Hone your pitch to entrepreneurs

As a new set of wannabe young business moguls try to get on the right side of Alan Sugar in the latest series of The Apprentice, Alex Black discovers what the real entrepreneurs read and how PROs should approach them

TV shows such as The Apprentice and Dragons' Den have made high drama of the endeavours of budding entrepreneurs, but there are also a number of magazines serving this audience. The longest standing, Real Business, sits alongside latest contender The Sharp Edge, and other titles such as the quarterly New Business.

These publications offer PROs two things: the chance to gain coverage for high-end luxury goods and the opportunity to boost the profile of top business people. The March edition of The Sharp Edge, for example, has a three-page profile of Alistair Paton, owner of London club M1NT.

Miki Watson, joint MD at Golden Goose PR, says: 'Duncan Bannatyne [chairman of The Sharp Edge editorial committee, Dragons' Den judge and gym owner] is a well-known entrepreneur, so we approached the magazine and ended up holding its launch party at M1NT. Alistair is looking to expand the club into Asia, and exposure in this type of magazine will raise his profile and help him attract investors.

'It will also boost the profile of the brand. The clientele M1NT is trying to attract are very much corporate high-spenders.'

Business personalitiesThe Sharp Edge is planning a piece on James Averdieck, the founder of chocolate pudding maker Gü. The story of the man behind the rapid success of this decadent brand interested the editorial team, says Wild Card account manager Nina Plowman.
She also reveals that The Sharp Edge and Real Business are currently interested in Inkerman, the maker of luxury leather and jewellery goods started by two former Tiffany's staff. Real Business editor Adam Leyland occasionally has lunch with new entrepreneurs. Plowman secured an invite for Inkerman's Louise Eadie and Kiki Grigson, resulting in a feature on them.

Sometimes the product alone is enough to be of interest, although an element of entrepreneurship certainly helps. BGB Communications director Helen Coop recently got coverage for transatlantic executive airline MAXjet in Real Business. 'A readership of young business people with money is perfect for a product such as MAXjet,' she says.

Focus account manager Tara Nicholas recently got a two-page spread for designer watchmaker A Lange & Söhne in The Sharp Edge. 'We did some work with Sona magazine, one of Jack Spaniels' other titles,' she says. 'They mentioned it to The Sharp Edge, who then came to us.'

Although PROs with consumer clients might think of business magazines as too dry for luxury goods, they should remember that entrepreneurs are big spenders, and like to show it.

Real Business
Publisher Caspian Publishing
Circulation 42,000
Editor Adam Leyland
Press day Mid-month
Contact editors@realbusiness.co.uk; 020 7368 7188

What is on your editorial agenda?
We are the leading (and original) magazine for entrepreneurs and owner-managed businesses with a minimum turnover of £1m. The magazine is not for start-ups and wannabes – there is already a ton of support for start-ups but precious little information for established entrepreneurs who are now looking to go to hyper-drive. A business that is starting out doesn't have the same buying power as an established firm, so is of less interest to our advertisers.

Who are your main competitors?
Around ten magazines have launched since we started out in 1997, and about half of them are still going. The latest is The Sharp Edge, backed by Dragon's Den judge Duncan Bannatyne. It's very
informative about his house in the south of France, but falls flat in terms of real, practical advice.

So what makes you different?
Real Business, like its readers, has attitude, using an aggressive, punchy, bullshit-free language. It's packed with tips and is supported by networking events and awards. Above all, it is fiercely supportive of entrepreneurs. We reserve our journalistic cynicism for the people who get in the way of entrepreneurs – politicians and their wretched red tape and punitive taxes.

What do you want to hear about from PROs?
Inspirational fast-growth entrepreneurs and useful tips. In our next issue there's a story about a 24-year-old who's launched an energy drink start-up and has already generated sales orders of £123m. There's also an exclusive survey on customer loyalty, an idiot's guide to VoIP, a piece on turnarounds, and a feature on what it's like to work with business angels.

The Sharp Edge
Publisher Jack Spaniels Publishing
Circulation 50,000
Managing director Liz Bolshaw
Press day First week of the month
Contact liz@thesharpedge.biz; 020 7250 4262

You are switching from bi-monthly to monthly from May. What do you cover?
We celebrate entrepreneurial activity by featuring aspiring and exciting business people. Our editorial is a mix of lifestyle and business topics, but we like to highlight the unusual as well. Our current issue has a profile of black farmer Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, a feature on Bollywood and a diary of a start-up.

Who reads The Sharp Edge?
Our readers are 30 to 45-year-olds, although there are a number of people retiring at 50 and then starting their own business, so we aim to give them ideas, too. Our readership is fairly male-dominated, but there are young women as well.

Do you have many dealings with PROs?
Yes, lots. We are interested in hearing about exciting stories about people starting their own business. As we cover lifestyle as well, we're interested in hearing about gadgets and luxury goods, exotic destinations and unusual hotels. We also want to be informed of success stories. Interesting people such as Alex Tew [The Million Dollar Homepage creator on the front of our March issue] are great for profiles.

What do you not want PROs to send?
Big documents with big attachments are not ideal. The best way to get in contact is email – we'll read everything and get straight back to you. Honest.

What will be in the next issue?
A piece on Julie Mayer, formerly of networking group First Tuesday and now the boss of Adriane Capital. There's also a piece on Mike Patel, who made £800m in ten years from Currencies Direct, as well as Pied à Terre's Shane Osborn.

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