Atomic Bomb With Flawed Over 50’s Plan in Week 4 of Young Apprentice

Atomic Bomb With Flawed Over 50’s Plan in week 4 of Young Apprentice

It has to be said that the kids in Young Apprentice are learning. Unfortunately, just as some of the candidates learn one lesson, their character flaws became exposed in this week’s task. Week 4 of Young Apprentice gave us some clear insights into most of the candidates and, maybe, some indications as to who can win it.

The task this week was to identify 2 products (from 8 ) to sell to the over 50’s market (worth over £250 bn per year) at an exhibition at Olympia. Lord Sugar mixed up the teams again; Atomic consisted of Haya, Hayley, Lewis and (mister popular) Harry M. Just to reinforce how unpopular Harry M is no-one supported his bid for PM, and Haya got the job.

Kinetic had Gbemi, Zara, James, Lizzie and Harry H, and James was given near-unanimous support to be PM.

Lord Sugar gave his now customary hint about how to succeed – “You’ll be judged on sales volume, so you need to get your pricing and products right”. Simple as that, so get a good product at a reasonable price and you have the formula for success.

Immediately we saw the different styles of leadership on show; James adopted a more consultative approach but showed real leadership by reminding his team to get the cheapest price, but be confident and enthusiastic about each product, even if you don’t like it! Oh, how we’ve seen teams come a cropper before by not following this simple advice. James went on to demonstrate this perfectly across the task, even revealing that he blatantly lied about liking the pie maker. It proved to be a sound tactic, but I hope his future girl/boy friends and customers weren’t watching, as no-one will believe anything he says ever again!

Haya, no doubt buoyed by having trounced Harry M to become PM, was very direct in her style, making it clear who was in charge. Listening was not to be her strong point, and she partnered with Lewis, who seemed happy just to be away from Harry.

As usual, the task hinged on a couple of decisions. The first involved a colourful shopping trolley that both teams had their eye on, but James’ (now trade-marked) charm and good haggling skills secured it for Kinetic. Atomic went with Harry M’s enthusiasm for the camera-bird-box, which for most of the task was to prove to be a bit of an albatross. Haya reinforced her no nonsense style of leadership (read: not listening to Harry) by opting for the pie maker over his preferred cushion.

At the exhibition, Haya took on the role of sales leader, with Lewis happy to demonstrate “who makes all the pies”; whilst Harry and Hayley battled gamely to sell box-camera, with no success. Haya had obviously been listening to Lord Sugar last week as she attempted to sell the pie-maker ABOVE the manufacturer’s recommended price, and quickly dropped the price when she realised it wasn’t selling, eventually dropping to the reserve price of £14.99. By the end of the day, the pie maker had sold steadily and the high ticket item bird-camera-box (£125-£150) had sold preceisely NONE until Harry took the initiative and sold 5 to one of the the other exhibitors for £80 a go. Hayley finally sold one before the close of the exhibition.

For Kinetic the much desired trolly was not moving many items, but their other choice, a hand held vacuum cleaner, failed to cleanup sales as Harry H and Zara had ignored James’ advice and not haggled a discounted price to sell it. Eventually, necessity is the mother of invention and they started demonstrating the cleaner and sales started to come in. This task was proving hard to read in terms of the likely outcome, but a few things had become obvious:

For Atomic – Harry had pulled one out of the bag again at the end of the day; Haya was a single-minded leader; Lewis is a liability who prefers to follow; and Hayley did… what?

For Kinetic – James was a revelation as a leader, equally adept at playing the game to manipulate his team as he is at manipulating customers / clients; Harry H failed to negotiate prices with clients. but has the personality to sell; Zara was also at fault for the poor negotiations, but lacks any personality; we saw very little of Gbemi, Lizzie, so they’ll probably go on to win it.

In the boardroom it became apparent that even Harry M’s last minute sale of the camera-box-bird thing couldn’t save Atomic as they were trounced by Kinetic. With only 4 in the team, it was more a case of who wouldn’t come back with Haya, and, once again, she demonstrated that she had been listening last week. Wisely, Haya chose not to bring Harry M back and instead brought in the weaker performers of Hayley and perennial side-kick Lewis. The only question was whether Haya’s poor leadership outweighed the lack of contribution from Lewis and Hayley. In the end, Lewis was fired, probably for being the regular fall guy and always owning up to his mistakes (bless). Hayley knows that she has to be more assertive to survive beyond next week.

So this week the unpopular boys James and Harry M looked good. They are single minded, ruthless, but able to adapt to different situations. Hayley, Zara and Haya look weaker and Gbemi & Lizzie could be the stalking horses.

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2 Responses to Atomic Bomb With Flawed Over 50’s Plan in Week 4 of Young Apprentice

  1. Tim says:

    Definitely in broad agreement, Mark.

    For the first time, this was a much better week for the boys than it was for the girls. In particular, the previous weeks’ bad boys, James and Harry M, both had excellent weeks. Although I’m not a fan of him as a person, Harry M has excellent salesmanship and an entrepreneurial instinct. James showed he had at least watched the show before by trotting out the correct strategy, but I remain unsure of his overall skills. Harry H had a so-so week (didn’t agree lowest prices but demoed/sold well).

    I’m now increasingly convinced a boy will win. It could be any of the three, but I would currently back Harry M (much though it pains me to do so as I still think he’s rude and arrogant).

    I don’t rate Gbemi at all – far too pig-headed and sulky, and I still haven’t forgiven her for the shameless way she tried to share the helconia sale with Harry M last week.

    Sugar was right to fire Lewis (nice guy, all enthusiasm, no actual business skills, a bit immature) -but both Haya and Hayley should count themselves lucky there was no double firing. We’re due one if they are to have four in the final, and Sugar would have been fully justified in firing either of them.

    As ever, my rambling thoughts:
    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/11/15/young-apprentice-selling-to-the-over-50s-isnt-as-easy-as-pie/

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