In the next edition of our ‘Three Things’ series, we speak to Volunteer Advisor, entrepreneur and investor Nick Telson, digging deeper into his experience as a founder, his views on ‘better’ business and his ‘three things’ advice to fellow business leaders on nailing sales and marketing for your business.
Nick, the founder
Nick Telson co-founded DesignMyNight, the UK’s nightlife comparison site, in 2009. Since exiting he has become a prolific angel investor (Horseplay Ventures) and runs Pitch Deck podcast, one of the leading business podcasts in the UK.
Even with his now obvious success in the field, entrepreneurship was never a path Nick was certain he would take. He began working life in the corporate world with L’Oréal and looks back extremely fondly at his time there. It was there he learnt the ‘nuts and bolts’ of running a viable business, foundations he carried through to DesignMyNight.
So why, then, did he move on from L’Oréal? Was the idea of DesignMyNight so compelling and exciting that he simply had to? Not necessarily. The idea was undoubtedly good but perhaps more significant was the fact that the next stage in his L’Oreal career (becoming a general manager) simply didn’t excite him. The idea for DesignMyNight just so happened to crossover, and so, with ‘mid-20s naive optimism,’ he made the leap.
It was not an overnight success – more a slow burner – starting off as B2C only for the first 3 years, with venues paying for listings on the site. It was a healthy business but ‘wouldn’t have blown the doors off’ in Nick’s words. That all changed with one move. On speaking to one particular venue operator, the founders noticed an opportunity for a reservations platform. With existing solutions being designed for restaurants rather than bars, they took on board this suggestion, spoke to other operators, and acted quickly. Within a month, they started to build a solution. Moving quickly to meet customers’ needs became one of the business’ unique competencies compared with their competitors. Even if they came up against competing technology, they were determined to constantly innovate and remain ahead of the pack.