Startup Q&A: Mark Wright – Founder, Climb OnlineLast Updated: April 2, 2020
Winner of The Apprentice 2014, Mark Wright developed his digital marketing agency Climb Online alongside Lord Sugar. Talking to AGENT about his startup, Wright revealed he is closing in on his end-of-year-two target to double the £1.7m Climb Online achieved in its first 12 months.
Developed in partnership with Lord Sugar, Climb Online turned over £1.7m in its first year of trading, secured over 200 clients, including renowned UK brands Groupon, Company Check and Be Wiser Insurance.
Fired by an ambition to double turnover to £2.4m by the end of its second year in trading (in January 2020), Mark Wright is steadily pursuing his aim to make Climb One the go-to digital agency choice for the UK but also the world.
Mark recently cleared some time in his schedule to climb into the AGENT Startup Hotseat to answer questions about his career to date and provide some advice for early-stage startups.
1. Very simply, what does your company do?
Digital marketing: SEO, paid search, social media advertising and website design.
2. What was the ‘Eureka!’ moment?
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a professional footballer, but failed to get signed at the age of 18. After this I decided to train as a personal trainer at a small college. At that time I held the record for the quickest completion time and started to support the college in selling the course to other students. The owner of the college wanted to increase his sales online and that’s when I taught myself SEO and PPC. My real ‘Aha!’ moment came when the business grew rapidly from achieving 2,000 Aus Dollars per month in sales to 240,000 Aus Dollars. That’s when I thought I either need to have equity in this business or start my own marketing agency that supplies this service for others.
3. What were you doing before starting?
I was a digital marketing specialist for another firm. I always wanted to start my own business and had developed a sound business plan—I just required the funding to get it off the ground.
4. How are you funded?
Climb Online has been developed in partnership with Lord Sugar, through The Apprentice. Therefore, the company received an initial £250,000 investment as a result of me winning the show. I also contributed some of my own savings. There have been further investments within the business since this date, and during our first year of trading alone we turned over an impressive £1.7m. I hope to double this by the close of our second year in January 2020.
5. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs starting their own company?
My advice for anyone looking to start in business is always the same.
- Start now (not later) – people wait for the ‘perfect time’ to start, however the reality is there is no perfect time. Once you get going you will find your feet by learning.
- Know your industry – become an expert by reading constantly this also includes news, blogs and attending seminars within your field.
- Have a business plan – you must know where your business is heading,
- Find a mentor – a mentor is someone that has achieved the the goals that you have set, for yourself.