Each week we catch up with a different entrepreneur to discover what makes them tick, their top tips and more. This week we spend five minutes with Mark Wright who won the 10th season of The Apprentice and is CEO of digital marketing agency Climb Online.
So tell us, what is it really like to work for Lord Sugar?
Working with Lord Sugar has been a life changing experience. Literally the day after winning the competition, he opens a new bank account for your business and transfers £250,000 into the account. It was very surreal and the first thing I did was text my Dad.
In the beginning, he (Lord Sugar) was emailing and calling me every day and now we speak every other day. I also see him one full day every month.
Whilst the £250,000 investment and exposure is crucial to get you premises up and running, it’s really the business mentoring that has been the best part about it.
There is already talk about Climb Online being the most successful Apprentice business. How have you progressed in the last year?
We were the fastest growing agency in Europe that launched this year and overall the 9th fastest growing of all agencies.
We currently offer search-marketing services including search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising to over 170 companies including Groupon, VoucherCodes and two of Be Wiser’s main businesses, Call Wiser and Be Wiser Business Insurance.
We’ve hired over 20 staff located in two London offices and are set to open a third one very soon.
What makes Climb Online different?
It’s a personal service. I used to work for a huge agency in the city that were losing customers by not offering a personal touch or giving them the attention they deserved. With Climb Online I know all of our customers, whatever the size of the business, they meet me and they get a call from me each month. They all have a dedicated account manager that they speak to regularly and meet at least once a month.
Also with such exposure, we had lots of quality people that want to work for us and they’re willing to travel from Leicester, Coventry and Southampton to be part of the Climb Online story.
The fact that we have staff that previously worked for Unilever, Dyson and British Gas means that they have already looked after some of the biggest advertising campaigns in the world – so they have the experience and capability we need to drive the business.
I was probably one of the first SEO or PPC people to really ever go onto TV and Google saw it as an opportunity and decided to help us. We have the highest level of partnership with Google in the country, one that only 6 agencies in the world can claim.
What is your advice for the new winner of The Apprentice 2015?
I was thrilled to see Joseph win the competition this week to start a plumbing and smart technology business.
My advice is to take winning the show on the chin because the real work starts now. I think it is important to learn from Lord Sugar and the people around him so that you can make the most of this opportunity.
Everything that could go wrong will probably happen in the first year and you have to roll with the punches, be resilient and working at something that you enjoy. The dark days are tough and if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing then you’re not going to make it.