Dealing with a Toasting
It’s hard to hear that others don’t get your ideas. I guess we’ve all been there. My moment was on national TV on the business entertainment show Dragon’s Den.
Let’s get this straight, the experience was harsh and gave me huge feelings of self doubt which I shared with a few unfortunate people as I made my way back from the Manchester studios in the Bank Holiday traffic. They were understanding and great and I salute them all! The great news is they are still talking to me even after the show was broadcast!
Actually it was just a nasty way to find a new beginning.
So how did I deal with the “Toasting” as my local daily paper described it?
Dealing with the gap in the business model
My first instinct was to save SplashMaps from falling behind once we knew we weren’t gaining the funding. Okay, we’ve been saved having to give away equity, but we’ve not got the money for the expansion plans or to boost the technology.
The solution here, was to find a new source of income. And as a product company, the best way to do this is to sell more product!
A chance encounter on a train had meant I was already lined up for a meeting with Mark Constantine, founder of cosmetic company LUSH. Watch the video from minute 12 to get his, mine and the Dragons’ side of the story as told by BBC South Today.
Dealing with reputation
My second was for my suppliers. How would they be effected? I knew exactly what had been said and knew the BBC had carte-blanche on everything that happened in that studio. I knew the product would come across well but, whilst I was happy with looking daft myself, I didn’t want any of my suppliers looking bad. This kept me up at nights and I dealt with it in three ways.
- I pleaded with the BBC to keep anything negative about my partners out of the edit
- I ensured these partners had a full up-front on what was going to happen
- I contacted the local BBC news to create a good news follow-up story
This allowed my partners to prep great blog pieces that went out on the morning immediately after the show, and set us up for an amazingly positive finale to the otherwise rather negative story. Good news for all involved!
The side effects?
Okay, I still feel a bit silly about my performance, but the response from our social media has been amazing! Being backed-up by Mark Constantine makes a huge difference, particularly as he points out the problems the Dragons have in decision making under pressure. Twitter is often quite a harsh medium, but we picked up a huge number of followers who couldn’t understand the Dragons’ stance on this. Just follow us here and check the recent comments.
- Sales? Far from dropping, we’ve sold more maps in 4 days than we sold the previous month.
- Temporary sales? Certainly prolonged – because of the follow-up publicity with South Today (Daily Echo, BBC Solent, BBC on-line and Captial Radio too) our sales didn’t peak on Monday, but are still growing by the middle of Friday!
- Better relations? I’m pretty sure my suppliers are happy with the exposure and they’ll be happier still when I pay their royalties.
Overall, the BBC got a great entertainment programme and enough of a story to satisfy their TV, Radio and on-line platforms. And the Dragons? They scored the most of all! Each of them got a personalised SplashMap!
Well done David – you ought to be a PR guru – turning bad news into good news and so gracefully sublimating your embarrassment!
Thanks Dai! Great to meet you. Yep, it would be hard to pay for that response. That’s what happens when you’re heart’s in it 😉