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  • Ian Price

Dragons Den and clues to their likely success

Updated: Nov 16, 2018

Episode Four of Dragons’ Den (BBC Two, 1 September 2018) saw four start-up businesses run the gauntlet by pitching for investment in their businesses to the BBC’s five potentially fiery tycoons. As an expert in the psychology of high performance in business, what did I see in the contestants that might give clues to business success ?

It’s worth beginning by pointing out that as a TV show the Den is as much about entertainment as it is about business. It thrives on those evil twins of reality TV: conflict and humiliation.


This episode had a bit of both although the conflict was mostly between the dragons! (These tycoons do like to be heard and were quick to have a go at one another when interrupted.) But, putting the artifice to one side, in-the-moment performance is important in growing one’s business whether in investor presentations, sales meetings or other pivotal encounters on the way to commercial success. Whatever stage your business is at, you will need to take people with you and that will sometimes mean dealing with difficult questions and responding to challenges.


There are three inter-related qualities that predict success in business: confidence, self-control and resilience. These are dimensions of mental toughness that successful entrepreneurs need to sustain over long periods and, most importantly, need to exhibit when nobody is looking. But on Saturday evening, four startups had the spotlight shone on them – how did they get on as millions watched?


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