The Directors View: The Apprentice – episode 5

Stuart Haining Business News, General 0 Comments

The tour from hell?

The candidates are whittled down and now thoroughly mixed into their two teams, Summit comprising Sanjay, who volunteered as Team Leader, James, Jemma, Bianca, Soloman & Roisin.
And team Tenacity, with an aggressive Daniel blagging his way to lead comprised Mark, Pamela, Lauren, Felipe and Katie.

Lord Sugar made it quite clear success comes not from sales numbers but profitability, a point that seemed lost on both teams as so little discussion ensued around pricing strategy or the costs of delivery of products. Plus of course no apparent discussion on when, if ever, discounting was possible.

Let’s kick off with the strong Summit candidates – as expected loud mouth salesman James continued his approach, irritating and delighting guests and colleagues in equal measure….but boy does that led sell. And yet again it was his savior later in the process. Roisin had her sensible hat on as always but had a disappointingly quiet week, in contrast Soloman made some good sales near full price and was generally supportive.

And on Team Tenacity, Mark shone from the off with a 60% discount negotiation on Blenheim Palace admission prices, Katie got some good sales and impressed with a grasp of numbers but it was Lauren who was the real star – she conducted herself well throughout and as a tour guide was so polished you’d have thought she’d been doing the tour for a decade….Tussauds Group, snap that girl up!

What about the weak performers?….well sticking with Tenacity, Felipe tried his best and was lovely, but as a tour guide in England perhaps not the most inspired choice. But we like him, he seems like a good team player and was support of colleagues (except team leader Daniel) in the board-room. Pamela was loud-mouthed and opinionated, so had a lucky escape at board-room time when her team won. And Daniel….well, as Mark correctly pointed out, he sold himself well but on this task sold not a bean. His colleagues didn’t support him either.

With so little support from colleagues, Sugar would have sacked Daniel in the blink of an eye but we think that’s unfair. His team won, so that must justify some brownie points for organisation, and at least they had a “price it high” strategy and roughly stuck to it. So well done Daniel, shame it looks as if you can’t learn from feedback so we suspect you’ll be a casualty soon.

The losing team as you’ll have gathered by now was Summit who fell short by about 20%….despite having a full bus.

Weak candidates here included Jemma, (Spoiler: who seemed lovely in the after show programme) but frankly didn’t seem to do or say a lot during task. Bianca was nominated for the board-room as she sold 40% of the seats for a mere £40……but we think this was unfair. At least she sold seats, it’s hardly her fault if there was no pricing policy and costs weren’t considered from the outset. Plus of course team leader Sanjay.

In the end Sugar opted to sack Jemma, possibly because she had admitted to never being a winner, but we think a better choice would have been bank manager Sanjay for failing to get to the bottom of the numbers. Sadly not a rare fault amongst our bankers these days!

So what’s our out-take for business? Pricing and costs are vital, customers need to pair prices and to survive business leaders need a handle on their numbers. In our company we seek out 1% growth or 1% cost saving each and every month, it helps us survive tough times ahead. Apprentices take note.

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