HOW do you become a success? That simple question with the tricky answer is at the heart of a workshop being run in the region by a former Royal Navy officer.

That officer is Phil Olley, now a business writer, and he returns to the region next month to pass on tips for success to businesspeople - and find out how those who came to last year's event have fared using his advice.

The day-long event is to be held at Ripley Castle, near Harrogate, and last year's participants are to return to tell of their successes in business.

Last year, more than a quarter of delegates were from financial planning, slimming and media businesses based in the North-East.

The workshop, devised by Mr Olley, author of business book Counting Chickens, is attracting people from all over Britain, with some travelling from as far afield as Inverness and Aberdeen.

Assisted by his wife, Elizabeth, an executive success coach, Mr Olley aims to encourage participants to draw up their business goals for the year, along with clear, concise strategies for achieving them.

"It's really exciting for me to see people achieving their goals," said Mr Olley, who was a financial advisor before setting up his Fife-based practice, Phil Olley Consulting, seven years ago.

He added: "One of the key factors is mindset. If someone believes they can be successful, they will be.

"The idea for a success workshop came to me when I looked at the long list of people I have coached over the years.

"I realised they might need a day where they could use others as a sounding board and get themselves set up for the coming year.

"It gets very addictive when people come back and tell me they have achieved things thanks to my coaching or my ideas."

Among the delegates at last year's workshop was Mandy Drake, partner of the slimming business Changes, which is based in Grange Road, Darlington.

Changes has more than 1,000 members, 25 classes through the region and a postal slimming service.

"I went to the workshop hoping it would get me motivated and inspired and it certainly did that," said Mrs Drake.

"I learned to work in different ways to normal, and I even used some of Phil Olley's tips on our slimmers to help get them motivated to lose weight.

"This year has been a huge improvement on last year, and I feel we're making better business decisions now."

The success workshop is to be held at Ripley Castle on Thursday, December 1, from 9.30am until 4pm, at a cost of £195 plus VAT.

For bookings, call 01592 563393 or freephone 0800 0723713.

For further information, visit