Young Apprentice 2012 Week 1- Would you employ any of these wannabe entrepreneurs?

Young Apprentice 2012 Week 1- Would you employ any of these wannabe entrepreneurs?

Last Thursday saw the welcome return of the younger sibling of BBC’s “The Apprentice”. A full list of the candidates can be found here, but *spoiler alert* it does reveal the identity of the person fired in Week 1 (Candidates).

What always amazes me about The  Apprentice and its Junior version is how these enthusiastic contestants never seem to learn from the past. Does anyone on the programme ever bother to watch past episodes? I can’t believe they do, or we wouldn’t see the same mistakes series after series. It’s obviously not about age and inexperience. Maybe its just nerves. I don’t know.

Here’s what I do know; just like in Gremlins, there are certain rules to follow if you want to surive. Sugar actually reminded the candidates of the first 2 at the start of the programme;

  1.  Don’t hide. Be seen to be active and to contribute. Max clearly didn’t remember this.
  2.  Don’t be a bully. If you are going to dominate, make sure you are right and your team wins. David would do well to learn from this as it nearly cost him this week. He has strong views and isn’t afraid to share them, even if some of them went out of fashion before he was born.
  3. If you are  an intellectual, you will have more to overcome if you are to succeed. This is Sugar’s Achille’s heel – he is very wary of bright people. If they are to succeed, they need to show that they have “common sense” as well as intelligence. In business circles, this equates to Goleman’s Emotional Intellingence, which was very fashionable in the 1990s. This was another problem for Max, and in combination with point 1 above resulted in hime being fired.
  4. And most obviously of all, win every week. That way you will last until at least the last few episodes.

This week, the task was to sort through a ton of used clothing to find some gems to re-sell. The team that made the most money, would win. This was (once again) clearly stated at the start of the programme. and yet one team chose to ignore it. Sugar split the group by gender, and the boys chose the name Odyssey (though David who suggested it struggled to spell it) and Fashion Designer Patrick as project manager. This girls went for Platinum and trainee accountant and part time retail worker Ashleigh as pm. Their backgrounds shaped their strategies, such as they were; Ashleigh focused on maximising profit by minimising costs. Patrick went for innovation, imagination and potentially higher ticket prices. This involved modifying clothes to make something new and desirable. It proved to be a fatal mistake, as the boy’s costs were much higher and none of the modified products sold. On the other hand, the girls made more profit by not even washing some of the used clothes they chose! Their success is something that Sugar made his money on, and Ashleigh will have impressed Sugar with her approach.

So, it was no surprise that the boys lost. It was possibly a bit of a surprise that Parick chose David to bring back into the boardroom, but perhaps Patrick recognised that David had been strongly opinionated. In the end it was the third person in the boardroom, Max, who proved to be the fally guy. In reality, based solely on this task, Patrick should have been fired, but Sugar recognised that dspite his mistakes there was courage and drive their. Something to mould. In Max, Sugar saw someone who hid from the responibility of selling (rule 1). In fact he demonstrated very poor interpersonal skills. He is also extremely bright  (rule 3). Taken together, these were a lethal combination and Max was fired more for what he didn’t do and who he is than for what he did. In brief, he was not Sugar’s cup of tea. A bit harsh? Probably, but it is his money that he will give away.

The message for wannabe entrepreneurs is to be clear about your strategy. Both strategies here were potentially valid, but only one was delivered (Platinum). An ability to relate to and influence other people, whether colleagues or customers is absolutely necessary. Patrick and David survive for another week, but their cards are marked.

Next week, the teams have to produce a cookery book.

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