Taming the Dragons

August 22, 2016

Well there you have it, the result is in. We didn’t get investment from Peter, Deborah, Touker, Sarah or Nick, but we certainly feel our Little Belters melted their hearts.

How amazing are those children? And THAT’s what Little Belters is all about – being brave, stepping out of your comfort zone and working as a team.

We feel exceptionally proud now that we’ve got over our embarrassment (just). It’s been a rollercoaster ride from start to finish and here’s the insider information about our Dragons’ Den experience.

Taming the dragons

Build Up

The whole process started in March 2016 and we filmed at the end of May. We’ve submitted applications, business plans and accounts. We trademarked our name, we’ve sorted our contracts and came up with a plan to roll out Little Belters. It was highly ambitious but we believed in it 100%. It’s been hard work and also a massive learning curve. Whatever happens next we can honestly say that getting ourselves prepared for the Den has made us more focussed and clear about what we do and why it’s so different.

The Day of Filming

The programme is filmed at studios in Gorton in Manchester. It was an early start with everyone – including our 15 brave Little Belters – arriving at 7am. There were some very droopy eyes that morning! We were told that – because of the children – we would face the Dragons first. But before that even started, we had 3½ hours of meetings, rehearsals, walk-throughs, pre-interviews, filming the lift sequence and in the lobby. It was a whirlwind and the highlight for the children was a great game of “spot the hidden cameras”!
Following a trip to make-up and a change of clothes, we were off down to the studio to start the pitch proper. We were all terrified but the kids really pulled it out of the bag. They smiled their way through the nerves and delivered a fearless performance of our own arrangement of “King” by Years & Years (big thanks to composer and friend Shane Cullinan for that one….a very talented chap).

The Pitch

After the children sang and left the Den, we pitched……..and it went well. Deborah remembered Claire from a previous performance (at the wedding of TV Presenter Amanda Lamb) so it felt like we weren’t amongst total strangers. But we were in there for 1½ hours! Seriously? It’s mind-blowing and so exhausting. All the BBC Production staff told us to keep hitting back whenever the Dragons challenged us, no matter how aggressive they were. By the end you feel like you’ve had a mental boxing match. Every entrepreneur who goes into the Den stumbles at some point and now we understand why!

The Dragons

Sarah Willingham

Sarah was great. Receptive and warm, we honestly thought at one point that she was interested but we couldn’t convince her. She thought that if there was a market for it, Rock Choir would’ve done it.

Touker Suleyman

He didn’t say much he just kept getting emotional, first when the children sang and then when we sang. He said there wasn’t enough money in it for an investor and that we should just carry on growing ourselves.

Deborah Meaden

She was amazing. She totally got what we were all about and said some lovely things, but again she thought we should keep plugging away ourselves and that there was no money in it for an investor.

Nick Jenkins

Nick is clearly a very clever chap and he pointed out some weaknesses that we hadn’t considered. Again, he said that he couldn’t make enough money out of the investment (can you see a pattern forming here?!)

Peter Jones

Well, it’s fair to say Peter didn’t really take to us! He had us singing, then leading an impromptu singing lesson for the Dragons and then he started attacking us on our numbers and our business acumen…….by which point we were shattered and we knew he wasn’t going to invest so we gave up the fight. He made some pretty scathing remarks about us but it’s all showmanship at the end of the day, so we take it all on the chin.

 

taming the dragonsden

The Experience

It’s certainly been an experience that we – and the children who took part – will look back on with a real sense of achievement and we all have a funny story to tell the grandchildren about.
We never turn down an opportunity to challenge ourselves and now that we survived the Dragons’ Den we feel could take on any situation. But maybe we’ll focus on singing for a while, that’s what we love more than anything else.

Chorlton Little Belters singing A Message to You Rudy

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We focus on:
  • Teaching sound vocal technique.
  • Developing happy and confident performers.
  • Delivering a varied repertoire that captures children’s imaginations.
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