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The Den Report: Pitch Perfect

It is rare, but every now and then in the messy and oft-cringy world of Dragons' Den we see entrepreneurs who make pitching for money look easy. This week, Bottle Bin was one of those case-study-perfect pitches. From start to finish, the Williams siblings played their cards right and were rewarded for their efforts.

Everyone knows that recycling beer bottles was big, but the pitcher, Chris, had done his research and told us the market was eight-billion-dollars big. Did you see the Dragons sit up? Chris, with his comforting devotion to industry statistics showed the dragons he had intimate knowledge of the market as it exists today and how they can make a space for themselves.

Their visual aids quickly illustrated the problems with recycling, complete with actual smashing of glass - a familiar sound. The drama was ramped up with the pull back of the curtain to reveal the simple, yet clever solution (ta-da!) - plastic bins. Anyone remember Frogbox from last season?

The Bottle Bin samples were handed out to examine and assess. Added design features were explained by Trevor and the demonstration of a secondary use as a beer cooler gave Kathleen an excuse to crack open a few cold ones. Investing is thirsty work after all and even the Dragons will find a cold beer supremely agreeable.

The pitchers were hitting all the right notes. Then Kevin swooped in with his usual question, "Sales?"

Four months of business had reaped unexpectedly high revenues of $350,000, but Bottle Bin was hitting the usual stumbling block - fast growth and not enough working capital to fulfil orders. Kevin twigged on to this familiar situation for growing businesses and slammed Chris with a naughty offer. Chris knew Kevin's valuation was off, but he did not react. He waited.

Then the feeding frenzy began, and a series of competing offers rained down - the ideal position for any pitcher. Chris let it all play out before weighing in, and was rewarded for his patience when the dragons bid themselves down to exactly what he wanted. It was fun to watch the Dragons' collective dismay when Jim finally acquiesced to the original asking price. In disgust, Robert said he would never eat a Boston Pizza again!

Bottle Bin was fair about their valuation and knew their numbers. The Dragons put on a great show. It was a display of true capitalism, where investors compete with one another by offering different deal term structures in attempts to woo business owner while maintain value for their capital. Yes, they tried to take advantage of a tight cash flow situation but Chris knew his company's strengths. Did you notice how he negotiated hard but remained warm and upbeat as he tossed out more and more tempting facts about recent sales and successes?

Jim is one cool cat who gave a wonderfully good business exactly what they wanted, fair and square. It was a good deal for both sides. Too bad the other Dragons missed out!

Jacoline Loewen, MBA, is a Director of Loewen & Partners Inc., a corporate finance firm working with business owners and family businesses. Loewen & Partners has raised over $150 million for owner-managed Canadian companies, as well as managing family business succession, acquisition, and final sale. She is an advisor, lecturer and writer of business strategy and private equity. Her latest book "Money Magnet: How to Attract Investors to Your Business," published by Wiley, was selected by the Entrepreneurship course at The Richard Ivey School of Business.

Jacoline began her career working for Granduc Mines in Northern British Columbia and went on to work with Deloitte in their strategy unit. She developed a strategic planning model and published it in a book called "The Power of Strategy" which went on to be a best seller. She also wrote "Business e-Volution" which helped teams understand the business opportunities created by the Internet. She writes for the National Post, Globe & Mail and hosted Financial Post Executive podcasts (available on iTunes). She organizes CEO Roundtables and other conferences in alliance with Ivey Business School, Rotman and leading law firms.

Jacoline is a Director on the Board of the Exempt Market Dealers Association (EMDA), working with the Ontario Securities Commission to establish transparency in the private placement industry. She is on the advisory board of DCL International, Bilingo China, and Flint Business Acceleration. She was on the Board of Directors of the Strategic Leadership Forum where she ran the Knowledge Café series. Her other roles include serving as a judge for the U.B.C. and the Richard Ivey School of Business' Business Plan Competitions, mentoring for Canadian Youth Business Foundation as well as being a member of The Ticker Club.

Follow Jacoline on Twitter at @jacolineloewen