Sunday, 11 March 2012

CBC debuts The Big Decision, a new business reality show

CBC debuts The Big Decision, a new business reality show
2012/03/11 09:00:00
CBC is expanding its business reality show brand with a new program focused on existing companies struggling to stay afloat. The Big Decision, which kicks off Monday (9 p.m. NT) finds Dragon’s Den alum Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson offering expert advice and, if the firms make the grade, a cash injection to guarantee solvency.  Treliving, best known as chairman and owner of Boston Pizza, spoke with the Star from a week-long break at his Palm Spring home, about the show.

Q) Did you go into this venture with a specific investment budget?
A) No, it depended on what each business thought they might need and that ranged anywhere from a couple hundred thousand dollars to a couple million. You can’t really tell until you analyze them and that’s what we had to do. It’s different than Dragon’s Den in the sense that I get to see existing businesses that have been around for some time and have gotten into trouble either through management, or through sales dropping off, or the recession. “Is there anything I could invest in or help them fix that would turn them around to being successful companies?”
Q) What were some of the considerations of your team (which included an accountant and his billion-dollar empire’s in-house lawyers)?
A) Is it a product that is still wanted in the marketplace? How are they running their core business? Are they looking after it financially? Before I left, I gave them three or four projects just to show me what they could do. In two weeks, I went back and made my decision whether it would be worthwhile investing in the company or not.
Q) That’s not much time to turn things around.
A) I was more interested to see if they could change. If you’re doing the same thing over and over again, you don’t know what’s wrong. If they did make some changes, then there’s other things I could do down the road, so I knew then I could work with them. If they’re not susceptible to change, then you know all the money in the world isn’t going to solve the problem.
Q) Any advice for small businesses that won’t have an encounter with a fairy TV godfather?
A) The first thing is to be honest with yourself. Take a step back and look at the business as if you didn’t own it. Then sit down with your local banker or your KPMG person and say “Here’s my business. Tell me what you think, what you see.”
And get opinions from more than one or two people. The worse thing is to go to your parents, your family, because they’re going to say you’re doing everything right. That’s not where you should do your due diligence. You should take it to people who will say “This is wrong. I would never buy that.”

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