How I won over Lord Sugar on The Apprentice – and how you could too!

With the 11th series of the entrepreneurial reality show underway, 2014 winner Mark Wright shares the lessons that have helped him in business

People often ask me how I did it; how did I win over tough man Lord Sugar and take the crown of The Apprentice 2014 winner?

For me, there are a few simple things I have learned in life and in business that have not only worked for me with Lord Alan Sugar, but could work for anyone with their bosses, investors or employees.

Never lie

I made it a rule for myself before I went on The Apprentice that I would never lieThis has taken me far in life and served me well with Lord Sugar.

When you tell a lie, nine times out of 10 it comes back to bite you on the backside – and let’s face it, when you have six cameras watching your every move, it’s not a good strategy.

Be yourself

Watching previous episodes, a key mistake candidates make is either to try to act like previous contestants who were funny and became famous or won, or to act like the person they think the public wants them to be.

The trick here is so simple! Be yourselfand if that isn’t good enough, who really cares! The truth is, when you are yourself people generally see the best of you.

Get to the point

Don’t waffle. Be straight to the point – senior and successful business people hate fluff. When I meet with Lord Sugar to discuss the progress of my business, I speak in concise, measured sentences that deliver the facts immediately. I did this on the show in the boardroom, and have stuck to it ever since becoming business partners with him.

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Mark Wright Climb Online

Achieve work/life balance

When I was on the show, I didn’t take it too seriously. In business you should be able to have a joke around and enjoy work. Know when it’s time to be serious and when its time to have fun. This is how I won The Apprentice and showed Lord Sugar who I am, and it’s the way I run my business today.

Don’t assume that it will be easy

The last tip that ties all of the above together is hard workThis is the key ingredient to winning in any aspect of business; start-up or otherwise. The best staff I employ, and the most successful business people I know, are the hardest workers. This is not a coincidence.

Pick a task, and work hard at it until it’s done, and done well.

Applying these practices to my working life, I’ve been able to drive forward my digital marketing agency Climb Online – a specialist in PPC and SEO. Just nine months after launch, we now have over 25 employees servicing over 150 clients across a wide range of sectors.

And there’s no reason you can’t do the same. I’ve been working with Groupon Works to see how we can help and support entrepreneurs. We’ve noticed that more people want to be their own boss, with the younger generations driving this trend – more than one in 10 16-24 year olds say setting up their own business is their ultimate goal.

With so much competition, it’s more important than ever that you focus and give it your best shot.


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