CLIMBCON debates business challenges

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On Friday 28th June 2019, over 500 entrepreneurs and business leaders attended CLIMBCON, the first UK business conference to be hosted by BBC Apprentice Winner, Mark Wright. SMEWEB reflects on the key take-aways from the event for aspiring entrepreneurs and leading business owners and investors alike

Created to help both aspiring and existing entrepreneurs gain practical insights into how to grow, build and develop a business, CLIMBCON welcomed a host of inspirational speakers to the stage including CEO’s from some of the UK’s most successful businesses, together with Lord Sugar, Piers Morgan and Wright himself


To build a successful business – you need a successful culture

The importance of creating a positive team culture was high on the agenda for several speakers.

Where Robin Deller, CEO of Imagine Cruising, discussed the importance of ensuring employees have ‘skin in the game’ through schemes like profit-share to generate true passion for any business, Lyndsay Morgan, Operations Director for Climb Online, discussed the true meaning of ‘culture’, reminding business owners to re-engage with their ‘Why’ and communicate this effectively with their team to ignite shared vision.

Touching on the true costs of bad recruitment decisions, Morgan also provided delegates with practical information for how to improve both staff morale and performance, demonstrating that skillset will do nothing for business growth without a strong company culture.

In his opening keynote on Business and Sales Success, Wright outlined the importance in building a brand – not a business – which includes the development of true brand ambassadors in your team. For Wright, without creating a real brand identity and clearly communicating what it stands for, a business will struggle to define any real culture.

Know your numbers

As a business owner, how often do you look at your P&L or check your business bank account?

During his initial keynote, Wright highlighted the importance of really knowing your numbers and looking at them daily in order to understand which part of the business you should pay most attention to. Here, he discussed the value in building positive habits, such as chasing in debtors or unpaid invoices daily instead of allowing them to lapse, resulting in crippling cash-flow issues.

Wright also outlined the importance in regularly analysing supplier costs, telling the story of a Pakistan based medical company which was able to negotiate a 45% reduction in its glass containers, immediately resulting in a vast increase to its bottom line.

Deliver value through content

Both Wright and fellow Apprentice Winner, Sian Gabbidon discussed the importance of delivering value to target audiences via social media, instead of using it as a tool for over-selling.

Where Wright stressed the importance of utilising social media channels to deliver value to target audiences through content that is either educational or emotive, using Nike’s Dream Crazy campaign as an successful example of the latter, Gabbidon touched on the value of social media as tool for building brand awareness and driving resulting business growth.

Don’t underestimate mindset

Both Robin Deller and Mike Howard, the Chairman of Maris Interiors, reminded the room of the challenges that come hand in hand with entrepreneurship, deeming it a hard and often lonely game that requires true strength of mind to become successful.

This backed by Wright, who confirmed that unless aspiring business owners truly believe that they can become successful, they will struggle to achieve their desired level of business growth.

Respond effectively to change

In opening his session, Deller relayed his experience in having to completely transform his product offering after the market conditions for luxury travel crashed following the devastation of 9/11.

The key lesson? Businesses need to be adaptable to change, not only in developing new products and/or services that adhere to changes in consumer demand, but also in being adaptable to forever changing market conditions – ranging from advances in technology to economic decline.

Be diligent with time

All successful business owners, entrepreneurs and CEOs are strict with their time, understanding that long back-to-back meetings ruins productivity and effects business growth.

Where Wright advised he limits his meeting count to four per day to keep them as relevant and productive as possible, Howard reminded delegates of the core principle of generating profit when building a business, where diligence is key.

With the strapline ‘Bigger. Bolder. Better’ CLIMBCON certainly lived up to its expectations, where delegates, sponsors and speakers alike provided incredible feedback both on the day and across social media channels.

As a result, CLIMBCON 2 has already been announced for summer 2020.