The real ‘Dragons’ Den’

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I am standing at a crossroad and I am going to make a life changing decision before the end of the week. Choosing between two options where I never even thought about, but the time to act is right now.  Shall I just follow my heart or abandon my emotions and make a safe and wise decision? It is not as easy as flipping a coin but the odds are quite similar for this ‘gamble’. Am I a risk taking guy or just the average John Doe who plays it safe? A lot of questions surfaced but even less answers came up. The life changing decision I am talking about has everything to do with my lifelong dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur and the time to act is right now, but do I?
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My idea

Not that long ago I entered a competition for promising start-ups that need external capital to start called Dragons’ Den, and I made it to the finals! I am approached by an investor that wants to invest in my start-up. So, what is my ‘’billion dollar idea’’? My idea, or you can called it my dream, is not that revolutionary or world changing then you would expect, but it is something I like to risk ‘everything’ for. My lifelong dream is to own my own beer brand and in real-life I already made a start with this idea (see image). My hobby is brewing my own beer and with today’s technological advances and world-wide available knowledge, it is perfectly possible to brew a premium beer that you would only expect from professional large-scale breweries.  In today’s climate, beer and special beers increased in market share and popularity and beer has become ‘cool’ again. So why not start my own brand and combine my love for beer, brewing and business economics?

My business plan

My idea is to start a relatively small beer brand that starts locally and tries to grow bigger and bigger each year. The biggest task it to develop a special recipe that is different from other brewers but still attracts demand. There are a lot of different beer styles, ranging from Pilsners, Ales, Doubles, Triples to Stout beer. A lot of different styles makes it even harder to produce the ‘best’ and most tasty beer that is liked by the most people. The first task is to develop a beer with a personal twist and with a nice interesting story to market. The second step is to produce the beer but this step is also complicated. Traditional brewers own their own brew installation but a large capital investment is needed to achieve this and is accompanied with a lot of risk. A solution to this problem is to outsource the brewing process to smaller contract brewers who can produce any kind of recipe. In this way it is possible to start small and to ‘try the market out’. I already started with a concept brand called ‘Hooglander bier’ and I want to start producing Pilsners before I start with brewing more special beers. I want to market the brand in my hometown where I have access to different distribution channels and contacts to sell my beer. My dream is to become the next Heineken or Bavaria and sell my brand eventually for an 8 figure number.

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Crossroads

But before I become the next Freddy Heineken I have to make a difficult decision. The person who wants to invest in my idea has a couple of conditions before investing: I have to decide this week, it is a onetime offer, I have to quit my study and I have to move to Amsterdam. A hard decision because finishing my second master was a goal for me but becoming an entrepreneur before graduation was also on my ‘list’. To make a final decision I will use a couple of different theories that I used in my previous blogs.

Theory

To find out if my decision turns out to be everything I ever wanted I cannot just rely on my preferences. I have to make a sound decision because my future is on stake. On the basis of a couple of interesting theories I used in my last blogs I try to discover the optimal decision. According to the The spiral of creation by Marinus Knoope, which is a simple and compact model that describes 12 steps that you have to follow to materialize your personal dreams/wishes, I could say I am currently at step 7: Deciding. After completing the first six steps, wishing, visualizing, believing, expressing, researching and planning, with the right amount of focus it is possible to make a decision that is based on enough evidence. But to come to a definitive decision other frameworks exist, for example I have to find a perfect match between my reason and emotion. According to P. Zimmerman and J. S Lerner from Harvard University they state that: ‘’before you can even form a thought, emotions are influencing your judgments’’ in their paper The emotional Decision Maker. They state that you cannot write off your emotions, you have to investigate your emotions and after this investigation you can decide what role they play in your decision-making process. I cannot just make a rational choice, my

emotion says to just take the offer but my ratio says to play it safe and finish my second master. I have to investigate this emotion and I have to decide if it is a valid ‘input’ in my decision-making process. Another interesting view on decision-making is from Renata Salecl and it is called The paradox of choice. Her view is that when choices increase, also ‘choice’ anxiety increases. This anxiety in combination with the capitalist ideal of the self-made man leads to social paralysis.

Some anxiety provoking thoughts:

  • We choose what other people are choosing
  • We try to make an ideal choice
  • Choice always involves a loss

I agree with Salecl that this ‘anxiety’ can make it difficult to make an optimal decision but if you take this ‘anxiety’ in consideration it is possible to make a better decision. For my decision-making problem I have to take this anxiety provoking thoughts in consideration. I have to make my own decision and I have to accept it may not be the ideal choice and I have to make sacrifices to make it a success. Next to these theories another view on decision-making came up in my blog. To reach a certain goal you have to set boundaries. Without boundaries it is very difficult to keep yourself on track. You have to commit yourself to reaching your goal and you have to watch out you don’t get sidetracked. You have to be a hundred present sure you want to reach this goal, otherwise it won’t work out the way you have anticipated.

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Final Verdict

By using different theories on decision-making I found out my final answer of my decision-making problem. I always wanted to become an entrepreneur and that was also my reason to pursue a study in business economics. Because I already have a master’s degree in Accounting I don’t risk ‘everything’, I will always have a solid basis to start a professional career in accounting on if my business idea fails. I want to take this opportunity and start with fulfilling my lifelong dream and this is the perfect opportunity, it is time to act! And according to some Inspirational quotes from recently deceased. I don’t want to settle for less, I want to commit to the fullest and become the most that I ever could be. So, go big or go home and don’t settle for less!

Naamloos

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‘Dream big or go home’

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Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep’.

But the dreams that I am referring to in this blog post are personal defined ‘dreams’ about a future state of something of somewhat. Dreams that you and I define as something you really desire and would like to realize in the ‘near’ future. Another way to express this kind of ‘dreams’ is to refer to it as: personal wishes. My motivation regarding my personal ‘dreams’ can be best expressed with the quote: ‘Dream big or go home’!

The bigger picture

I think we can define wishes in two ways, namely short term wishes and long term wishes. If you are dreaming of a wealthy life and all the perks that are included with this kind of lifestyle you can see this as a personal long term wish or dream. But to fulfill this wish you have to complete certain steps to reach this goal. The steps to reach this goal can be defined as more short term wishes in this bigger picture. But to realize this dream into reality is a difficult procedure, but there are different theories that can help you with solving this problem.

The spiral of creation

One theory that can help you with realizing your wishes is a theory defined by Marinus Knoope called the ‘spiral of creation’It is a simple and compact model that describes 12 steps that you have to follow to materialize your personal dreams/wishes. To apply this model regarding my own wishes and to apply it in my ‘bigger picture’ I choose to include my short and long term wishes.

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Realizing my dreams

My long term wish or dream is to live a wealthy and social life that gives me satisfaction. But before this long term dream can be realized I first have to realize some short term wishes. One important dream is to finish my masters in Accounting and Strategic Management at Tilburg University. If you apply the ‘spiral of creation’ framework to this wish you can see that I am almost at the end of the spiral at step 10: Persevering. But to fulfill my long term dream I have also other dreams I want to realize in the near future. One of them is to create my own company and to become a successful entrepreneur. And one of my ideas to realize this is to turn my hobby into my ‘work’. The hobby I am referring to is not an ‘average’ hobby as you could say; my hobby is brewing my own beer! I started this hobby with a couple of friends and it has become a fulfilling journey. My dream is eventually to create my own brand and to put this on the market. And because of my business economics background I can turn my gained knowledge into practice in a very interesting way.

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The road to cover

But before realizing my dream I have a lot of road to cover. If you apply the ‘spiral of creation’ framework to my ‘beer brand dream’ you can discover that I am only at the beginning of the circle at step 5: Researching. This framework showed me that I have to actively try to realize my dream and that I have to play a much more active role because my dream will not fulfill itself. But referring back to my quote ‘dream big or go home’, you may think my idea is over ambitious and hard to realize but as Steve Jobs would say: ‘stay hungry, stay foolish’!

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