Did you see Beatz Fitness on BBC Dragons Den?? We interviewed, we auditioned, we filmed, but we didn’t get broadcast!! Beatz Fitness went all the way on Dragons Den, except for getting investment and being on TV. Here’s what happened over the few months from when we got approached by the BBC…
THE DEN JOURNEY BEGINS
31st January 2018 is when it started. Beatz Fitness was only 6 months old, and after a few missed calls from the research team, we began the Dragons Den journey.The first stage was a 40 minute or so discussion over the phone, answering a lot of scripted questions that are structured to establish whether you have a viable business for investment and broadcast. At the end of the call, they confirmed that they would like to invite us to audition.
THE AUDITION FOR DRAGONS DEN
28th February, and we travelled to MediaCity in Manchester. The plan was that Mel and Karen would demo, then I would pitch. The audition took place in Dock House, and after signing a few forms we kicked off the first take!
The 30 second demo went flawlessly, then I stepped up and delivered! Time for a rethink!! We changed so that it was just Karen doing the demo, then Mel and I would pitch. It took a few takes (another 5 or so), but we eventually got there.
It turned out to be only 5 days until we heard back
We’d auditioned using Little Mix’s ‘Salute’, but this wouldn’t be suitable for filming due to various licensing restrictions, so we had to choose an alternative and were sent a link with a number of similar tracks on and the team chose their favourite.
We needed to re-film the demo for the Production team, and had a masterclass taking place, where all of the team would be present, so filmed after that – I’m sure everyone wondered what was going on as we ushered them out after the event.
Once everything was ok’d with the producers, it was time for due diligence – a VERY thorough process that involved sending well over 100 documents, including our business plan, accounts, bank statements, financial forecasts (with evidence), trademark and domain ownerships, previous projects, identity checks etc… With that out of the way, it wasn’t long until we received a filming date, only a couple of weeks away.
We felt so unprepared mentally, and the business was still very new, but this was an opportunity (and experience) that we needed to grasp!!
FILMING FOR DRAGONS DEN
We drove up to Manchester the day before. It had been agreed that we would have a team of five doing the demo, with Mel and I pitching, so Ross, Karen D, Karen H, Lisa and Emma P would be coming with us.
The filming was due to take place at The Old Granada Studios in Manchester, so we dropped props off the evening before and met a couple of the researchers, before heading to our hotel and meeting up with the rest of the team for dinner. Following that, we all went back to one of our rooms to run through everything. It was hilarious seeing the team running through the demo in the slightly less than average sized hotel room. Honestly, I (Steve) was absolutely terrified, and it was all very surreal!!!
We had to be at the studio for 6am in the morning, so were up early (too early for breakfast), and all made our way there with other participants who were also filming that day. We then spent a couple of hours going through the props setup, meeting the director and producers, having make up done and squeezing in a Bacon sarnie.
Then, it was pre-interview time in a mock up industrial warehouse.
THE DRAGONS DEN PITCH
Prior to pitching, we needed to do ‘the walk’ and ‘the lift’ (it’s not real) a few times to get the various shots, as well as run through the demo a couple of times to get some of the close-up shots etc. Following this, we were told that we would be going back to the Green Room to wait for the actual event.
So, we ran through quite a few times, got all the required shots, then went back to the start. The producer then told us we would be going through just one more time…. but this time the Dragons would be there!!
That hit us – ‘What?? We’re actually filming now??” Yes, we were!!
So, after a couple of emergency toilet trips and a whole range of emotions…. off we went!!!
We did the demo, pitch and got the Dragons up to take part in a short class, with both Deborah and Jenny commenting how much fun it was. It was then time for questions…
There was no gentle intro, and Peter Jones immediately questioned our instructor numbers. I knew we had very good growth, from our experience in the industry, but he didn’t think so and was quite brutal.
We did attempt to steer the conversation onto the wider business and opportunity that we’d pitched for investment, but they obviously sensed blood, so made us focus only on the Group Fitness element, which is only a small part of the overall business.
Next up, Tej asked a couple of questions. I did like him, and his questioning was very reasonable, however he wasn’t impressed by the Group Exercise business model.
Deborah Meaden immediately ruled herself out due to already having a stake in a similar brand, but wished us all the best.
Jenny Campbell thought we should just focus on Birmingham, rather than the whole of the UK. This was probably the most frustrating part of the experience for me, as our experience in the growth of Group Ex brands was disregarded. Our conversation with her became quite heated and ended with her just waving us away.
Finally Touker wanted to discuss the financials, ultimately stating that 2-3 years is too long to get a return, which I found particularly surprising.
They all eventually ruled themselves out, with a lot of made for TV soundbites and contradictory statements to try and get us to bite.
Once we left the Den, we went for our post-pitch interview, then met the team and collected our props before going for lunch in Manchester.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience which I would love to repeat one day, and despite not receiving the investment, we have gained an awful lot not only from a business perspective, but also as a team becoming family!! They are memories that will stay with us for a long time!!