Monday saw Sutton United FC host our Business Club networking event with key speaker Mark Wright, winner of the current series of The Apprentice. The event was well received with over 70 delegates in attendance from within the local business community, representing SMEs from the Business Club and guests.
The event was held in the Times Square lounge at the club, and, with the help of a great team the room underwent a transformation from a football club to a venue that would rival a luxury conference facility, special thanks go to ITSL for supplying and managing all the sound and visual equipment and Clownfish Events for the lighting, lectern and poseur tables. With their support the venue was unrecognisable.
The event started with the presentations from our business club members, with Wendy Laver of All Time Catering taking center stage, she talked to the audience about what she can offer to those who hire the clubhouse for their functions and also the options for off site catering.
She was followed by Ray Peck of Pins and Stripes he spoke about the importance of dressing smartly as default in a time where we have now all become more relaxed, Ray also showed a short video demonstrating the work he has done with London Wasps RFC kitting out their first team with off pitch uniform. Those of you who missed the video can find it on Ray’s site here.
Next to speak was Diana Sterck of the Merton Chamber of Commerce she detailed the services provided by the chamber with a key focus on the initiatives they offer and their apprenticeship schemes they are running.
Dr Robin Roberts from Alexander House Medicine was the next speaker, he spoke about staff workforce screening, focusing on heart problems which can appear from no where and the importance of getting checked.
The final presentation was from Margaret Martin of Margaret Martin Associates she spoke about the importance of staff retention and successful HR methods that can be adopted to help reduce recruitment costs in a time where the economy is recovering and employees are tempted away.
The presentations were followed by informal networking over a delicious lunch. The food was provided by Wendy Laver of All Time Catering which complemented the professional feel of the venue, particularly the BBQ glazed sausages and the wide variety of sandwiches were well received and for those with a sweet tooth the fudge brownies were a real hit, however the show stopper had to be the handmade, still warm rock cakes – simply delicious and thank you Wendy.
After the food came Mark Wright’s presentation, he went into detail about his journey from Australia to being The Apprentice winner and business partner to Lord Sugar. Mark originally came from a small outback town in Australia, somewhere with no career prospects or job opportunities. With a dream of becoming a professional football player he moved over to Brisbane where he successfully played football until an unfortunate hamstring injury finished his career as a pro-footballer. Mark stayed in Brisbane where he had a string of online based jobs, however he was drawn to London where he dreamed of a big bucks career. He came over to the UK working for an Australian tour company taking Australian holiday makers on tours, he was also responsible for taking a team of 260 Australian para-Olympians over to Oktoberfest in Germany. After walking 4K in the wrong direction and passing it off to the group as part of the tour he realised he was capable of far more. After printing off hundreds of copies of his CV he literally went door to door giving it to companies. This was how he secured his position with Search Local where he quickly climbed the ladder of success and rapidly attained the title of top salesperson for the UK. During his time at Search Local he met his ‘little kiwi mate’ who suggested they both apply to go on the TV programme The Apprentice.
The recruitment process for the show was intense, with the first round seeing half of the 70,000 applicants eliminated. The rounds were based in a 7 storey office block with each level resulting in eliminations and each floor containing a harder challenge, the first was a 30 second self pitch. The second level saw random items being allocated to pitch, of which Mark had a lamp with no bulb! Only 100 of the initial applicants made it to the second stage which was held a week later. This came in the form of a challenge whereby the applicants were split into groups and given 20 minutes to build an Ikea piece of furniture, as the teams were almost finished the producers came in and broke the item, the applicants were judged on their reactions, typically many of the men got angry while the women cried, those who demonstrated this reaction were unsuccessful and those who showed the tenacity to carry on and rebuild the piece, as Mark did, were successful.
As many have followed Marks journey through the show will know he is now successfully in business with Lord Sugar having launched the SEO company Climb Online. Mark finished his presentation by explaining the importance of a good SEO model and the services they can offer. He also gave an insight into Google mobilisation, whereby companies who’s websites do not conform to mobile devices will drop down Googles rankings.
Mark finished by doing 2 business card draws for signed copies of Lord Sugars books, they were won by Ray Peck of Pins and Stripes and Miles Crawford of Joke Klub Comedy Clubs.
Special thanks go out to Mike Sengelow, our MC for the event who provided a funny and lively commentary throughout the event and kept things flowing well.
Mark Wright giving us his thoughts on the day alongside Bruce Elliott (Chairman – Sutton United FC)[youtube id=”VL9ljwmTnrQ”] [youtube id=”_1h9bNnlQdw”]
Huge thanks and appreciation goes to Oli Loughran of Videolynks for producing this quality video; it was a pleasure to work alongside such a gentleman and true business professional.
Thank you to Sutton United FC for providing the venue to host a fantastic event