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lordlancaster's Avatar lordlancaster lordlancaster is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Gateshead
Posts: 1,329
Webchat with Modwenna Rees-Mogg on Weds 3rd March, 2pm-3pm

Following our recent free book giveaway, Modwenna Rees-Mogg (AngelNews), author of 'Dragons or Angels - An Unofficial Guide to Dragons' Den and Business Investment'will be available to answer any questions you might have about her book, the Dragons' Den show or financing your business in our Social Network Chat room this Wednesday 3rd March between 2pm-3pm.

To take part in the Live Chat, simply login to between 2pm-3pm on Wednesday 3rd March and then click on:

My Apps > Chat (at the top of the page).

Hope you can join us!
Paul Lancaster
Content & Social Media Specialist
Sage One UK
Follow me on Twitter @lordlancaster
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lordlancaster's Avatar lordlancaster lordlancaster is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Gateshead
Posts: 1,329
What was said in the Chat room today...

For anyone that couldn't make it today, here's a full transcript of what was said in our 1hr Live Chat with Modwenna Rees-Mogg (AngelNews)...

lordlancaster has just joined the chat.
lordlancaster: Hello Anna
carly123 has just joined the chat.
carly123: hello
lordlancaster: Hi Carly, just waiting for Modwenna to join us
carly123: oh ok
carly123: how are you
angelnews has just joined the chat.
ALT: Hi Modwenna
lordlancaster: Hi Modwenna (AngelNews), thanks for joining us today!
johnathanB has just joined the chat.
lordlancaster: Hi Johnathan
angelnews: you are welcome - good to be here!
johnathanB: Hi
lordlancaster: Ok, for those who aren't aware, Modwenna is the author of the 'Dragons or Angels' book, founder and CEO of - the leading website for the private investor community. Carly / Jonathan, do you have a specific question to ask?
johnathanB: My question: Do you think that the media promotes good role models for young and startup businesses? Eg Dragons, Sir Alan etc
carly123: sorry I will join you in just a minute!
angelnews: That is a very important question Johnathan. The media is very important to getting new ideas out and before we had the dragons and Sir Alan business was something people did in offices. i don't think it was cool to enjoy working or building a business, BUT i think there is now a risk that it is going the other way and through it does a lot of good it can also do bad - and send wrong messages i'm thinking of when he took on someone who had lied on their cv - that shouldn't be seen as ok in my book
lordlancaster: Even when Sir Alan was questioned about that on the aftershow, he said he saw nothing wrong with lying on a CV and implied that he might have done the same. Definitely sending out the wrong message to new / young businesses
carly123: yes wrong message i agree
carly123: i love your book!
carly123: i have read nearly all of it and it's really helpful to young people
carly123: why do you think Social Enterprise companies put investors off?
angelnews: Thank-you - i enjoyed writing it - i am very passionate about young people getting up and runnign ini business
johnathanB: I love these programs, however I think all of the role models we see are high profile 'investors' or 'serial entrepreneurs' and we are 'led' to believe that this is normal business, but is this what small business owners will experience?
angelnews: coz i think no-one really understands the definition of social enterprise yet
carly123: we are trying to change that!
angelnews: small business operates in the real world - the big thing is to plan and manage your cash Johnathan - tv cannot tell you this in a good pictorial audio way. but i bet the dragons manage their cash pretty well
angelnews: Hi Carly i am very excited about Social Enterprise and the debates it causes - my favourite is whether you should give profits to charity from day one or should you give it at the end like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates - what do you think?
johnathanB: yes, I agree thats one great thing that DD has done for people- make them focus on some financial forecasting
angelnews: Hi Johnathan - what do you think would make the best sort of business TV programme to encourage entrepreneurs?
SimonNeuroGames has just joined the chat.
ALT: I agree with you johnathan, I dont think that the dragons den experience is representative of the majoirity of young entrepreneurs start up journeys. There are always exceptions of course but I think the programmes and hype make people think that the dragons den way is the norm.
carly123: i think annual payment
carly123: but SE is not just about charity
carly123: its about reivesting alot of your profits to help people too
johnathanB: There used to be a show on channel 4. I remember the presenter had a very nice aston martin He would visit a business and help them grow / turn it around
angelnews: sorry Carly i agree it is not about charity only - i was using it as shorthand
lordlancaster: I really enjoy watching Dragons' Den but the Dragons really annoy me as I think they have become more and more greedy in recent years, constantly trying to squeeze more money out of the businesses and for what? It's just a massive ego trip for them.
carly123: for example we want to be our own dragon and help young people in particular start a business
johnathanB: recently there was a similar show on retail on BB2 I think it was called Mary Queen of Shops or similar
angelnews: yes i think there was one with John Harvey Jones or does that just show how old i am now!
carly123: so they don't have problems accessing funds
carly123: haha yeah they are a bit like that
angelnews: One dragon who shall not be named offered to "buy" 25% of a company i know about for £0, but said he would give it lots of publicity!
ALT: I really like Mary Queen of Shops and think it would be cool to see more of the dragons working alongside the businesses they choose to support.
carly123: did you know most of Peter Jone's students havn't even met him
lordlancaster: Mary Queen of Shops is very good but she doesn't take anything from the company and gives them real, practical help and advice
angelnews: One of the BIG benefits of dragons over other money is that they help
carly123: if i set up an academy for young people which one day i want to i would go once a month and do a mentoring session!!
carly123: i would love to meet the students!
angelnews: I like country house rescue and last week i saw My Dream Farm - all positive helpful stuff
carly123: its my passion
johnathanB: IMHO DD has encourage young businesses that they need investment
johnathanB: the problem here is investment at to early a stage means that you give away way to much equity for an amount of money that will not seem significant in 18months to a year
lordlancaster: "One of the BIG benefits of dragons over other money is that they help". But do they though Modwenna? I can't see how they can possibly devote enough (or any) time to all of the businesses that they invest - particularly someone like Peter Jones who is always in the media.
angelnews: I think investment is a really big issue - i started wtih £1,000 only and have grown out of my own profits so i have one experience there is also the fundraising issue
lordlancaster: Definitely the biggest benefit of Dragons' Den is inspiring people to think about starting their own business, but the danger is if they think that going on the show is the only way to attract investment and it also gives potential Business Angels a bad name
johnathanB: ten years ago I took investor into my business, I gave them 23% for £100K, I had all of the ideals and hopes for the investment you see people coming to dd with
angelnews: the best dragons/angels have 5-6 investments and are very clear about what they can offer in terms of time and support. I know a couple of youngish dragons (under 35) who will come and help work out the cashflows if you need them to or just turn up for meetings. You have to negotiate this as much as you negotiate the terms of the deal
johnathanB: We had two really nice successful businessmen invest, but they did not understand the business like us because they did not work there.
angelnews: When i was writing my book i interviewed a check out lady in M&S - she said DD made her dream of starting her own business - that is good justification for the show isn't it?
carly123: i would really like to talk to you Modwenna about what we are doing
carly123: you may be interested and you would be a great speaker at one of our events
johnathanB: In summary, their contact book was useful but that actual level of advice did not work as we had hope, and I bought them back out.
carly123: sorry to run off the subject here but i didnt know how to contact you directly!!
angelnews: CArly - just call me on 01275 333 443 after this chat is over and we will sort something out - happy to help!
ekinn has just joined the chat.
johnathanB: Another question: How do you think startup / SME support could be improved by the government / local authorities?
angelnews: I admire you for buying them out - this was i am sure the right thing to do
johnathanB: >> is was i am sure the right thing to do : our business boomed after this as we felt in control
angelnews: Johnathan this is a BIG BIG issue and really needs to start from the point of view of how do we all want our taxes spent.
carly123: i am just trying to get in with the government now
carly123: we provide a 12 steps to success programme for young people and are hoping to work with business link and get the programme into schools for more support and learning for young people
carly123: they have co-operated and want to see us in april so a bit of progress!
angelnews: Govn't IMHO best helps business by taxing less and helping cos to raise investment by giving tax breaks to people and companies. The rest should be extra
johnathanB: I think we are poorly educated in schools and as mention it needs to begin here
angelnews: I like the idea of government being legally obliged to have SME customers to say 10% of its spending
mo112 has just joined the chat.
johnathanB: I mentor quite a few small businesses and I find they can't do some of the basics right. They often make money by accident!
angelnews: Yes do you know Young Enterprise and that other campaign giving kids a tenner to spend on a business idea
mo112: Hi all
angelnews: Can you tell me about some of these accidents - they sound interesting!
johnathanB: I think we need to teach kids about PROFIT in schools.
lordlancaster: Modwenna - do you mean 'Make Your Mark with a Tenner' (
angelnews: yes PROFIT and also cashflow - especially what to spend now and what to save for.
lordlancaster: Hi mo112
johnathanB: Accidents: ie they have no idea if they are making profit, they just work away and when their accountant does their books they find out if they have made money
angelnews: yes i do mean Make your Mark - thanks for the link
lordlancaster: Hello Erin
angelnews: Ahh that's a good point. What the books say and what the bank account says is always a challenge - when the cash in my co bank account is high, but the book profits are small my accountant always offers to invoice me the difference
johnathanB: One problem IMHO os that we teach kids that the harder they work the better they get on, in business this is often not the case.
johnathanB: I think 90% of SME would benefit from understanding the benefits and doing a P&L and cash flow forecast. But in my experience few do
lordlancaster: There was an interesting debate on our Discussion Forum the other day about whether the Tories will / should scrap Business Link if they come to power. Some people think they are great, others less so. There's also an argument that they should purely offer advice / legislation / tax guidance via their website but leave the actual mentoring, training and face to face support to other organisations
angelnews: hmmm - i think there is a difference between obvious work and thinking! This is quite a hard message to get across
angelnews: I think people don't understand gross margin and contributions - old fashioned management accounting which i learnt when i had my first job in the City
mo112: I agree Paul, I have dealt with the business advice that the Business Link has to offer and had found it to very poor
johnathanB: We need to get more successful business owners involved in young SMEs and startups
lordlancaster: Sometimes you can be so busy 'doing stuff' but not actually thinking about how to develop your business or bringing in work
angelnews: Regarding govn't involvement - that the private sector should be encouraged to help SMEs - our office is a room in the offices of a larger SME - i think my landlord should get a tax break for that - what do you all think?
carly123: maybe but i don't think they would even consider that!
johnathanB: Yes, anything like this that reduces costs is good and would almost certainly prove a good investment for the govmt
angelnews: One of my team thinks that you should have your student loan paid off if you work in a SME or social enterprise - what do you think about that idea?
johnathanB: publishes this statistic: in 2008 more than 270,000 business started, today 219,000 of them are no longer here. I'm not sure of the validity of this stat but its quite shocking
angelnews: Johnathan that is frightening we need to get more businesses surviving - as you say they need to understand profit and cash. We also need much bigger dreams. "Anyone can build a google" type stuff
johnathanB: For all the govnmt money (if the stat is correct) surly we can do better than this
lordlancaster: Our parent organisation (PNE Group) is a not-for-profit / social enterprise that as well as the Shell LiveWIRE programme offers free business startup advice, low-cost incubator workspace to new or established businesses, low-interest loan funds to people that can't access finance elsewhere, and a rang of free or partly funded training courses for charities and community groups. As far as I know, PNE doesn't get any tax breaks for this, but they do get some funding from the local councils or Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to support certain projects. The rent it makes from tenants also feeds back into the rest of the company.
lordlancaster: "One of my team thinks that you should have your student loan paid off if you work in a SME or social enterprise - what do you think about that idea?" That would be a nice little bonus for me
carly123: sorry i have to go to a meeting now
carly123: i will call you modwenna some time tomorrow
lordlancaster: Ok Carly, thanks for dropping by.
carly123: thanks bye
angelnews: I am going to lobby that PNE should get tax breaks!
angelnews: bye Carly
lordlancaster: Yes please!
ekinn: "One of my team thinks that you should have your student loan paid off if you work in a SME or social enterprise - what do you think about that idea?" - I'd be all for that too
angelnews: sounds like we have the start of a policy! i will get on the case!
ekinn: haha, excellent!
johnathanB: In victorian times successful business people took it upon themselves to invest back into their communitees. This does not seem to happen much anymore and we just ask for govmts to sort things. Local business need to be encourage to help grow other local businesses
lordlancaster: Modwenna, have you ever met or spoken to Ling Valentine of ? She's the chinese lady that parked a missile launcher on the side of the A1 motorway.
angelnews: Johnathan i wholeheartedly agree.
lordlancaster: "In victorian times successful business people took it upon themselves to invest back into their communitees." Are you offering to do this Johnathan? I suppose you are already doing it in some way with all the mentoring you do
angelnews: Not face to face- my researcher Sarah Abrahams spoke to her on the phone when we interviewed her for the book
angelnews: I try to operate on a model of give first. Even if it is something small. It builds good will and in business terms always gives you a reason to make a second call to do some business
angelnews: I think Mr Cadbury, Mr Marks & Mr Spencer would turn in their graves at all the govnt involvement, but look at Sainsburys which still does a lot today to help enterprise all over the place.
lordlancaster: Ah right, I was looking the other day but didn't spot anything about Ling in the book. I'll take another look. She works quite close to us and I met her at the end of January. She's a daft as a brush self-publicist but is doing some very, very clever and sophisticated marketing and customer service which has given them a £35 million turnover.
johnathanB: I try to by giving advice and support locally. My goal / dream is to build another strong business where I can invest money in building a local sport facility for the teenagers of my sleepy town
mo112: Hi Modwenna, I have been making good use of your book as I had recently been up against a panel at the Princess Trust and has given more of an insight of what the panel want. The biggest problem I faced when I was at the panel was organizing and talking through the business idea in steps to explain in the business in more dept, is there anything you would recommend?
angelnews: Do you want the sport facility to be the business or just the result when you sell out?
angelnews: Hi Mo I think that it is good to use analogies e.g. i want to be the M&S of cooking or this part of the business will run like a car manufacturing plant - if you can get an image in someone's mind it helps save using words!
johnathanB: neither. I'd to finance for the community something like a 5-aside football pitch with seating. Sport to be health and contructive and a meeting place for kids to watch and stay out of trouble
angelnews: I think today we don't let children be entwined with business enough (in a healthy way i mean - not down the mines!). In the old days i think children had a much better idea of how money and work related - now they think that money comes out of a machine in a wall and that work is something parents drive to which is away from them
angelnews: Ling is very very clever - never underestimate anyone who can get a business to grow like that from scratch - look at Branson - but equally you can have great business people who are not good self publicists - like the google team who do not fly balloons around the world
johnathanB: Question: Do you think that young business people are losing the face-to-face skills required to be successful in business as they focus only on communication mediums such as web/ email / twitter etc, and will those with good sales and communications find it easier to compete in the future?
angelnews: one of the quiet but big debates amongst the social media players is taking online people into offline environments. I think this is very true for business as big ticket sales are still done face to face aren't they? We have launched live events and make a profit on them, but draw our audience from our online community.
angelnews: However, something clever is going on in children's heads - just like my grandparents sat down to listen to the radio, but i now drive and listen to the radio at the same time children are successfully doing more than one thing at once without suffering - that is REALLY intriguing!
angelnews: At the end of the day communications is all - as EM Forster said "Only Connect"! I am getting used to twitter (finally!)
johnathanB: I worry for many young business, they value SEO but no Sales skills. I keep wondering if in years to come as the web become every more saturated those that have taken the time to learn sales skills we become more competitive
angelnews: I think there are now age driven cultural differences as well as race ones - so the young will do business with the young just fine - its how the old and the young do business that will be very interesting especially as we are all living into our 90s
lordlancaster: It can be very easy to get sucked in to the virtual / online world and feel that you are doing everything you can to market and promote your business. However, humans are social creatures and still need that face to face contact - buying and working with people they have met in person and built up a rapport with.
johnathanB: - I wish I was getting used to twitter!
lordlancaster: As promised, I'm going to email you some good resources in a minute Johnathan...
johnathanB: is that the "over 35s guide to twitter"?
angelnews: Yes i think all markets mature and at the end of the day the winners adapt to hte markets they are in and have a vision for how they will keep adapting. Core skills - understanding how to sell i.e. what the price is for the value you offer vs the cost and then communicating that is actually as relevant for SEO as real world selling
johnathanB: Time for me to write a powerpoint file Thanks for you time it was nice chatting
lordlancaster: My new favourite phrase = 'Content is King'! You can do all the SEO and digital marketing in the world but if your website content is **** then you will look like a fool and you will just disappoint people. Better to ensure that your products or services are the best they can be, and then you'll be surprised how many referrals you'll get from word of mouth and people doing your marketing and promotion for you. The aim is to make your service so good that people feel COMPELLED to spread the word on your behalf. Social Media tools just make it easier for people to do this.
angelnews: I so agree
mo112: hmmm, keep on getting disconted
lordlancaster: Ok everyone. The 1hr is up, so I'd like to say a big thank you to Modwenna for joining us today and answering everyone's questions. You're all free to stay on here and chat as long as you like but if you'd like to get in touch with Modwenna you can do so at or via the Social Network at:
angelnews: Hi Thanks very much - it was great talking to you and i will be writing all about it in my newsletter next week! Call me anytime on 01275 333 443 and i will try to help. Have a great week.
Paul Lancaster
Content & Social Media Specialist
Sage One UK
Follow me on Twitter @lordlancaster
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You could also try a new site called Enterprise Den

They provide a platform to bring together entrepreneurs and start ups, with angel investors. Entrepreneurs can create a pitch including video, attachments etc. investors can use smart tools to locate actual opportunities that meet their investment criteria, and if they wish, have these emailed directly to them. If they are interested, they contact entrepreneurs directly - there are no middle men

Best thing of all, it's completely free!
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