From the top · 14 February 2018

Dragons? Den success was nothing compared to learning to sell for this young entrepreneur

Ed Hollands attributed his Dragons’ Den achievement to his honest pitch
Overcoming his nerves to secure 30, 000 from one of the country’s most distinguished startup investors, 23 year-old entrepreneur Ed Hollands spoke exclusively to Business Advice about learning to sell and his pitching experience on Dragons? Den.

The Derby-based owner of Driven Media, an agency working with brands to advertise on the sides and backs of lorries, trucks and vans, appeared on the 11 February outing of the hit BBC2 show.

Hollands walked away with the backing of Dragon Jenny Campbell in exchange for a 20 per cent share in his business. The young founder attributed his achievement to his honest pitch, and his preparation.

being open and honest is the key to a successful pitch in the Den, Hollands explained. If you’re not honest about what you do, you can be caught out.

enthusiasm and passion are also very important. [The Dragons] need to see you believe in what you’re doing, which is impossible to fake.

After Sunday night’s successful pitch, Campbell said of the deal: Ed is a young entrepreneur brimming with potential and I am very much looking forward to working with him and with Driven Media.

In just two years, Hollands has taken his idea for an advertising venture and built a business with a 250, 000 annual turnover an impressive feat for anyone, let alone a young founder whod only just graduated from the University of Derby with a business degree.
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The idea behind Driven Media hit Hollands suddenly one day. Living in Nottingham, he was returning home after dropping his fianc? to work when he noticed a number of lorries and heavy goods vehicles stuck in a traffic jam on the A38 a major transport road that runs through the Midlands.

I thought if I had a business, this is where Id want to advertise it , said the entrepreneur. There was a line of around 200 cars parked behind me, with nothing to look at but the side of this huge commercial vehicle.

Hollands got in touch with as many local haulage firms as he could to drum up support for his venture. One haulier, who owned a fleet of over 100 commercial trailers, showed an interest straight away, and Driven Media immediately had a strong platform from which to sell advertising space.

Learning to sell

Despite his nose for a good business idea, Hollands had no experience of selling. The young entrepreneur admitted that this was a skill he found challenging to master at first.

He said: ‘selling the space to would-be advertisers proved to be the hard bit. I had no experience of learning to sell, and a real scatter gun approach to the advertising industry.

for marketers too, this was an unknown new platform companies needed a lot of convincing to spend money to advertise on the sides of trucks and lorries.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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