Hi Adrian, what do we need to know about the man behind All Speeches Great and Small?
I did a science degree, became a teacher, worked in the City, became a motoring journalist, became a Top Gear presenter, developed quite a few properties here and abroad. Speak conversational Japanese and can get by in Serbo Croat.
You were a broadcaster for BBC Top Gear. What inspired you to go from broadcasting to writing speeches for people across the globe?
I fell out of love with TV and to be honest TV fell out of love with me. Chasing work as a television presenter has to be the most soulless, cringe worthy and demeaning existence known to man. I really didn’t rate any shows being made or the delusional, artistically and cerebrally challenged people who ran them. Have you seen the Great Interior Design Challenge? No. Quite.
How did your target audience react to All Speeches Great and Small?
Well, I’m dealing with mainly men between 25 to 45, so I worked my way towards organically ranking for thing they’d be looking for and ran Google Ads to support that. I received a huge amount of help and support form Google’s Digital Garage which is a platform that offers free training – it made my business visible to people here and all over the world.
Where do you spend your time when not working on the business?
I spend most of my free time pretending I’m doing other things, but really only thinking about the things I should be doing with the business. I start work at 7 most mornings and it’s not uncommon for me to still be there at around midnight, but I love it. I also love pubs, and running. Sometimes running to the pub.
How did you fund the business in the beginning?
I had built up quite a reserve of funds from all my television work – they may ask you to say and do daft things, but at least they pay you reasonably well for it. I eked that cash out until things were on an even keel.
What is the business model?
It’s really very simple to get to a level where creatively I can give my all but it’s still me doing it. I love what I do and have built up a great reputation, expanding with more writers etc would just be more people to manage and keep happy. The idea of growing so big you have HR issues makes me want to cry.
You’ve made life a lot easier for a lot people, it’s never easy, especially at weddings. Do you have any plans to branch out into other sectors?
I’ve thought about this a lot – a service which wasn’t there before the internet, which instantly takes away a huge pain, can be run from anywhere, and which most people are as yet unaware exists. I haven’t got anywhere with it yet, but let’s put it this way: I’m not thinking of writing services, they are well taken care of.
What is your biggest tip for utilising social media?
Social Media really does baffle me; not in a “I’m too old to get it” way, but I’m just not convinced of how effective some of the platforms are. I mean does anyone really engage with Twitter? Really? Maybe only if a Rollie pollie Goalie is stuffing a pie into his mouth. Two weeks ago I became the last person in the world to join Facebook, and the trick to me seems to keep turning things over, if you can keep writing, there are always people who will want to read, but the key to any social media is: QUALITY ideas and content.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs wanting to launch a niche concept?
It’s really no different than for any start up: be prepared to eat, live and breathe it, and brace yourself for working 7 days a week. Writing speeches is just one part of a huge list of tasks each week. There is always more to do.
What is your top tip on how to write a great speech?
The key to a great groom speech is comedy. If you really want people to listen to you, you’ve got to make them laugh, but it’s got to be original and genuinely funny. If you think that saying ‘it’s an emotional wedding even the cake is in tiers’ will do the trick, you’re wrong. Think hard about it and avoid all cut and paste gags.
What plans do you have for All Speeches Great and Small over the next 12 months?
I’m working on different ideas to expand things but they won’t involve more people on the creative side, just better ways of managing the business and my time. But the best bit is running the business from Montenegro every summer – I feel very lucky to be able to that and it’s the biggest perk of running a digital business.