Phil’s masterclass fires up local business leaders

Guest speaker Phil Anderton at Business Gateway Scottish Borders' Masterclass event at Ochiltree's, Abbotsford - The Home of Sir Walter Scott.
Guest speaker Phil Anderton at Business Gateway Scottish Borders' Masterclass event at Ochiltree's, Abbotsford - The Home of Sir Walter Scott.
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He became known as “Firework Phil” for organising lavish pyrotechnic displays and entertainment before rugby internationals at Murrayfield during his time as CEO of Scottish Rugby.

Such innovative marketing techniques – dismissed by some critics as gimmicky – were at the heart of a motivational address by Phil Anderton, guest speaker at the first in a series of masterclasses organised by Business Gateway Scottish Borders and held in historic Abbotsford House on Thursday. The masterclass tour, which continues throughout the summer, aims to give new and established local companies the chance to tap into free advice from leading experts in marketing, sales and social media.

Guest speaker Phil Anderton, right, with Business Gateway Scottish Borders Manager Phil McCreadie at the Masterclass event at Ochiltree's, Abbotsford - The Home of Sir Walter Scott.

Guest speaker Phil Anderton, right, with Business Gateway Scottish Borders Manager Phil McCreadie at the Masterclass event at Ochiltree's, Abbotsford - The Home of Sir Walter Scott.

And around 60 Borders businesspeople took that opportunity last week as Mr Anderton, also an erstwhile CEO of Heart of Midlothian FC, highlighted how clever marketing can bring business success.

One of the attendees – Alan Wheelans, operations director of Selkirk-based Border Safeguard Ltd – said Mr Anderton had been “informative and inspiring”.

“This was a great chance for a business such as mine to learn how to adapt fresh ideas and knowledge for our own benefit,” added Mr Wheelans.

The European-funded masterclass tour moves on to the Eastgate Theatre and Arts Centre in Peebles on Thursday, May 21, when the guest speaker will be social media guru Liz Melville.

Now a full-time consultant, Glasgow-based Ms Melville has, since leaving a high-powered job in financial services in 2007, built three thriving businesses using social media.

Her talk, which begins at 6pm, will attempt to take the “fear of the unknown” out of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other social media platforms.

“Putting in place the correct social media strategy can transform the fortunes of a business, but, as many will have discovered, it takes more than just having a social media presence to reap the rewards,” said Business Gateway manager Phil McCreadie.

“Liz Melville is an experienced social media consultant and strategist who has helped business of all sizes transform their results through the use of social networks. I am certain that local businesses will greatly benefit from her expertise.”

The remaining stops on the masterclass tour are as follows: Mansfield House Hotel, Hawick, June 25 – Polly Murray, the first Scottish woman to conquer Everest, talks about motivation.

Duns High School, August 27 – Philip Oldham, CEO of Lyle & Scott, talks about innovative business practices.

Earlston High School, September 24 – International sales expert Jackie Wade offers tips on how to secure increased sales.

Spaces on the tour are limited. To book a place or for more information, visit www.bgateway.com/masterclass or call 01835 818315.