Lord Sugar may be looking for a new business partner in the next series of The Apprentice, but the self-made entrepreneur apparently believes that property development is still where the big money is to be made.
Speaking about his first year in business with Lord Sugar, Mark Wright, the winner of last year’s Apprentice, said the Amstrad founder had given him tips on creating long-term wealth.
“Lord Sugar said you make money from property and do business for fun. Many of our customers make money from property and I’d love to go into property development one day,” said Mr Wright.
The Australian-born businessman’s win on the BBC One show last year secured him the £250,000 investment prize in his SEO [search engine optimisation] business, Climb Online. The company advises clients on how they can get their products or services to the top of search engine results pages.
How wealthy is Lord Sugar? A billionaire, thanks to clever property investments
Mr Wright has more than 150 customers and his business has a turnover of around £1m. He says the company went into profit in month two, and aims to be a £4m business next year.
He said: “People always ask what Alan Sugar’s like and he’s been absolutely brilliant. He is very involved. If you’d asked him a year ago he wouldn’t know what SEO was, but he’s one of those people that has to know how things work, and he’ll come up and ask staff what they’re up to.”
Mr Wright said Lord Sugar, who has a 50pc stake in Climb Online, spends a day with him once a month, and calls him once a week.
Climb Online employs 20 staff across two offices in the City, and Mr Wright said Lord Sugar had taught him how to negotiate “really cheap office space” by renting out unused desks in established businesses.
“The high rents are why people don’t have success in the first couple of years. The cost per square foot in London is unaffordable for small businesses. It would have cost us £160,000 a year to rent an office in central London,” he said, adding that he couldn’t set up offices in other parts of the UK because most of his customers are in London and the travel costs would be too expensive.
Lord Sugar set up Amstrad in the late 1960s and the electronics firm reached its peak in the 1980s.
Since then, the bulk of Lord Sugar’s fortune has been made from property.
He owns a portfolio of commercial buildings in central London and the City, and recently sold the redeveloped 40,000 sq ft Sugar building near St Paul’s for £80m, making a £50m profit.
Ref: The Telegraph
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