, um, okay. One final, final question then that you can answer. Would you recommend it or, or would you, and would you, if you know you had a time machine, would you, would you do it all again? Um, it's not the fainthearted. Um, and it's a lot of work. I, it really did consume me for weeks beforehand. Um, really did in, in terms of what you have to supply, uh, the, you know, in advance. Um, I would do it again. Uh, I'd love to do it again. I'd love to do it again because I would do such a better job, um, than I would have because I, you know, it's the first time I've been in any, any kind of situation like that. I've given lots of talks and been in lots of presentations. But actually to do it in that scenario, um, it was the first time, but I would relish doing it again and I would advise if you get the opportunity. Absolutely. Because it, you know, obviously there is that PR aspect of it, but, I think it, it really does focus you because you have to, one, you have to really explain your business and what the benefits are to people who don't know. And through doing that, you do understand much more about your business because you think, well, actually, the why, why am I doing this and what have I done and have I done that research? And, you know, what is my forecast? What is my six month, 12 month, five year plan? You know? So yes, Absolut. Brilliant. Well, thank you so much. You're welcome, Vicky. Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode. Do you remember that? You can get the fullback catalog and lots of free resources on my website, vicky weinberg.com. Please do remember to rate of view this episode if you've enjoyed it, and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful. Thank you again and see you next week.