Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Selling at Business 2012 Plumb right with a spoonful of Sugar

Selling at  Business 2012 Plumb right with a spoonful of


Apparently former President George W Bush never said that the’ trouble with  the French was that they didn’t have a word for’ entrepreneur.’

It does however look like the USA is climbing out of the recession somewhat quicker than the UK. Their entrepreneurs are pulling away.

As for France ,the concept derived from Richard Cantillon (1680s – May 1734) was an Irish-French economist and author of Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général (Essay on the Nature of Trade in General “ One of his notable ideas was the entrepreneur as risk bearer.

In the UK our coalition Government is putting great store in Private business and the UK’s entrepreneurs to drive the engine of growth to pull our country out of this recession.

The  outside approach to the O2 from North Greenwich Tube Station on the Jubilee Line
Many might aspire to be a pop star, a soccer star or a business star, they see the end rewards and riches but  not necessarily  acknowledge the route of hard work energy and courage that must be taken to achieve such rewards.

There is more to the entrepreneur than Selling of course, but nonetheless Selling still has a very key part to play.

So I decided to catch the last afternoon of the  new three day business ‘fest’  Business 2012. Go with an open mind to any of these events and you pick up some ideas and the atmosphere and people do invigorate you as the show brochure said ‘…free your mind to soak up the inspiration”

The accompanying publicity and show brochures were filled with phrase  like ‘ you future potential’ ‘inspiration’, ‘aspiration’ ‘innovation’ ‘visionary’  ‘achievement’  ‘ passion’ ‘know-how’ and of course SUCCESS.
The conference for Entrepreneurs

There was a great line up Keynote and Celebrity speakers –although disappointingly few business women despite many female visitors to the show. Cherie Blair (the former PM’s wife) was unwell to speak on Monday apparently and was replaced by former BBC Dragon James Caan.  Unfortunately Nikki Hesford ( had a poor experience at the Show the previous day) decided to leave the show early whiich was a pity as I would have liked to hear her.

The Show was free which means that most of the workshops and seminar in the various prefab rooms were taster session sells for course, products etc. but hell there is no such thing as a free lunch. The organisation was a bit loose and the distances between Halls and Exhibtion  long and not very well signposted.

The headliner speakers were working in the more permanent halls or the theatre space of the Inigo Room .

Two sessions I attended were Ralph Plumb on ‘Passive Income’ and Lord Alan Sugar in interview and taking questions.   In Plumb’s pacey presentation his session was a taster for his three day event

His systematic approach focuses on generating organic (FREE) traffic

The rather bleak approach after quite a long walk to the exhibition area
on the perimeter of the vast O2 centre
Some basic points of Internet marketing were shared for ‘free’ and  driven home repeatedly.

Plumb’s system centres on two key fundamentals

1.    Traffic

2.    Building a list

Of course both require a lot of work but  you don’t need to be an expert. He suggested like Richard  Branson you don’t need to be an expert of aeroplanes, or cola to work such businesses so long as you have the entrepreneurial drive.

The Internet is growing Amazon grew 400% over the last 5 years.

Plumb’s session used a lot of simple hands up questions.  Such as “Who used Google last week?” “ awesome”. Indeed Plumb uses the word awesome a lot which got on the audience nerves after a while but the point is the Internet ( ‘innerne(t) as Ralph calls it) is underlying  AWESOME ( ‘arsum’).
The O2 may well be 12 years old but there is still a massive amount of building work around the site
One of the many cranes around the site. The slogan "The Sky is the Limit" on this Liebherr Crane seemed so apt for Business 2012

He supposed 95 % of us will have used Google at least once a week.

Although paid adverts on Google and face book have their place the first Google page top 10 is where we would all like to be.

Ralph pointed out that the top ten list is unpaid ‘organic’  traffic. What certainly shocked me were a set of numbers Ralph shared on the share of  total traffic paid adverts represent. Apparently the top three paid adverts on represent 2-3 %

The first position of unpaid is 40-45 times more than the first paid advert. The list descends through 11-18% - 7-15% of traffic to the last position No 10 which is still 3-4 times the amount of the first paid adverts.

He also warned that Facebook and Google can cut you off on the paid adverts.

He then emphasised the importance of key words and phrases.
In Plumb’s system he points out the importance of affiliate marketing where by you promote affiliates’ offers.  This renders quick income, no product required from you, no service required from you.  In essence you are leveraging other people’s time, expertise, experience, tools and traffic.
List building Plumb suggests is your sustainable business wealth.
His three day programme will be running at the Plaza Riverbank 30th March -1stApril
Ralph Plumb of Mind Protein in full flow in the Inigo Theatre

Ralph Plumbs session was followed by and chat style question and answer session between  Harry Singer and Lord Alan Sugar.

Despite some pre-framing  byasking for quality business questions and not Apprentice-gush the session was a little spoilt by the haphazard  roving microphone etc. You realise  that when BBC does its Question Time how professional such a style of interview needs to be.

I found some of the questions rather embarrassing and their tone quite often impertinent. No doubt water of a duck’s back to Lord Sugar whose does see through schmooze particularly  well.

However we did get some really good questions amongst the rubbish and some clear insight form Alan Sugar in his caustically honest way.

For all the banter style and ‘Apprentice’ you’re fired caricature- we did get some gems from him.

Lord Sugar in discussion with Harry Singer in the Inigo theatre
His first deal back 1966 was his ‘best’ ( favourite) deal. Buying with his own £100 a van , some stock of car aerials and selling them and making a modest profit. He reckoned or rather wanted to be remembered for his first B B Sky B box top deal with Rupert Murdoch . He also felt making the first affordable PC at £399 when the benchmark corporate PC at that time was £2,000. For all his down to earth  gritty gravitas there were lovely touches of humour. Sir Christopher Wren was remembered for St Paul’s Cathedral

“ I will probably be remembered for all the satellite dishes on the roofs of London!”

What advice he gave to young entrepreneurs is start small with your own money. Work in an area you really know about and those have a passion for.

Carry out weekly reviews of what you are doing.  If you set yourself a target e.g. to clear £500 per week how are you doing?

For those of us in Selling there was a purple patch response to a questions asking what he looked for as a Buyer. He stated his business life had centred on  “making stuff,  designing stuff and selling stuff.” He had not been agency or consultancy. The he fired off the following like a machine gun

1.    Price  ( Price is not everything)

2.    Delivery

3.    What experience –track record

4.    How will you deliver

5.    How will carry out the service / support

6.    What will make the customer want to deal with YOU

Lord Sugar advice to all was to keep to the basic principles. For all his  tough and caustic exterior though came out his very strong feelings about human character.

He felt it necessary to outline to the audience of (in the main) young entrepreneurs the quality of entrepreneurs should have and he stressed they earn these qualities not just have them. Some of which included:-



Tell it as it is

Keep Promises

Be honourable

Self Discipline

·         "Essentially the world is not waiting for you"

·         "Business is a risk"

·         "Something always comes along" keep a positive outlook

Following Lord Sugar

·         Lord Sugar’s next serious business venture to follow is YouView  the interconnected television platform ( formerly Project Canvas)

·          if it’s  “show business”  plus some business exercises you are after - The new series No 8  of  BBC1's  TV The Apprentice is being aired  tonight

·         If it’s gossip and banter  - Lord Sugar’s twitter blog which he told the audience in the Inigo yesterday had more followers than the Daily Mail. @Lord_Sugar   has  1,699,298 followers  was an exaggeration. The  Daily  Mail circulation  30 Jan 12 - 26 Feb 12: 1,945,496 (Source: ABC) with a readership of 4,371,000 (Source: NRS)  but I rather suspect that his numbers may well overtake the mail in time to come. No doubt the new series of "The Apprentice" could help.Last years show had 8-9 million viewers.

A contemporary of Richard Cantillon was Pierre Corneille (1606-1684) playright o Le Cid  ( El Cid) (1606 -1684 ) who maybe can inspire all entrepreneurs possibly Lord Sugar but especially tonight's contestants.  

          “To win without risk is to triumph without glory” 

Good Luck and Bon Courage.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Hugh, interesting blog post, did you see us there too? With our Mini Countryman and BMW 3 Series? Hope you loved our stand and got something from us :-)