If anyone watched the final of The Apprentice a few weeks ago I’m sure you felt just as I did as the candidates went into the final task, revealing their ‘business plans’ for Lord Sugar to choose from. Just how bad were each and every one of those business plans?
Jim, who was without question an excellent salesman, wanted to piggy-back off the back of Lord Sugar’s reputation and even suggested his business idea be ‘non-profit’ – something that the dour cockney Sugar almost choked on his water when he heard. That idea was blown out of the water straight away.
Susan Ma, who is very young you know, in case she didn’t mention it, wanted the £250,000 to set up a range of natural beauty products and compete with some of the biggest players in the game overnight. Lord Sugar of course instantly put her straight by pointing out that £250,000 isn’t going to get you very far in the cosmetics industry and, no matter how much passion and belief you have in your products, you can’t compete with the cosmetics giants on a shoestring budget like that.
Helen had an off-the-wall idea of a concierge service for the busy career men and women of London – those people who were too busy to book their own dentist appointments and thus would need to call someone else to make the appointment for them. Despite having no contacts and no experience in this industry, she thought it was a winner; Lord Sugar did not.
This left Tom who, despite being a great guy and a clearly talented inventor, had come up with a business plan that angered Lord Sugar because of its reliance on the service industry, whereas the gruff cockney is a ‘products man’. Lord Sugar tore into every business plan that was presented, leaving me thinking that he was regretting this new format for the show of investing in an idea rather than just employing someone.
Luckily for Lord Sugar, Tom was a proven inventor and had sold products before – so he went with him, although you got the feeling that his business plan would be binned on day one and his old products would be returned to.
I’m sure for the next series of The Apprentice that, should they persist with this investment prize, that the business plans will be vetted before hand – or Lord Sugar will at least have been appraised of them before filming begins so he knows not to get rid of someone with a genuinely good idea in favour of someone with a crazy, off-the-wall notion such as running a concierge service or competing in the natural beauty products industry against multi million pound companies.