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Personality as important as product in business, says ex-Dragon’s Den star Tej Lalvani

·2-min read
Personality as important as product in business, says ex-Dragon’s Den star Tej Lalvani

Investors are as much looking for a personality as a product when choosing to back a new business, according to former Dragon’s Den star Tej Lalvani.

The CEO of Vitabiotics said he was convinced to invest in a knitting business - not his area of expertise - because the woman running it showed resourcefulness and proved she knew her business inside out.

“If you give enough money to anyone you will get sales, but it’s about how you can maximize your resources and do it creatively,” he told the audience at the Evening Standard’s SME XPO on Thursday.

“Transparency and honesty is also important for an entrepreneur because the last thing I want is to find out there’s a big issue and they’re not telling me about it, because we can probably solve it together.”

He said he wanted to see that people were on “a mission to solve a real issue” when deciding whether to invest in a business.

Vitabiotics, which was founded by Lalvani’s father Kartar in the 1970s, is now the UK’s largest vitamin company and has secured tie-ups with top sports stars and brands including Disney and Marvel.

Lalvani said the pandemic has opened up a range of opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to set up their own business.

“I think it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur. This is the best time in history to set up a business because the frictions and barriers to entry are so little.

“You don’t have to do a mega-buy to get the products in the store - you can do direct to [the] consumer. You don’t have to beg a journalist to write a story about you - you can [promote yourself] on social media.

“So you can really launch and test much easier right now and get products manufactured.”

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