What do you do when you interviewÂ 2014â€™s Apprentice winnerÂ Mark Wright, who has built a profitable SEO company with Lord Sugar? Ask him to write your headline of course. After all, heâ€™s supposed to be expert at getting websites up the search engine ranks or â€“Â as he puts it â€“Â â€œmaking people see thingsâ€.
If youâ€™re reading this, itâ€™s been a success. Mark wonâ€™t have to try and sell a plastic bucket to London Zoo Ã Â la the days of Apprentice tasks and my editor wonâ€™t give me a Christmas cracker with a P45 inside. Iâ€™ve been warned. Several times. The season does not matter.
For those who enjoy all things SEO (and for those who don’t, SEO stands for search engine optimization), Mark also advised I dropped in something about penguins, pigeons and pandas. No, he isnâ€™t envisaging another day at the zoo; he’s talking about Google algorithm updates, which determine rankings of SEO. And well, we want to be ranked high up so panda, panda, panda, penguin, pigeon, penguin, panda, pigeon. This SEO lark is quite easy if you get it right â€“which Mark doesn’t always.
When I spoke to him in January, he told me his Climb Online business was at the top of Google. His digital rivals were quick to point out it wasnâ€™t his website (it is now). But the Aussie-born businessman enjoys the challenges this area of business throws at him.
â€œSome people are very envious of the position Iâ€™ve got within the industry and they love to really challenge us. I think itâ€™s healthy for us as it keeps me on my toes and keeps my company on its toes. Weâ€™ve had people really after us. Itâ€™s probably made the company better.â€
His time on the show â€“Â along with the help of Lord Sugar â€“Â has meant his company has grown quickly. But the attention has offered up its own speed bumps.
â€œThe Apprentice has the disadvantage that it gives you all of your business before youâ€™re ready for it,â€ Mark says, explaining that his month two profit was what he was expecting from month eight. â€œYou open your doors on day one and you are frighteningly busy, yet you havenâ€™t even put the chairs and desks together.â€
The boss of the boardroom has been far more involved than expected, and Mark says Lord Sugarâ€™s greatest skill is his â€œknack for making the hard things simpleâ€.
“Weâ€™re both perfectionists and we both want to succeed. We both want the best for our businesses.”
But his time with Lord Sugar hasnâ€™t given Mark the inside track on the upcoming Apprentice series (unfortunately).
â€œI want to know more than anyone whoâ€™s going to take up Nickâ€™s spot,â€ Mark teases as I try and get the inside scoop on who might be stepping into the shoes of long-standing aide Nick Hewer.
â€œIâ€™ve even tried hinting around; â€˜Come on Lord Sugar, itâ€™s your good friend Mark.â€™ But nothing. Heâ€™s good with a secret.â€ Â
Mark doesnâ€™t think Lord Sugar actually knows yet, and has just suggested some potential names. Mark is pretty sure the production team takes the final decision, difficult as that is to imagineÂ â€“Â â€œI wouldnâ€™t want to be in that meeting!â€Â
Nor is Mark practising his withering looks in the hope of a promotion. â€œIâ€™m making profit for Lord Sugar; heâ€™s not going to turn the tap off and let me have six months off replacing Nick. Itâ€™s not me, sorry.â€
Maybe it will be a panda, or a penguin, or a pigeon..?
For more from Mark check out his website:Â www.climb-online.co.uk