Here's a group of individuals who helped with the RUGged cause!
Tara, the Owner and proprietor of Chicken Scratch, was extremely helpful to the RUGged Man cause. Not only was she the first independent retailer we contacted when we needed realistic industry data, but she also provided us with some serious contacts within the novelty gift industry.
Tara is a self proclaimed “Dragons’ Den Junkie” and she was very excited to help us. Of course, she too asked us how we were going to hand the potential wrath of the fiercest Dragon, Kevin O’Leary. With her help, we assured her that we would be alright. We had a chance to visit her at her store, The Chicken Scratch, which has a great inventory of novelty gifts, gags and hilarious greeting cards. I tell you, I could spend hours just browsing in her store. She even allowed us to pound the pavement shouting the good word of the RUGged Man in front of her store. (Sorry… if the neighbors complained that we were too loud. It’s tough to contain yourself when speaking about the benefits of The RUGged Man.) A great big thanks goes out to Tara and the gang at Chicken Scratch.
Rotarians are known around the world has helper and they sure lived up to this mantra. We had the pleasure of presenting in front of yet another Rotary Club. This time, I had inquired with one of the members of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Gateway, Mr. Dave Winfield. I asked if we could have the opportunity to work on our pitch in front of some very sharp business minds of the Gateway Rotary Club. As many can appreciate, our product relies on it’s “shock value” and hence the members of the Gateway Rotary Club had no idea what was going on until the moment when Terry and I walked out from the back, full of confidence, wearing our advanced hair systems. Once again, total strangers helped the RUGged Men and offered up some valuable comments. Thanks Gateway Rotary Club for all your help.
“Now make sure, you please sweep up the pavement after you are done cleaning the windows.” That’s what I sort of remember of Paul Flesher when I first met him. You see, I was a fuel disturbing agent, or a “pump jockey” for Paul’s family business, Mr. Johns’ Convenience Store while I was in high school.
I got to know Paul over the years and watched him develop his large food processing company, Principality Foods. Paul's knowledge with small businesses is vast and remarkable. His expertise can be found in financing, marketing and operations. His practical and logical manner really helped us create realistic projections for our sales. He was paramount in helping us prepare for the Dragons’ Den.
Paul is not only a shrewd business man but also a heck of a bass player. Thanks Paul!!!
I coerced a fellow Rotarian from our club, to help me out with another mock Dragons’ Den presentation. Ian Cameron, of WorleyParsons, (Edmonton South Branch) was very helpful in arranging some great business minds within his company. I am not sure if he had blackmail or not, but he arranged a superb group of people. We asked Ian not to tell them anything about our fine product and that the guest judges were there to crituqe our presentation with the show, Dragons’ Den, in the back of the minds. We received some fantastic feedback which really helped our final pitch. This was our last practice presentation before we jumped on the plane to Toronto and both Terry and I felt that we wished we could have a few more practice pitches in front of the WorleyParsons focus group.
The helpful bunch included:
Ian Cameron – organizer and overall swell guy!
Janice Hall - Vice President (Business Development)
Gary Bosgoed - Vice President (Business Services & Systems)
Curtis Alexander - Director (Business Development)
Trudy Hegeman - Technical Resources Manager
What better way to improve your presentation skills than in front of a toastmasters. I had asked Dan Hardie to help us get into a club to once again work on our timing, rhythm and presentation skills. Because many of the members of the Pursers Toastmaster Club were used to formal presentations and not two guys with carpet strapped to their heads, it was an interesting experience. The funniest part was when one member showed up late and the look on his face when Terry and I were showing the true benefits of our advanced hair system. He seemed a bit confused and uncertain if he was even in the proper meeting room.
Thanks to the whole gang at the Pursuers Toastmasters group who gave us some valuable feedback on our presentation.
One of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face is the valuation of their company or idea. The big question of “…what think your business is worth?” can be a very daunting issue.
Tony, who is Assistant Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Business Development for Peace Hills Trust Company, was extremely helpful when we were placing a value on our crazy idea. He showed us methods of valuation which helped derive our “ask” (i.e. the amount vs. the equity of ownership) in preparation for the Dragons’ Den television show.
Tony is sort of like a Donald Trump, but except without a comb-over. Not only is his feedback practical and easy to understand, but unlike Mr. Donald Trump’s persona, he is a really nice guy and quite a skilled volleyball player. Although, I understand that Mr. Trump is an accomplished lawn bowling aficionado. After meeting with Tony, we felt confident with our “numbers” before heading into The Dragons’ Den.
Paul Sveen, is not only a great comic who has toured internationally, but he always been a great supporter with the RUGged Man Advanced Hair System. I have had the pleasure of knowing Paul for many years which goes as far back as the late 1990’s when I was playing in a band and for the entire month and he was the opening act for us. Both Paul and the band I played with travelled up to Fort McMurray every weekend for an entire month. Over the span of 4 weekends we got to know Paul very well and appreciate his comedy.
Many years later, I read that a course was being offered for stand up comedy and the instructor was Paul Sveen. I called up my buddy, Terry Syvenky, and we both enrolled in the course. Over the 5 week course we got to learn the techniques of writing stand up material, how to work on rhythm and timing, but more importantly, we learnt more about ourselves. I have never taken any self help courses before, but I will say that at times it was more about learning who you were than telling jokes. If you have ever been interested in learning about stand up comedy, I would highly recommend it. Paul offers his course 2-3 times a year and there’s a good reason why it is so popular. There is no doubt that it can be nerve racking, but it more importantly is a lot of fun!
Over the years, I would talk to Paul about my crazy idea, The RUGged Man. He would offer some insight on how to get to the public along with some other zany material. Well, when we decided to go to the Edmonton audition for The Dragons’ Den, I immediately called up Paul to help me with our pitch. We came up with an initial script, and then Paul gave us some ideas on how to polish it up. Then, after we got the invitation to fly down to Toronto to present in the den, we met up with Paul on a few instances. We would work on our pitch and at times he would stop us, just like a drama coach and help us perfect our lines and timing. There are a few lines in our presentation, especially with Kevin O’Leary, which Paul is responsible for.Thanks to both Paul and his wife, Noreen for allowing us to come over and practice our pitch.
Paully... I owe you some canned ham!
“A drinking club with a Rotary problem” is a unique way of explaining the Rotary Club of Edmonton Urban Spirits. I am a member of this group whose main mandate is to help kids at risk. The group is comprised of younger professionals who get together to network and more importantly, provide support to the community through various activities and fundraisers.
When I found out that CBC invited us to Toronto for filming on the Dragons’ Den, I wanted to be prepared. So, I talked with our President, Ms. Kirsten Arnold, and arranged that we would do a surprise presentation in front of our club members. We walked into the presentation full of confidence, and wearing The RUGged Man, and we got noticed! Many of the members provided us with feedback to help improve our pitch. So, not only does the Urban Spirits Rotary Club provide support to various causes, they too supported The RUGged Man. Thanks gang!
We had already had some practice pitches under our belt, when I mentioned to Terry that it sure would be great to present to a bunch of bankers. You know, it would be beneficial to present in front of whole bunch of “Kevin O’Leary’s”. We knew that the majority of Dragons’ Den pitches fail due to the financials and we wanted to be extra prepared.
So, I talked to one my contacts at ATB (Alberta Treasury Branch) who I have dealt with for personal banking needs, Josephine Costco. I told her that I was off to Toronto and that we were looking for a bunch of bankers to present to. But the problem was that we were leaving in 4 days and we need this done in the next few days. I always knew that Josephine was excellent in customer service, but when she called me back the same day saying that it was all confirmed, I was totally blown away. Not only did she arrange to have us present in front of the entire staff, before their morning opening, she arranged to get a few head office people in attendance.
Much like all our prior presentations, nobody was aware of what was going on until we walked out with our Advanced Hair Systems. The funniest thing was watching some staff that show up a few minutes after we started and the look on their face. “Why are there 2 guys presenting in front of the entire staff and head office personnel?” “Why do they look so confident?” “Why are they wearing carpet strapped to their head?” These were clearly the questions which were going through their minds when they walked in and saw us.
Thanks to the entire gang at the ATB Whitemud Branch, the few head office executives such as Lorne Dembrowski, and more importantly, Josephine Costco for arranging all this.