Apprentice winner Dr Leah Totton talks entrepreneurship

leahDr Leah Totton, founder of Dr Leah Clinics, hasn't rested on her laurels since winning the Apprentice.

Determined to launch a range of cosmetic surgery clinics that would set the standard for providing safe and affordable treatment on the high street, she's now well underway with making this a reality.

When asked, Leah says she knew she was an entrepreneur when she realised she had a vision, she believed she could create it and then actually made it happen.

But even with Sir Alan Sugar as a business partner and mentor, as well as the investment and publicity from winning the programme, Leah has faced the same issues as other business start ups.

Brokering supplier deals, sourcing premises, choosing the right branding and managing staff have all created the same headaches for her as they do for other owner-managers.

Despite having had to navigate all this, Leah says it's a great time to be a woman in business.

"As of 3 March 2014, in the FTSE100 women now account for 20.7% of overall board directorships, up from 17.3% in April 2013. While 9/10 start ups fail, male entrepreneurs face the same issues as female ones so there is little disparity there.

"My view is if you have a dream and can make it happen, go for it."

TV advertising myths - busted!

When working with clients on their marketing strategy and devising the most cost effective routes to market, broadcast seems to be much less popular solution than in the past – almost discounted in terms of PR (significantly different approach and amount of effort to print media required) and dismissed for its apparently ludicrously high advertising costs. This is a real shame as it means missing a rather significant trick and in fact, when you look into it, TV advertising is not anywhere near as expensive as you might expect.

Of course, as with anything it pays to draft the right expert in to advise on what is required. I spoke to Carl Phillipson, partner at The Media Network, a specialist media planner and buyer who has worked in the industry for the last 14 years, including at a Top 30 London agency, to understand the most commonplace misunderstandings about TV advertising.  Here are the big top five myths – busted!

TV advertising is in decline - WRONG

Total TV revenues for 2010 are expected to be up 12% year on year, valuing the UK TV market at  £3.3 billion (this excludes expenditure on On-line video on demand and TV video on demand). With over 400 TV Channels there are numerous opportunities to reach your target market effectively.

People are watching less TV - WRONG

On average viewers are watching one hour more of TV than they were 10 years ago.  This equates to 28 hours 15 minutes per week. (This also excludes all out of home, online or mobile viewing).  This has resulted in the average viewer watching an average of 45 TV adverts per day compared to 43 across the same period in 2009. Look at X Factor figures for the 2010 programmes so far – average Saturday night peak time audiences are up 4% on 2009, averaging at an impressive 12 million viewers, which is evidence that TV still has the ability to deliver mass audiences. (Source: BARB Jan-June 2010).   TV advertising is expensive - WRONG

In real terms TV advertising costs are back to 1980s levels and the creative costs have fallen drastically, meaning you can now produce a 30 second TV advert from as low as £3k. So a test campaign including creative and media costs can be implemented for as little as £15k.

Young people don’t watch TV anymore – WRONG

Young people are definitely still watching TV. Research by Thinkbox, the marketing body for TV, proves that TV accounts for 43% of the media day of a 16-24 year old compared to 36% for the internet and 19% for the radio. Commercial impacts for 01 Jan 2010 to 08th September 2010 for 16-24 year olds are up by 10% (source BARB).

TV Advertising in not as effective as other mediums - WRONG

TV advertising works and indeed increases profitability. Extensive research by PricewaterhouseCoopers concluded that TV paid back an average 4.55 times in increased sales – 30% more than press. In these uncertain times, brands are looking to TV advertising as a safe haven for their marketing budget because it is a tried and tested medium which can still cost effectively deliver mass coverage.  At the same time, challenger brands are utilizing this unsettled time to gain market share from the established brands in their sector.

So, some surprising facts but all useful in their own way – and good to be aware of when setting a marketing budget and considering reach.  As you’d expect, Carl and The Media Network team are always willing to meet for a chat about TV advertising and discuss how their specialist knowledge can be tested.  They are also happy to supply case studies of past and present work that clearly demonstrates the return on investment – something any good marketing professional should do.

For more information, contact Carl Phillipson at The Media Network on 0191 406 6585 or visit