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Tag Archives: Tom Gearing

BBC The Apprentice Lording it in the Boardroom – Episode 12

It’s all over then. The finger has been pointed for the last time for this series. Lord Sugar got his man despite his man opening his mouth and saying things he probably shouldn’t have.

Four final candidates, four business plans, four business associates of Lord Sugars to act as interviewers. Jade, Nick. Tom and Ricky everything to gain and nothing to loose

The business plans were disappointing. A call centre, a website which would send you the ingredients for a recipe you wanted to cook, a wine hedge fund and a recruitment business. Not exactly earth shattering especially in the current financial climate.

Margaret Mountford came back as an interviewer along with Mike Soutar, Matthew Riley and Claude Littner. As is always the case there were discrepancies between the CVs and the actual facts. Nothing too excessive mind you. The candidates were made to sweat.

Jade didn’t have any costs in for her first six months; she didn’t include a balance sheet or a cash flow. Now those are the basics of a business plan, all anyone has to do is either ask their bank for a business plan pack or buy one of the business plan software packages. Both of these routes provide the necessary components for a business plan and set it all out for you. Obviously there are other ways such as talking to an accountant or a business adviser. The big flaw for Jade was telephoning people at home is sleazy, which may have caused Lord Sugar a few problems in being identified with such a business

Nick had the idea of a not simple bit of software, which would identify the ingredients. Interesting but not really a great idea. Its not like you’d buy all the ingredients every time. It would be pretty costly to develop and take time to make money.

Tom was talking big money. A £25 Million fund, which would be invested in wines that would appreciate in value over a given time period. Was it any co-incidence that Toms father is an investment banker? You decide. Interesting idea but gambling using other peoples money at the end of the day.

Ricky planned to start a recruitment company on the basis of him already being in that type of business and having had successes in it.

No brainer of the year was Ricky winning. He used a well-tried and tested approach to setting up your own business. First you find something you enjoy and are good at, then you learn how to do it at your employers expense obviously and then you make sure you have loads of contacts who like and trust you and will want to continue dealing with you; hey presto you’ve created a new business.

Ricky’s business plan was simple also; no complex software needing written, no huge and costly call centre infrastructure to setup and no need to have to protect other people’s money, apart from Lord Sugars anyway. All he needs is an office a few telephone lines, IT kit and a few bods.

The risk profiles of each business plan were also important, Toms was the most risky followed by Nicks then Jades and then Ricky’s. Entrepreneurs like Lord Sugar base all their decisions on the risk factor for each potential investment. They are better than most people at mitigating risk to a degree which makes it much less of a risk and much more of a successful project which creates profits.

Poor Ricky wins the competition and sets his future on serious success although he will have to retire from wrestling and serious fitness training. What a loss to those activities.

Not to worry if you feel you could out do the latest batch of candidates, there will be another series along in the not too distant future. Lets hope for better quality candidates next time!

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 8

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 9

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 10

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 11

 

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BBC The Apprentice – Lording it in the Board room – Episode 11

A very messy last task before the Final. You have five people and one task and you need two teams. At this stage in the game numbers are important. You can’t split someone in half and have him or her do different things in different places and at different times. So we ended up with a team consisting of Ricky and Tom and a team consisting of Jade. Nick and Adam. Adam was told he was going to be the Team Leader and the other team leader, decided between Ricky and Tom, was Ricky.

The task required them to come up with an affordable luxury product. Ricky and Tom went for male grooming products as they  “knew” about those whilst the other team chose confectionary or something like confectionary but it might not be but it’ll be good honest.

Jade got stuck in to actually making the confectionary, whilst Nick and Adam tried out samples. Adam was of course out of his comfort zone although he tried hard to do something meaningful.

Ricky and Tom got their products together and came up with a dull brand name, packaging and set up a fairly sparse, minimalist demonstration area. Jade, Nick and Adam created a pretty interesting demonstration area and people from businesses, which traded, in similar products or at least the market segment sampled the products and questioned the teams.

The two teams then had to present to the same audience and respond to hard questioning. It soon became apparent that Ricky and Tom had it covered whilst the others struggled a bit.

Boardroom time. Double quick. Ricky and Tom well done see you in final.

Nick? He has a coffee shop business and should have made more of an impact in the task. Jade worked hard but maybe ended up with confused products with a confused market position. Adam, didn’t manage well and was out of his comfort zone.

Exit Adam. Jade did okay mostly, Nick continued to hide. Ricky looks a reasonable bet and Tom looks good at times but lacks overall awareness.

Jade v Ricky?

Only Lord Sugar knows.

The interviews next week should be interesting. They are usually difficult and the interviewers do not take prisoners.

I’ve no doubt that the final decision will come as a surprise to most people.  Lord Sugar works in his own way and makes his own decisions. It may not make much sense to the rest of us however.

I’m not altogether sure that the candidates have been that great this year. They are all a lot younger than is perhaps ideal and they still have an awful lot to learn. Good luck to those in the final anyway.

Previous 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 8

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 9

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 10

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 12

 

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BBC The Apprentice – Lording it in the Board room – Episode 10

I’m beginning to think that education in the UK has failed to teach people how to listen and how to recognise the important part of the message from the dross. Anyway…

Another early start sees the candidates meet Lord Sugar in the City of London. The teams have to make deals to sell products and services from a website similar to Group On. Stephen is in the hot seat as Team Leader and Jade also volunteers as Team Leader. No juggling of people though just stick as they are.

They all meet with the guy who owns the website who stresses that he caters for the higher end of the market so the deals that the teams agree will be vetted by him before they go live on-line. The amount of money, which each deal makes for each team, will be counted and the winners will be the team with the highest sales from the website.

Stephen hits the ground running with a simple strategy to close as many multiple deals with as many businesses as possible. Jade, on the other hand, spends time with her team deciding which businesses they should target.

Stephens’s team have an immediate problem. Ricky has been asked to go to a Hotel outside London involving an hours travelling there and another hour back again. Ricky has a call first at a quality restaurant, which takes up a lot of time and results in a no sale. He should have clarified his pitch at the start but he didn’t which then means that time pressures are even more apparent. Meanwhile Gabrielle has suggested signing up a studio which offers fish pedicures, oh so last Tuesday and surely lacking in higher end market appeal?

Meantime Jade along with Nick, Adam and Tom are heading out to start meeting with businesses. Jade and Nick were successful pretty quickly and Adam and Tom also managing to squeeze a pretty good deal out of a restaurant mainly by getting them to provide tea and coffee free with a meal which increased the discount above their previous normal. A further deal with a spa looked promising too.

All was not well with Stephen however; a deal with a virtual golf range went okay but again was fairly low rent. Ricky and Gabrielle thought the sales pitch to the hotel outside London would take up far too much time, especially if it was no sale. Stephen wasn’t too convinced but went along with it and dropped that business. Both teams scrambled towards the end trying to set up more deals.

In the board room Jade won by a huge sales total. First to go was Gabrielle who had run out of enthusiasm and ideas, it was a fair cop governor. Stephen also went. Well he had too. He was clueless virtually every week and some of his suggestions were just plain silly.

Ricky looks shaky as does Tom, Jade also because of previous tasks whilst Nick is still playing a canny game and Adam has his cheeky chappy persona still intact.

All of them need to demonstrate that they actually want to work with Lord Sugar. They need to do this by having a good argument for them being the winner whilst demonstrating that they actually are winners by being innovative, confident and capable.

That looks like a tall order for them all at the moment!

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 8

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 9

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 11

 

 

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BBC The Apprentice – Lording it in the Boardroom – Episode 9

We see a tired looking Steven answer the phone at 5:45 and be told that the cars will be there to pick everyone up in 45 minutes. Perhaps Lord Sugar doesn’t sleep? 6:30 start? A wee bit early to start work unless you have to travel a significant distance and you need to be there by nine.

This time the candidates have to make an advert and create a website to promote English Sparkling wine. The usual juggling of bods between the two teams and a short discussion on who is to be Team Leader were dealt with. This week we got Ricky Martin and Tom Gearing in those positions. Tom has a point to prove and Ricky needs to step up as he’s been hiding.

So off they jolly well go. Adam is out of his comfort zone but he does his best, Gabrielle does a good job, Jade gets through, Tom of course wins as he should have done given he’s in the wine business and, its all a bit messy for the other team.

Nick seems to do okay but he doesn’t do a whole lot, Ricky looses which puts his coat on a very shoogly peg, Jenna didn’t manage to recognise that a quality image was required for the video, rather than a bit of comedy and Stephen was MIA as usual, in fact I’d go so far as to say he was helping Jenna make things worse for herself.

In the boardroom Ricky got a hard time because he’s lost two tasks, Stephen was asked about his abilities and Jenna was sacked because she made a poor video. It should have been Ricky, he failed to manage his team and he allowed them to make decisions without him being fully aware of what was being done on his behalf. Steven should also have gone and, unless he wins the task next week he will be out.

I don’t think anyone was particularly good on this task. Lets hope they are better next week. It might help if they listen to Lord Sugar when he tells them about the task. Maybe they might want to listen to the bits, which are important? Not sure that they will though.

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 8

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 10

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 11

BBC – The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 12

 

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BBC The Apprentice – Lording it in the boardroom – Episode 9

The Apprentice this week was all about one thing. It was about wanting something badly enough to make sure you get it. Laura lost her drive or found that she didn’t want the prize enough or she just gave up. It all boils down to the same thing.

She didn’t sell enough; she knew she wasn’t selling enough even although her normal day-to-day selling activities should have helped her to perform well. Mind you the team ethos was pretty sadly lacking. In the boardroom her erstwhile teammates cited her lack of sales as being the reason they lost. They would say that because they pick up on anything, which deflects their own deficiencies being recognised.

The real failure on this task was of course down to Tom the team leader. He failed to communicate a coherent plan to his team. He failed to recognise the need to evaluate all the artists’ work and then put them in an order of preference. Once he lost his favourite artist to the other team they had to make a snap decision, which caused them even more problems.

They chose an artist who painted at the large end of the score. Big canvases need big walls and big rooms. Not a lot of people have those and certainly those that do are either well off or they work with businesses or galleries etc.

Tom said that he’d gone for that artist because his work sold for £10,000 or so. That made it a risk but if they sold just one they would most likely win the task. Lord Sugar thought this wasn’t a bad thing to do. Now why did he say that? Successful entrepreneurs are normally successful because they take risks, however when they take risks they make sure that they are manageable. There was no safety net for Tom on this task after he made the decision to sell the large canvasses.

Tom also made an even greater error. Artists generally have a bit if an ego at least. It is therefore important to keep them onside and to praise their work and hang on their every utterance. Tom trying to impress them with his knowledge of street art turned the artists off. They aren’t interested in other artists per se they are interested in their own art and how they can sell enough work to continue to live as artists rather than heading down the 9.00 to 5.00 route. Tom failed to recognise this.

In Toms defense he’s young. He’s not old enough to have made his current business really work, he’s still learning and he will continue to learn for years to come. At the moment he will probably be enjoying painful and costly business lessons on a daily basis. He hasn’t got experience to fall back on yet. If he has a degree it won’t support him in the day-to-day cut and thrust that trying to maintain a business, as a profitable entity requires.

Laura had to go. Stephen will go soon and Stephen will go sooner still. Adam however, may be in with a real chance. Pretty boy Nick won’t get employed for being pretty, Gabrielle is worth watching, Jade lacks organisational planning, Jenna may make it to the final or to the interviews and Ricky is hiding.

There is nowhere to hide however.

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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