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BBC The Apprentice – Lording it in the boardroom – Episode 8

03 May

The phone rings and Lord Sugars assistant tells the team they will be collected in twenty minutes. Not a lot of time to get ready really but more than enough time if you are a thrusting, purposeful and confident apprentice entrepreneur.

The task starts in a low rent cash and carry in Essex where the two teams have to decide on products, which they can sell at a market or from a stall from an initial budget of £150. This will imitate how Lord Sugar began, the great man himself says.

Jade takes on the team leader job and doesn’t make the best of starts due to indecision and probably asking for too many opinions although she doesn’t seem to have many ideas of her own.

Nick and Ricky put themselves forward as the other team leader and Nick is voted in which Ricky is slightly miffed about. They immediately get to grips with the task and start making decisions.

The key to this task was Lord Sugar telling the teams that they would be measured on how much money and the amount of stock value they have at the end of the task. This is a slight change from profit being the only key measure. It means that the stock value needs to be maintained in as much as the teams have to make sure they don’t sell their products too cheaply or for less than cost price at the mad rush at the end.

The products being sold included mops, beard trimmers, fake tan, nail wraps, mini bug toys, hot water bottles, etc, etc, etc.

The market pitches didn’t work particularly well since the weather was a bit inclement. The products jumping off the shelves, or the tables in this case, seemed to be fake tan and mini bug toys. Jade didn’t quite have her finger on the pulse and insisted that her team replenish their entire stock rather than going for the faster movers. The pricing strategy for her team resulted in goods being sold lower than Nick’s team

The biggest issue, or the way the episode was edited, was Azher. He continually went on and on about what the strategy was. To a degree he was right to question Jade about this but he did it very negatively and kept repeating it over and over again. Her strategy was simple – sell a mix of products to attract a wider cross section of the potential customer base and make as much money as possible. The strategies have to be simple, there isn’t time for sophisticated although Lord Sugar provides them with the strategy when he outlines the task and the targets they will be measured on.

Her strategy should have been start off with a range of products and reduce the range sold as the day progressed to exploit the best selling items. That’s what Lord Sugar said right at the start.

Jade ended up in the boardroom with Tom who had been a good member of her team and of course Azher. Tom was sent back to the house pretty quickly and whilst Jade hadn’t been great Azher was fired because he’d been incredibly negative and clearly had a “strategy” to play a game and stay in the competition.

The amounts of money made were pretty impressive. Both teams made more than £725 profit. Lord Alan was impressed.

I’m not about to dash out, hire a van and sell stuff at a market or from a barrow in a shopping mall though. Creating a one off success isn’t that hard to do, it’s maintaining it over a long period of time that separates the Lord Sugars from the rest of us.

Other episodes –

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 3

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 4

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 5

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 6

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 7

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 9

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 10

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 11

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 12

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