Secrets of Success: Nick Gold, MD & Founder, Speakers Corner
Providing impartial advice without any bias creates a genuine bond with customers.
Speakers Corner works with speakers from politics, sport, business, TV, comedy and more, crucially without managing anyone exclusively, so they have no motive except to find their client’s the right speaker to complement an event. Founder, Nick Gold speaks to Business Matters and shares insights and learnings from the day to day running of the company …
What type of businesses do you work with?
We work with all types of businesses, from massive multinational FTSE 100 companies to small startups to social enterprises. We also work with event agencies, exhibition and conference organisers, and award planners. Essentially, anyone who is interested in hiring a speaker.
What problem does your company solve?
In a world where everyone understands more and more, many people are still on a quest for knowledge and want to learn as much as they can. In this context, we provide thought leaders and motivational speakers who can entertain, educate and improve mindsets.
What is your USP?
We provide independent consultancy on who the best speaker is for your event, based on what you’re looking to achieve. We’re genuinely impartial — we don’t manage any of the artists, or have a vested interest in anything except making sure they’re the right speaker for your event.
What are your company values? Have you ever had them challenged and if so how have you dealt with it?
Our company values are impartiality, creativity, supportiveness and responsiveness. We’ve actually challenged ourselves about our values recently, and realised they had to be things we naturally lived and breathed, rather than a set of processes. When they’ve been challenged by external parties, we’ve embraced that — we always aspire to be better. Plus, our interactions with our customers make it easy for us to show them the values we aspire to.
How do you ensure that you recruit a team that reflects your company values?
We believe we can teach you the skills necessary to be great at your job — but the values are innate. So when we recruit, we’re looking for the right people to teach. We try to identify our values in everyone who crosses our path. Our interviews usually include 2 stages. During the first stage, we test the candidate’s knowledge. In the second stage, we go off in weird and wonderful ways to find out who they are, and which values they embody. I’m not interested in their CV at this point; I want to be around people who interest me and put a smile on my face.
Are you happy to offer a hybrid working model of home/office post-covid?
100%! We’ve found great success in offering flexible or hybrid working arrangements for our staff, so we want to continue this to make sure our staff are happy and comfortable in their working environment. It’s all about finding a balance that works for both the team and the business. I believe it should be a priority for businesses to make their staff want to come to work, so they need to create a culture that staff want to be part of, and miss when they’re not in the office.
Do you have any tips for managing suppliers and customers effectively?
Be transparent. Don’t try to play games. Whether you’re a supplier, customer, or an individual, everyone wants a pleasant experience — so be open and honest with everyone involved. If people trust you to work with them to troubleshoot and solve problems, any issues that crop up can be resolved between you all. You should never see any relationship as short-term.
Any finance or cash-flow tips for new businesses starting out?
Cashflow is everything for new businesses. The road to success is going to be rocky, but money in the bank buys you time to deliver your vision. If there’s one thing you need to be tough on when it comes to business, it’s your finances. Make sure you collect your money in line with your invoicing terms, and make sure you pay your suppliers on time.
If you could ask one thing of the government to change for businesses what would it be?
It should be legal to enforce that invoices are paid on time. For small businesses relying on the money from every invoice, this would be invaluable.
What is your attitude towards your competitors?
I believe that competition is really healthy. As an industry, I believe we should grow the market together, rather than competing over the existing business without exploring the potential of the marketplace. You can be friendly with your competitors — understanding them on one level, while competing on another. Life’s too short to be nasty.
Any thoughts on the future of your company and your dreams?
I’m very excited about Speakers Corner, and about the industry as a whole. I want to understand more about the world and how we can be inspired. As a business, we’re ideally positioned to put amazing people in front of everyone, creating inspirational, motivational experiences for all. The pandemic has opened up a new area for us, now that it’s common for events to be virtual or in-person, so I believe we have an exciting time ahead. It gives us the opportunity to offer different types of experiences, and we want to be at the centre of that.