Episode 276: Marketing as License to Print Money with Mark Wright


Do you want to have an abundance of customers and money? Maybe you’re an entrepreneur who wants to scale your business but is confused about how to even start. Mark Wright learned a very important lesson in his business journey that he shared with us today.

Mark Wright is an Australian-born digital marketing specialist, speaker, entrepreneur, and the winner of the 2014 Apprentice show on BBC. From a kid who dreams of being rich and successful, Mark understands early the importance of sales and marketing as a license to print money. 

Mark honed his skills and built successful businesses such as Climb Online, Make More Noise, and Luxurious Looks. He is also mentored by Alan Sugar and Grant Cardone. 

In this episode, Adam Stott and Mark Wright talk about how to have an abundance of customers and money using sales and marketing. Mark discussed in a Gold Circle Members’ Event how a dumb kid at school like him became a multi-millionaire, how he built a cult-like atmosphere with employees and customers, and his way of paying it back to other people.

Show Highlights:

  • The number one reason that holds most businesses from scaling
  • How Mark fell into sales with pure stupidity
  • Using abnormalities to become successful
  • Mark’s secret sauce in cultivating client loyalty
  • The goal of making yourself redundant in your business
  • Grant Cardone’s private plane experience; and
  • Q&A with Mark Wright

Follow Mark Wright on Instagram at @mwright_10

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Transcript:

Please note this is a verbatim transcription from the original audio and therefore may include some minor grammatical errors.

Adam Stott: 

So should we welcome to the stage, the ever successful, Mark Wright!

Mark Wright: 

I get asked to do a lot of these, but I generally say no because up until this, I’m retired now. I look very young to be retired, but this is my first week of retirement. But I have it on good information from the people who run the London Business Show that I just spoke there a couple of weeks ago, but my talk was the equal most attended talk. And that really pissed me off as human. As human. Because everywhere I speak I get the biggest audience. You know, you’ll understand why in a bit. Anyway, and then I said to the lady, obviously I got the most people. She said, equal first. And I said, who got the other amount of people to me? They were swinging from the rafters. This guy. So if he’s asked me to come and speak here, I thought I’d better see what he’s all about and come here. And so thank you very much for having me.

Adam Stott: 

Oh no. Brilliant. It’s a brilliant trivia. So look, some amazing results, amazing success. We had a really good podcast, didn’t we? And you know, I felt like we were very much in tune in terms of marketing, branding, and that’s why we’re so keen to get you here because the marketing stuff you’ve done. Do you know, ironically the case study that I showed you earlier of Palm? Mark was working with Palm at the same time through that journey.

Mark Wright: 

Yeah.

Adam Stott: 

So you helped him scale his marketing and his advertising as well, didn’t you?

Mark Wright: 

Definitely. He’s an amazing guy. He understands that you need to spend money on marketing, he understands his business, he understands his industries in a good industry. So many people that I’ve worked with over the years, I think the biggest thing that I understood when I got into my business, and all I wanted to do when I was a kid was be rich and be successful. When I was a young boy, I just wanted to be rich. I didn’t understand how I’d make that happen. And I understood something that I think most business owners still don’t understand today. The reason that holds most businesses back from scaling is not enough people know about them. And I understood that no matter what industry you’re in or what business you’re in, the more people that know about you can buy your stuff. And it doesn’t matter what your stuff is, whether you’re selling haircuts, property, whatever, the more people who know you sell that stuff can buy it from you. So I just cut out the middle man and got into marketing because I was like, I can do that for myself by understanding marketing. And I think if I had to summarize why I’m sitting here today with the biggest exit ever for Alan Sugar, is because I understood how to sweat my name and the brand. And before I went on The Apprentice, my issue was no one would meet me. I was a service business. I was selling digital ads. And who gets an email from an Indian guy trying to sell you SEO every day? All of us a hundred times a day. So I was one of those guys, albeit not Indian. So, I’m this Australian guy going around trying to sell digital marketing and no one would meet with me. Zero. I’d ring a carpet shop, can I come and talk to you about Google ads? And fuck off, piss off, all this stuff down the phone. So I was like, I need to figure out a way to get meetings with people, to get more attention. So I was looking at ways to do it, and that’s why I went on The Apprentice because that gave me instant credibility and it gave me instant eyeballs. The first call or the second or third call I got after I won The Apprentice was for a meeting with Emirates to do their marketing. I was still the same person. I still knew the same stuff. I’m still living in the same house. The only thing that changed was the amount of people who knew who I was and what I did. And if your business is not where it is, where you want it to be right now, it’s because not enough people know about you and what you do.

Adam Stott: 

It’s just nailed on, you know, the whole message of branding. And you’ve got that down to a T mark, I think, the brand inside of it a 100%. So I wanna get into that. But actually, we fast-forwarded into… that was like the quickest life story ever. Bang! Right? So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna go back. Cause actually, I remember, when we talked on the podcast, really the skills, Brandon Swan, you got to know really well.

Mark Wright: 

Yes.

Adam Stott: 

And we just have a really interesting chat outside. Marketing sales. It all started in sales to you, did it not?

Mark Wright: 

Yeah. And I think if you need any skill in life, to be successful in business, it’s sales. And I fell into sales by accident through pure stupidity. I was in the half of the class at school which made the top half possible.

Adam Stott: 

I was in that half as well.

Mark Wright: 

I finished with no grades, all of that. I don’t wanna give you that sob story. It’s not like, look at this dumb guy that’s now rich. I just didn’t apply myself properly. All I was interested in was football and girls and all of that stuff. And I just did poorly. I couldn’t get any qualifications. I couldn’t get into university. The only thing I could do was become a gym membership consultant, selling gym memberships. And I just learned sales through that and I understood the art of selling. And I think that that really changed my life forever. Because I think the biggest things that are overlooked in businesses is sales and branding.

Adam Stott:

 Yeah.

Mark Wright: 

And if you nail those two elements and you can teach those two elements, you’ll never need new customers because you’ll always have them in abundance. And if you solve that problem, then the question is where do I wanna take my business? So I fell into sales. I mastered sales cause it was competitive and I loved the competition. And the rest they say is relative history.

Adam Stott: 

Yeah, I mean, it’s incredible. Sales is such a skill set that’s often overlooked. So where did you go from the gym membership to what happened next after you started selling those gym memberships and how good were you at it?

Mark Wright: 

Well, that’s a really good question. So, I was working in Brisbane. I grew up in a town in the Outback in Australia and my nan still hand-writes me letters. She’s not figured WhatsApp out yet. And in my last letter update, she’s told me that Armadale, the town I’m from, we’ve just got our first set of traffic lights.

Adam Stott:

 You’re not from Armadale, are you really?

Mark Wright: 

Yeah. You’ve been to Armadale?

Adam Stott: 

Yeah, my friend James is playing professional football for Armadale.

Mark Wright: 

That’s never happened.

Adam Stott: 

I swear to you. It’s in Western Australia, Perth, yeah?

Mark Wright: 

No, there’s three Armadale.

Adam Stott: 

Oh, okay.

Mark Wright: 

Sorry. In New South Wales, I was gonna say. I don’t even know anyone that’s been to Armadale and I live there. So, we just got our first set of traffic lights. We’re really on the up and up. And it’s in the Outback so I moved from Armadale to Brisbane and I got my personal training certificate as part of the gym I was working for. And I started training one of the richest guys in the country just by pure luck. And he was really rich guy. He owned the equivalent of British Gas but in Australia. And I said to him, Dave, how do I get rich? And he said the people who make all the money are in marketing and sales. And I was like, okay, I just got my personal training qualification and I was like shit. And I was like, so, and he’s like, if you wanna make more money, you need to learn one or two skills better, marketing or sales. And I was like, right. So I quit my job as a personal trainer when I worked at the college where I did my personal training certificate. And the guy there had invented a system cause Australia’s such a vast country. People used to do school on the radio cause it was six, seven hours to go to a nearest town. And he invented a system where you could upload a curriculum and study it online. It was like revolutionary. But he wasn’t getting any sales. It was a great product. His product was exceptional, but no one knew about it. And the first month I worked there, we got $2,000 in sales and he was going bankrupt. And he was so stressed. We’re working in his house, in his garage. And I said to this guy’s name’s, Don, we need to get more sales. What are you doing for marketing? And he said I’ve put us in the yellow pages. I dunno what’s going on. I was like, Don, no one reads the yellow pages. I was like, that’s like craziness. Remember that book where like you had like names in it and stuff? It was like the most insane thing. So I was like, you need to get on Google. And he’s like, I have no idea how to do that. So I was like, let me try it. So I made a WordPress website, put the course into the website, in through a backend, and I SEOed the website and we went from not on Google to number one on Google for the term personal training courses. And in three months we went from $2,000 in sales to $250,000 a month.

Adam Stott: 

Wow.

Mark Wright: 

And I learned a very important lesson. Ask for equity in someone’s business before you make it successful.

Adam Stott: 

Before you made it.

Mark Wright: 

Because he wasn’t too keen on giving me a slice of the action after he is now getting a quarter of a million a month. But I had that light bulb moment that I think most us entrepreneurs in this room will understand. That was the first time I knew what I was gonna do with my career because I was good at it. I enjoyed it. I wasn’t watching the clock looking for five o’clock because I was really good at something and for a stupid kid from the Outback in Australia who was never good at anything, it was the first time in my life I was really good at something. And I understood as well because I was seeing as I got each keyword up the rankings on Google, the pounds, literally going into this guy’s bank account, I was literally like, this is a license to print money. Marketing is a license to print money. And it was like I discovered fire. I was literally like, this is unbelievable. How does no one else know this? People know this about marketing, but they don’t know how to do it. So I was like, okay, I need to go on either do this for myself or show other people how to do this. And that’s what set me off on my journey. So, but before I did that, I went and did what every Australian does and backpacked around Europe. So I packed up a rough…

Adam Stott: 

It’s funny cause we all go over to Australia.

Mark Wright: 

Australia, yeah. We come over here for some reason and play in the snow. My fiance can’t believe how excited I get about snow. That’s like the second time I’ve ever seen snow.

Adam Stott: 

And you can take some money…

Mark Wright: 

I’ll go and you’ll see me out there rolling in the snow, making money angels. So I got over here, I was backpacking around Europe and I basically, backpacking was really good for booze and partying, but wasn’t so good on the wallet. I ran outta money. Had to go to the closest place which spoke English, which was London. I was living in a hostel called the Wyatt Ferry House in London. I had 172 pounds to my name on the first week that I got here to the UK. And I don’t wanna digress cause I know we got a lot of ground to cover today, but I get so upset when I see people… I came to this country with literally no money. I had 172 pounds. I remember it like it was yesterday. And I sit here to you in front of you today as a multi-multimillionaire, and it…

Adam Stott: 

It deserves a round of applause, right?

Mark Wright: 

Thank you. And I am nothing special. I am nothing special. I am a hardworking, dedicated to my craft type individual. I watched a video yesterday of Richard Branson saying he didn’t know how to read a PnL until he was 51 years old. He was in a board meeting at Virgin already worth 2 billion pounds. 2 billion and someone said gross profit, and he didn’t understand the difference between net profit and gross profit, and he was already worth 2 billion. Now that tells you if I can do it and Richard can do it, anyone in this room can do it. It just takes dedication to whatever it is that you are doing and the amount of excuses that I hear about all this country and this stuff and whatever. I was living in a hostel man with a hundred pounds. It’s not that hard. It really isn’t that hard. I’m here to tell you, I think we’ve gotta stop making excuses and really focus on our goals and dreams. It makes me sad to see people not achieving what they should be achieving because I think in this country it’s super easy and I sit here as proof to that. But I digress.

Adam Stott: 

No, and I love that. So if we are looking, what are the elements for you? You’d say, if we’re gonna take someone, we’re gonna grow them, we’re gonna accelerate them, what do you think? Do you know what? I did a podcast yesterday in London with Wilfred the Black Farmer. Do you know him?

Mark Wright: 

Yes. Yes, I did.

Adam Stott: 

Yeah. Great guy. And he actually asked me some wicked questions, so I might nick a couple of them. But he said to me, we were doing this podcast and he said to me, he was like, Adam, the point of the podcast is I want to get across that you are weird. And I was like, okay. He said I want to get across your abnormality. What’s abnormal about you? And I was like, that’s weird. And he was saying no because he said real success, he said, if we can show people the abnormalities of people that are successful and actually point them out to people, then people can use those abnormalities to become the successful themselves. So what would you say is the… what’s the screw loose you’ve got Mark?

Mark Wright: 

I got a lot. It’s a good question. I’ve not been asked that one before.

Adam Stott: 

It threw me as well.

Mark Wright: 

I mean, we’re all weird, right? We’re all weird and we’re all sort of got our own quirks and ticks that make us unique. And anyone who puts together this presentation that they’re a perfect person is full of shit because we’re all weird. We’ve all got our thing. We all need to just play to our strengths. I was this stupid kid at school and the only thing I understood how to do well was cheat, was steel and cheat and replicate. So I made that into making me successful. I used what I had. I’ll give you an example. I went to The Apprentice tryouts with my friend Blake in 2012. After four banks wouldn’t give me a 25,000-pound loan to start a company because I’m not from the UK, so I had to take an unconditional funding route. I went to The Apprentice tryouts with 75,000 other people, and I got through 75,000 people into the final thousand, into the final hundred, onto the final 20, which went onto Series 10 of The Apprentice. Normally in The Apprentice they have 12 or 14 contestants, but in Series 10 my year, they had 20 because it was the anniversary series. So statistically, that makes me the greatest of all time. But anyway, I digress again. So what’s the point of my story, this is why I’m weird. When I got called from the BBC production to tell me that I was gonna go onto The Apprentice, I used my childhood skill of success leaves clues. If it’s been done before, it can be done again.

Adam Stott: 

Yeah.

Mark Wright: 

We’ve all heard the story about Roger Banister. No one ran the four-minute mile. He does it, then 20 people do it the next month. The human mind is incredible. I went on Wikipedia and Wikipedia’d everyone who’d ever won The Apprentice. I watched each series back and I tracked the winner through each series, and I understood which task to put yourself forward through, which ones not to put yourself forward through, when to speak, when not to speak, et cetera. I understood statistically if you put yourself forward as a project manager in week one, you have a 75% chance of getting fired, right? So I did what I’ve always done. I just watched someone who’d gone and done it before. I did the same things just like baking a cake, and I had to get the same results. Bang. I won The Apprentice. Before that, when I got my first job in the UK, I told you I had 170 pounds, I went and worked in a call center doing like the fast dialing thing. Now, if you want a shit job, that is a shit job. The thousand calls a day and…

Adam Stott: 

[15:57] is the best job.

Mark Wright: 

Oh, it is. It changed my life.

Adam Stott: 

Yeah.

Mark Wright: 

But boy, that was a hard job.

Adam Stott: 

Tell ’em why it changed your life cause I love that. I’ve often recommended speak to do it.

Mark Wright: 

They say that two years of door-to-door selling or cold calling will give you the equivalent of communications degree. I think it’s 10 times more. Personally from having honed those skills myself because of how hard it is. And the mental fortitude you need to get your ass to that telephone each day, the willpower it takes to sit there and get abused, and to try and get your message across when people already don’t wanna speak to you is incredibly difficult. When I first got to the call center, it had 500 employees in it. Remember my story about success leaves clues and what I did for The Apprentice, this is going back before that. I said here, who makes the most money out of these 500 reps? Oh, the fellow up there in the beard. He’s a funny-looking guy. He makes 35,000 pounds a month. What? He makes 35,000 pounds a month telephoning people. Yeah. Put my desk there next to that guy.

Adam Stott: 

Yeah.

Mark Wright: 

And then the guy next to him, Joel Smith, he makes the second most 23,000 pound, I remember it like it was yesterday. So, right, I want my desk next to those guys. Whatever they say on that telephone is gonna come outta my mouth, right? I broke every record they had month after month after month. And everyone was thought, I was like, the second coming of Jesus. They’re like, what is this guy doing? Is it the Australian accent? Is it this? Is it this? Is it this? And I was like, you meatheads, I was doing nothing other than copying the guy who makes the highest pay packet. And the best advice I ever got in business was surround yourself with the people that you wanna be. Surround yourself with the people that you wanna be in five years and you will be them. Well, rather than go to the pub with the noodles that were making 1200 pounds a month, I went with a guy that was making 35,000 pounds a month, and all of a sudden I was making more money and doing more and getting the promotions, et cetera, and everyone thought I was some genius, and I would kind of felt like I was a criminal because I was just stealing what he was doing and doing it. And then I was like, how is no one else doing this? But I keep doing that at nauseum in my career to win The Apprentice, to be the best at the cold calling place, and other things that I’ve gone on and achieved is I’ve just surrounded myself with people who have achieved those things, listen to their advice and done it. And then I’ve got the results and it shocks everyone else. It’s fascinating, really.

Adam Stott: 

No, it’s an incredible story. And going, moving on to Climb Online, right?

Mark Wright: 

Yes.

Adam Stott: 

So you won The Apprentice, you got the opportunity to go and build this business. Now, I’ve been very aware of Mark’s business initially cause Palm told me about him using you and he really did as a marketing business achieve outstanding results for clients.

Mark Wright:

Thank you.

Adam Stott:

People raved about his company. Do you know what actually getting people to leave your company and to actually move and do business so people wouldn’t do it?

Mark Wright: 

Yeah.

Adam Stott: 

They absolutely loved you, didn’t they?

Mark Wright: 

Yeah.

Adam Stott: 

So, let’s talk a little bit about that. How did you build, because you built a fantastic client loyalty.

Mark Wright: 

Yeah.

Adam Stott: 

So I’ve known a lot of Mark’s clients over the years and I’ve worked with them directly, train ’em on their businesses. And then I went, cause I’m telling them to spend money on marketing, to get into marketing, to get return investment. They’ve often ended up using Mark’s business.

Mark Wright: 

Thank you.

Adam Stott: 

And they’ve done incredible things. So what did you do to cultivate that loyalty? I’d like to get that across to some of the people here. How do you build outstanding client relationships, get into ’em, and stay working with ’em for a long period of time in your mind?

Mark Wright: 

Okay. Now this is, I guess, my secret source. If I’m the kernel, this is my secret recipe. That I understand, I think better than most business owners is everything matters in your business. Everything matters. How you do anything is how you do everything. You cannot just make up a little bit of the detail because it will ripple into the rest of your business. And what do I mean by that? It starts with the name, the brand of your company.

Adam Stott:

 Yeah.

Mark Wright: 

So let’s think about the names of my company. My digital marketing agency, which I just sold, was called Climb Online. What a great name. Climb Online for businesses who wanna go online and be successful. I own the biggest PR agency in Birmingham called Make More Noise. I owned a…

Adam Stott: 

That’s a brilliant brand name.

Mark Wright: 

Yeah. I owned a successful hair and beauty product business. One of the biggest sellers of Davines shampoo, which will mean probably nothing to most of the people unless they’re hairdressers in here, it was called Luxurious Look. Now I believe that it needs to be simple. Most successful business people I’ve ever met can take complex systems and knowledge and make it easy for the consumer to understand. So that’s step one. Step two is surround myself with great people. I understood I had limitations in my business that I was good at certain elements and horrendous at others. And I hired people to compliment what I didn’t do well, rather than trying to fine-tune what I did badly and get better at it. I just forgot that, put it in the bin, and hired people who were actually good at it and I could focus on the things I enjoyed doing. And then I create this almost, I don’t wanna use the word cult, but I will cause I can’t think of a better word right now. I create a cult-like atmosphere with my employees and my customers that we are better than everyone else that doesn’t use this business. And I would give a little speech to my employees about, I’m a football fan, I enjoy football. You have just got on the pitch at Real Madrid. How long you’re on the pitch is up to you and what you do here for our customers. I’ve got people in my LinkedIn waiting for your job, my friend. So you better work hard, you better provide great service to our customers and you will stay on that pitch. And if your name on my CV, you’re gonna have any job you want after here, but we are gonna make a lot of success together as long as you are here. And you could sort of see them like I’ve never been spoken to like this. Then I do another thing. So each point of reference in my business, when you’d get a certain milestone, you would get a certain piece of clothing as an employee. So after one year, I stole this from Sons of Anarchy. Don’t tell anyone. It’s like if you join…

Adam Stott: 

I love Sons of Anarchy.

Mark Wright: 

Yeah. If you join a motorbike cult after one year, you get a cut, a thing. So I was like, I’m stealing that. So after one year, in front of the whole company, you get this specific jacket. And I created so much buy-in about this jacket that people would not leave this company because they wanted this jacket. It meant more than a pay rise. It meant more than money. We would stop the company and I would put the jacket on the employee in front of the whole company and we would say things like, you know, people have reported that when this jacket touch, you know, like their penis grows, it’s like, it’s crazy. Like all their wealth grows, their confidence grows, you know, the reports are crazy. That happens once you have like, it was all fun and games and whatever, but what it meant to people…

Adam Stott: 

[23:01] Mark.

Mark Wright: 

Oh, exactly. I mean, it was like a 15 quid jacket from the internet and everyone just wanted this jacket and we started having people apply to work for me who just wanted the jacket. And they just wanted to do these certain things and I really looked after the staff. I took them to Vegas four times, Dubai, twice, all sorts of stuff. And what I really understood is I’ve never met a millionaire or a billionaire who owns a hundred percent of their company. People understand to be successful, you cannot go on your own. You can go far when you go together. And I gave away equity in my business to key people. When I got someone good and I found someone good, I gave them a slice of the action. That meant them stopping hounding me for pay rises all the time. And it meant they would work their socks off to drive my reputation and the companies forward. When I just sold two weeks ago, I made about five people multimillionaires and that feels really good. That felt better than me making that money. I’ve changed a lot of people’s lives and when they invite me to their house for a barbecue and they own two houses and all of this stuff, that means more to me than the money I made myself bringing other people on that journey. But what it meant, all of that to tell you, that I had them focused on the customer. The most don’t listen to anyone’s, you’re gonna hear all this nonsense now about the most important thing in your business is the staff, is the culture, is the this and this and this. That’s all horseshit. The most important thing in your business, by none is the customer. And as the internet changes and things advanced, customers get harder to acquire. So that means as customers get more expensive or harder to acquire means the only new customers you’re gonna get are from the current customers you have and the referrals they bring. The easiest customers and the cheapest, and I work in marketing, the cheapest customer is one that one of your current customers already knows. What we call in my company’s brained out. Every step of the customer fun journey should be brained out. And I had a saying in my company, every new customer, my intention was them, was to be my best friend. If they weren’t my best friend or they didn’t feel I was their best friend after using my service, I had failed them. And some of my customers at my 30th birthday was in Las Vegas as well. I’ve got an addiction to Las Vegas, but I looked out at my… when I was giving my speech at my 30th birthday in Las Vegas a few years back, and most of the room was customers of Climb Online. And that’s why my company survived because my customers felt I really cared about them. They felt I understood their business and their goals, and they felt I was on their team. And they wouldn’t leave me, they were getting as many emails as you get about SEO and PPC and cheaper and better and newer and all of this stuff, and our churn rate was the lowest in the industry for eight years. Eight years the lowest. It’s because I was never always chasing that new customer. I was focused on the customers that I had. And that brought me more business than I could ever work on in 10 lifetimes. And that is the most important thing that I can leave you with, is just that focus on that customer and that love and care and attention to that individual customer is so important because you already, all of you will have enough customers in your business to make money as long as you live. But you’re just not executing it in the right way. Maybe you’re not cross-selling or upselling them enough, maybe you’re not giving them enough attention, but the answer to your wishes and goals is already in the customers that you have.

Adam Stott: 

Most people are sitting on a gold mine and they just picked up the shovel, right?

Mark Wright: 

You’ve got it. Yeah. That’s the summary of my 20-minute rant there.

Adam Stott: 

Oh, man! He’s absolutely right.

Mark Wright: 

Yeah.

Adam Stott: 

We’re talking about branding earlier, right? And you saw a little bit of what we were doing, Mark. And you said to me as you went out, you’re just like, oh my God, that’s everything I do.

Mark Wright: 

Yep. Yep.

Adam Stott: 

So, getting the review, you said to me that the reason that when you sold the business, so we can talk a little bit about maybe selling the business, exit in the business, which is a major achievement. No one’s ever done that at The Apprentice, have they? No one’s…

Mark Wright: 

That was the first apprentice business to ever third-party exit.

Adam Stott: 

Which is incredible.

Mark Wright: 

And it was the biggest of Alan Sugar’s you know, investments ever. Yeah.

Adam Stott: 

Biggest investment sale ever that he’s ever done from that business, which is incredible. And you were the CEO, the person that run it, you know, and co-owner so it’s an incredible result. And one of the things that you said is the difference between you getting two times EBITDAR, two times earnings to keep it simple, right? To net profit, you know, without tax. So two times that. So instead of getting two times that you went on to get nine times. There was a reason and you said to me outside that that reason was what we were talking about in here. So that’s why I got nine times. So it’s worth seven times more as a multiple because I was doing those things. So speak a little bit about that, Mark. I think it would be good for people to hear.

Mark Wright: 

Yeah, so I got here, as you should, as a good person. Half an hour early and I was just listening to Adam’s talk and I was blown away at you were probably going over things and you probably weren’t realizing how important the stuff you covered. And I mean, I was only here for 20 minutes and the stuff you covered, you can’t realize how important that is until you come to sell your business. Some of you might be thinking, well, I’m not planning on selling my business. You will exit that business one day. You will either die, you will either sell it or it will go under. Now, let’s make sure we do the one that we all want and sell it because you don’t wanna die in your inbox and you don’t wanna leave your kids a nightmare. Every great entrepreneur should have the goal of making themself redundant in their business and selling it. And if that’s not your goal, you need to go home and change it and look yourself in the mirror. Because otherwise, you’re leaving other people headaches or your business is gonna go downhill. So I understood that and most on Alec Adam was saying, the average marketing company in the UK when they sell, they exit for on average two times EBITDAR. Two times profit means the number they get at the sale. I sold for nine and a half times profit. Industry record. When I sold it, and we couldn’t believe the multiple when they made the offer, I had to hold my leg from not bursting out laughing like I just robbed the bank, got out on the street and none of the cameras had seen me. So I was like, oh, well, you know, that sounds reasonable. My legs tapping under the table, kicking Lord Sugar under the table. We’re like, we’ll need to think about it obviously. The only thing I needed to think about was like which first-class flight I’m going on next. So, we got outside and the areas that they identified where the multiple had come from, we had the most five-star Google reviews of any digital marketing agency in the UK. We had the most testimonials and we’d won the most industry awards. Now, I used to get pissed off with the marketing department. They was spending 500 pound every single month on these award entries, and I was like, but it all really mattered. Every testimonial, every Google review, because when a company comes to buy your business, and remember what I said, we’re all gonna sell cause we’re good entrepreneurs in this room. They don’t just look at the turnover and the profit. Reputation is as fundamental as profit because they don’t wanna buy something that’s super profitable, that’s got 3001-star reviews, that’s given them a headache. They’re just buying a nightmare. No one wants to buy a nightmare. So all of these things matter because people, equity, private equity companies, VCs, buy and build investors, what they’re buying is more revenue and reputation to go andadd to their current portfolio. And you’ve gotta think of that. Always start with the end in mind. What am I trying to build to sell? And it, you need to be everyday thinking, am I the bottleneck in my business? Am I redundant enough? And who am I gonna sell to? And that will make you a better boss. And it will make you a better business person because you’ll be making sharper decisions.

Adam Stott: 

Just an incredible explanation. Yeah, look. Absolute, you know, loved it. Loved ’em, Mark. So, you know, I should say what’s next, my man?

Mark Wright: 

Ah, well, okay, so…

Adam Stott: 

We already talked of [31:24].

Mark Wright: 

Yeah. You are hitting me with the hard questions today. So, I always thought when I sold my business, I was very lucky in my career. I made a lot of money and people say, well, there’s more to life than money. True. I’ve never heard a rich person say that yet, but it is true. So, more to life than money., I always just wanted to make the money though, just to understand that process. So I was very lucky in my career. I made good dividends and stuff like that, but I’d never made this level of money. This was crazy level. And when I opened my bank account and I looked in there, what happened was not what I thought would happen. I didn’t feel anything. It didn’t feel good, it didn’t feel bad. It didn’t feel like what I thought it would. And where I get the most passion and where I feel the happiest is when I come and help other business owners because Adam said to something again in the half an hour, I just heard, I would love to stay for the day after that half an hour. He said that people at the top of that graph, they get a lot from helping and paying it back to other people. And one day, I was traveling on the speaking circuit with Grant Cardone. I dunno if you know who Grant Cardone is. And Paul there had driven Grant and I. Took Grant and I to their airport in Cardiff. We’re outside Grant’s private jet, and we were gonna fly from Wales in Cardiff to Scotland to speak there. And as I went to walk up the steps of his private plane, he stopped me and he said, before you get on my, you’re the first person outside of my family that I’m ever gonna let on my private plane. But there’s a rule and you must make this agreement with me if you’re gonna come on my plane with me. He said, I know as a successful entrepreneur when I’m looking at another successful entrepreneur, and he said that your promise to me must be… I know you’re gonna have your own private plane, and I know you’re gonna be a super successful billionaire, but the one rule you must agree to is when you have your own plane that you bring an entrepreneur onto it and you tell them everything that you know to help them on their journey because that’s what I owe to you and that’s what you owe to other people. And it really stuck with me and shocked me. And that flight for two hours to Scotland was probably the best two hours of my life. He just told me everything he knew about business, about investing, about fundamental mistakes, issues that he’d had, how to overcome them, people in his team. It was just, it was a really beautiful experience. And that stuck with me a lot. So, bring it back to now, I’m sitting here, retired. The money in the bank account didn’t feel how it did. My job now is I’ve been going around working with entrepreneurs, speaking to people. Normally, I’m synonymous for not having meetings with people, refusing meetings, not writing back to WhatsApps, not being available. I make my time very precious, very hard to get hold of. When I started in my career, I went to as many, the hustle was real, I went to as many meetings as possible, spoke to as many people as possible, open to as many opportunities until the point where I needed to be invested in the things I was invested in. I’m now free again. I’ve said yes to every single meeting request. I’m sitting as many meetings as possible, answering the phone, getting, because I know when I meet the next right entrepreneur, I now have millions to invest in them. I have time to invest in them. And I’ve been mentored by Alan Sugar for eight years, Grant Cardone for two. I have knowledge that I owe to give to somebody else and I have money. So that gives me an obligation now to create the next Mark Wright.

Adam Stott:

 You’re fucking pillaged in a minute.

Mark Wright:

 Yeah.

Adam Stott: 

You know, which is awesome. And so brings that mentality, you know, to wanna help other people and to be on the lookout is incredible, really. To look for the next, we give Mark a massive, massive round of applause. Hey, look, have we got time to open up for a couple questions here?

Mark Wright: 

I’d love questions. Yeah.

Adam Stott: 

Yeah. Should we ask a few questions then? Who would like to ask us a question? So we go to Carla first. We’re gonna have to do the mic run. Where’s Gary? Where’s Gary our mic runner?

Mark Wright: 

There he is. He’s getting some exercise.

Adam Stott: 

Oh, that’s Andrew. Andrew.

Mark Wright: 

Come on.

Adam Stott: 

That’s all right. Yeah. Go, Carla. We’ll hear you first. Yeah.

Carla: 

Hello. Thank you so much for coming and taking the time today. It’s really, really inspirational and it’s sort of given us all the hope, I think, to see where your story, where you’re from to where you are now and what’s achievable. So with my business, so basically, my name’s Carla. I’m a dental anesthetics practitioner and I’m starting to train as well, so I’ve got an academy as well. And my culture at the moment with my clients, it’s very, we’re all best friends. I could hold a massive party in here with every single client and everyone, they’re good people and they all get along. The only thing is at the moment because I am the bottleneck in the company, I’m the only one in it at the moment. They text me all the time. They ring me all the time and I love hearing from them. But I’m struggling with time. How did you maintain that? To have that best friend which I want with them, but also run a business and do everything?

Mark Wright: 

Yeah. Well, lovely to meet you, Carla. And I think, you need to learn to be a bit rude. I’m afraid to say. And this is very, it feels a bit funny. When I work with most entrepreneurs, the number one problem when I work in going to anyone’s business and their growth has stopped, most companies start if you survive the first two years which is a big if cause that first two years is bloody tough. Then you survive that, you have what’s called exponential growth. And then what happens is it starts to plateau that growth. And generally what plateaus that growth is the owner of that business. They become the bottleneck. They’re doing too much in their company, and it stops the growth. And most entrepreneurs are the biggest problem in their own company. I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs I go and work with and they’re still sending invoices out of zero. And I’m like, oh my God, what are you doing? Well, you know, the bookkeeper charges 300 pound a month if I don’t do it. And I was like, are you a bookkeeper? Why are you sending zero invoices outta this? And then I’m just gonna empty the trash and do, and you’re like, when do you actually do the work that makes you the money? And they’re like, you know, sometimes you need to think that you need to focus on what makes the margin. You’re in a high-margin, super lucrative industry, so that’s really important so you can get scaled. Then what I created around me was like a founder’s team, people around me who I created barriers that if you needed a meeting with me, of course, you have to go through my PA. Or if you’re before you can afford a PA, a VA, a virtual assistant, or someone your number two. That number two is generally gonna be operations or sales. You create them as a number two, and you make sure that people have to go through your number two to get to the number one. And you have to be synonymous or renowned for being very hard to get ahold of. If people can get you on WhatsApp, that’s a bad thing. That’s a really bad thing. One, for your productivity. Two, for your mental health because you can only keep that up for so long before you burn out. And I didn’t think burn out was a real thing until I fucking burnt out. It is real. It is so, so real. There’s somewhere in the middle between, there’s these people on Instagram who pretend they’re millionaires and billionaires who have got no money. They say you need to work 120 hours a week which is bullshit. That’s not true. And then you have other people who work at these big corporate companies who say you need to work three days a week. It’s bullshit. It’s probably somewhere in here in the middle which is realistic. But that is doing high-value tasks. You need to enjoy what you’re doing. You need to do the jobs that make you money. And you can’t speak to the customers too frequently or the employees because what does that take your time? If you are speaking to the customers, there’s only a number of customers you can speak to in a day. That limits scale. So you create teams that speak to them. And your job as the big boss is to pop up at the parties where you can talk to people in mass. So I will come and speak to you all here today cause there’s a hundred people in a room. If you said to me, I want a one-to-one mentoring session, never gonna happen. Unless I’ve got shares in your company, don’t waste your time even asking me because you cannot return me what I need to make in one-to-one session a hundred people can. So you need to start having that mentality of other people’s job is to keep the customers happy and you speak in bulk at your company events, your Christmas party, you get round, you speak to the staff. And when you are with people, you’re a hundred percent with them. When you see your key customer, you’re not sort of on your phone checking a booking. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s good. Yeah, you look good. Really focus and be with people when you’re with them. When you’re with your staff, really listen to them. When you’re with your customer, really listen to them, but then have a booking system. Never give your phone number out. Ever! Never give your personal mobile number out. If I was you, I’d be off to EE after this to get a new mobile. And that would be the end of that other one’s in the bin because you are gonna have no balance or scale. Hope that helps.

Carla: 

Yeah, that does. Thank you so much. Yeah.

Adam Stott: 

Couple more questions. Who else got a question? Okay, I think over there at the back, Billy? Yeah. He’s got your hand up. Yeah. Who’s got the mic? Come on Gary. We got a run, run, run, run. Come on, boy.

Mark Wright: 

The number one question I get asked is on The Apprentice when the phone rings if we really only have 20 minutes to get ready. That’s true. The phone rings at 4:00 AM and we only have 20 minutes to get ready. So the girls do their makeup at midnight and lay in the bed with their makeup on it. It’s a bit easier if you’re a bloke, you just stink a bit.

Billy: 

Hello, Mark. Nice to meet you. I’m Billy. Question [00:40:00] regarding the sell your business. Obviously, I’ve got a business and I’m nowhere near not selling yet, but I know the strategy at the end is to sell.

Mark Wright: 

Good, man.

Billy:
Most people grow businesses they never think of selling because it’s there. In my case, it’s my baby.

Mark Wright: 

Yep.

Billy: 

When do you know the right time to say, I’ll mix it in. I’m gonna start another move?

Mark Wright: Yeah. I mean, gosh. Planning for a sale is the best thing you can do because you don’t wanna become a motivated seller. i.e. financial needs, death in the family, these sorts of things because motivated sellers normally pull their own pants down.

Adam Stott: Get demotivated.

Mark Wright: Yeah. They are easy to manipulate to get a good deal. And it’s good for a buyer, but not good if it’s you. So, planning for a sale is always key and have that goal in mind. You will know when it’s the right time. You’ll get a feeling. And by the way, if you’ve started a business from your bedroom, from scratch, like we probably all have in this room. It is everyone’s baby, and it hurts to sell it. It’s sad to sell it. It’s depressing to sell it, and there’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster you go on after you sell it. But I can tell you if you’ve done it once, you can do it again. And it’s better to exit and go out on top and try other things than just die on the vine in your current company. Because we’re all human beings with human natures. We like excitement, we like adventure, we like to try new things. These people who tell me they’ve worked in the same company 40 years, I feel sorry for them. That must be so freaking boring. That must be so unemotional and de-motivating to turn up and do the same things every single day. And good on them if they’re happy, but I don’t think they are happy. I think enjoyment and learning things and trying new things is the spice of life. And if you’re an entrepreneur who’s understood how to start a business from scratch, which is the hardest thing in business. Starting a company, I’m gonna say this, I’ll never start a business from scratch ever again. I’ve done it, I’ve done it a few times. I’d never do it again. It’s too hard. It’s the mug’s game to success and money. I would only buy businesses in the future or take shares in existing businesses. Most companies fail 95% failing within five years. Why would I get involved where I have a 95% chance of failure? I’ve done it. I’ve proved to myself and others I can do it. Now I wanna stay away from that statistical mess. I only want to invest or buy in companies that have a long-standing track record of going forward. So what I would say to you is you’ll know when it’s the right time cause you’ll feel it or you’ll get an exceptional offer that will make it the right time. Not like me. You will then get an emotional depression afterwards, like I’m going through right now, where you look at lots of zeros in your bank account. It gives you no, I mean, this is probably really funny to hear it, and I’ve heard it said before, but I’m going through it right now means nothing. It really means nothing. Getting enjoyment out, what you do is priority number one. Then, it’s just thinking about what gives you passion and purpose to go forward, and then investing or buying in something that’s existed for a long time that has a successful EBITDAR PnL, that you can add value to with the skill sets you’ve learned called buy and build. Buy and build is the best strategy to growing super wealth and being successful statistically.

Billy: 

Brilliant. Yeah. Thank you very much for your time. Appreciate it.

Mark Wright: 

No worries.

Adam Stott: 

Good question there, Billy. Okay. Yeah. You got one at the back. Are you gonna ask one, Ross? Okay. Ross is our head coach.

Mark Wright: 

Okay, I’ll go easy.

Ross: 

Alright, Mark. Okay, Mark, so there’s a lot of people that are starting their business in this room and they’re in their first year or second year. What word of advice would you give to those people who are just in the beginning stages of their journey?

Mark Wright: 

Sure. So I always know a real business person when I meet them because I can see the pain in their eyes. It’s like when you meet a new parent who’s not sleeping and you can see the bags that’s like a new business owner. That pain of doing a startup, there is no pain like it. I’ve done some crazy shit in my life, but starting businesses is by far the hardest and the most you know, crazy thing you can do. You do this, you start your business, you realize, okay, we’ve got an order. Yes, we’ve got an order. Let’s send them a contract. Shit, we don’t have contracts. We need to make a contract. Oh, they’ve asked for terms and conditions. Shit. We need to make terms and conditions. Oh, they’ve sued us. Fuck. Like, everything’s just like a nightmare. Like every day is like a nightmare after a nightmare after a nightmare for two years. And you put on weight, you drink too much, all of that stuff. So, I’ve made it sound really bad. But here’s the truth, it’s…

Adam Stott:

We won’t get you to come and sell that.

Mark Wright: 

Yeah, no. I won’t be selling startup packages. No. Listen, there’s nothing better than crafting your skills of a startup. There isn’t. But it is hard. There is no, if anyone tells you it isn’t that they’re just lying or they ain’t done it. So it’s creating people around you and support systems that make it easier. What do I mean by that? Trying to go it alone is very tough, and that was probably one of the main mistakes I made starting out because I didn’t have any money. I did everything on my own. If you can afford it, put great people around you. Put a board. Most startup companies don’t have a board. Number one mistake. Every company, even if you’re a sole trader or a one-man army, you need a board of directors. Now that can be yourself and having your coach sit on your board as an advisor, your an industry expert, someone, a support system, hold yourself to account with monthly board meetings and understand the numbers of your business. I think the key reason that statistic of 95% of businesses failing in the first five years is they don’t know the numbers of their company. People file one set of accounts every year, and that’s the set that goes off to company’s house that is frigging crazy. That is craziness. When I started working with Alan Sugar, he told me that the key to running a successful business is knowing the numbers. If you know what the daily cash is, if you’re small, the weekly cash, and you know what the monthly PnL is, your business can’t fail. I’ll say that again. If you know the numbers in the PnL of your business on a monthly basis, your business can’t fail. Why? Because if you make a mistake in your company a product’s losing money, you made a bad investment choice. After four weeks, 30 days, your PnLl will tell you about that mistake, and you can reverse it or change it. If you are filing your accounts on a yearly basis after 12 months, it’s too late. You’re fucked. You’re dead in the water. 12 months is too long. Six months is too long. A quarter if you’re a small business, might be okay, but I’d say monthly is better. If you know the numbers and you have a board or a team, like the guys here and coming, what tells me you’re gonna make it is you’re here. If I’m completely frank with you, we get a bad reputation us folks that come to these events, speak at these events, attend to these events. Do you know why? It’s because everyone else is jealous and they see a reflection of themselves, of what they should be doing or where they should be. I started coming to these events as a punter in the audience and it fucking changed my life. I went to an event like this.

Adam Stott: 

And me. And me.

Mark Wright: 

I started and my goal, I was sat at the back and I went and I was literally like, exhilarated. My heart was racing because I was around people who were like-minded and had the same goals as me. I was hearing information I was interested in, not like at school. And my goal was I don’t want to be at the table. Next year, I wanna be on the stage. And that should be all of your goals by the way to come here, whatever Adam’s next thing is, do that, do that, do that. Get up here with Adam. If you make that your goal, what a great goal that is. And the people in here will help you as well. But the fact you’re here tells me you’re gonna be successful. But if you have the right people around you, you have a board and you know your numbers, I think for any startup that will pretty much get you there if you’re in the right industry.

Adam Stott: 

Great answer. Give him round applause. Well done. Okay, we’ve got time for one more. You wanna ask one? Yeah, if you want to, Paul. Yeah.

Paul: 

Hiya mate! Good to see you.

Mark Wright: 

Good to see you, mate.

Paul: 

I thought you were gonna share the message that Grant had on his jet, on the mat on the floor. Do you remember it?

Mark Wright: 

Ah, you can fake a Lambo, but you can’t fake it yet. That was pretty good.

Paul: 

So amazing message that Grant put there. But listen, just for the people in the audience here, and how successful you’ve been since you’ve been winning The Apprentice, how important is networking been to you as a business?

Mark Wright:

It’s been essential. It’s been essential and not the networking that most people think is networking which is going to these shoddy breakfasts that people do at seven o’clock in the morning where everyone’s just pitching their own bullshit. That’s a waste of time and the only people who are making money is the people you’re paying for your membership. This is proper networking where you come for people who pay money. Why is it important to pay money? Trust me, we don’t make money from this sort of stuff. We make more money from businesses. We come and speak because I get a lot out of this, out of helping you guys. I get more than any money I could ever produce. But when you pay money to come to an event like this, it tells Adam and I, you are serious. You are serious. Anyone can come and sit in a room for 50 quid or for free. When you put a few grand on the line, you commit yourself to listen and to implement what’s said. And that’s really, really bloody important because if this was a tenor to be here, you’d sort of be on Facebook and you’d be thinking, how many orders have we got today? Oh, yeah, he’s got some bullet points up there. Whatever. And who’s this Australian guy? You’re not really there. it’s super important. And the only people that I’d normally will invest in is someone who’s paid to come and see me speak. Because I know they’ve got the right mentality to pay for growth and to put themselves in that right environment. And when I talk about networking, I network with purpose. When I go to an event, I look at who’s gonna be at the event, and I target people who has got my money, right? I’m gonna go after someone that I know can better where I am. Who’s the rich person in the room? Who’s got some shit that I don’t understand? I wanna go and I’m not gonna just waft around and talk about any old bullshit with the poor people in the room. I’m after the key folks. So I’m like an assassin there to go and get the right people. And that’s how I’ve ended up working with Alan for so long. Or you know, if you look at my Rolodex of contacts and the people that I’ve been speaking to this week, at one point this week, by Wednesday, the people, no one who’d call my mobile phone wasn’t a billionaire by Wednesday. And I thought that’s pretty cool. Because successful people hang out with successful people and then you start knowing more successful people. So network, yes. Networking is important but network with purpose and in the right environments definitely.

Adam Stott: 

Network. Definitely the grand applause. Well done.

Mark Wright: 

Thank you very much.

Adam Stott: 

Mark’s been actually amazing. 

1 Comment

  1. Daron Harvey on January 4, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    One of my faves so far.

    I saw Mark’s talk at the Business Show, yet despite it being packed and I could only watch from the crowded sidelines, he held everyone’s attention throughout.

    He has an amazing story of going from nothing, but Mark’s determination to make the best of each opportunity, and to surround himself with high flyers and learn from them shows how successful that approach can be if you take the right actions.

    Entertaining too… Adam had a few good laughs with it!

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