The Apprentice 2014 Week 3 – Summit has a mountain to climb

images-2The Apprentice 2014 Week 3 – Summit has a mountain to climb

There were suspicions before this week that in expanding the number of candidates in the Apprentice to 20, a few extra duds had been recruited. This was confirmed this week, when swimming entrepreneur Lindsay Booth was fired seconds before she was about to resign. This would have been something of a first for the series, but not one it should be proud of. Lindsay’s body language throughout reflected something we see a lot in Industry; a square peg in a round hole. Sometimes people persuade us that they are right for a job, but both sides agree after a short time that it’s not working. This is why we have probation periods. And so it was with Lindsay.

Lindsay Booth: fired before resigning. Courtesy of BBC

Lindsay Booth: fired before resigning. Courtesy of BBC

Anyway, back to this week’s task. Lord Sugar mixed up the teams with Steven, Daniel and Felipe joining Tenacity (formerly the girls’ team) and Lindsay (the same) Roisin and Sarah joining Summit (formerly the boys’ team and still without a win).

The task involved manufacturing, branding and marketing (high end) fragrance candles and re-diffusers to (high end) businesses and the public. Both teams got confident volunteer PMs, something of a departure from last week.

For Tenacity, Katie declares she has a nose for fragrances as she buys them all the time, and for Summit, accountant Roisin says she can do the numbers to maximise profits. PROFITS, for this is what Lord Sugar reminds the teams they will be judged on.

The two PMs adopt different strategies, with Katie going for Sugar’s tried and tested “make it cheap, maximize the margins by selling high”. Rosin prefers to go for a better product, but the margins are smaller so you have to sell more.

We could focus on many aspects of this task that are worthy of discussion; from Katie ignoring the feedback from Market Research to individuals given roles they are not suited for (Lindsay & Nurun selling), but the task was lost by poor project management by Roisin. Summit had the superior product and customers wanted it, especially the high-end businesses (hotel, gentleman’s club) but problems of supply and a poorly managed discount strategy cost them the task.

  • For instance, Summit sold re-diffusers to a gift shop at a ludicrous price when they promised another customer 25 units at a higher price and then couldn’t supply them. Bad business practice on 2 counts
  • James, leading the sub team selling to the public had a “slash and burn” approach to selling, taking any price to get rid of stock.

As business guru Peter Thompson reminds us;

“Turnover is vanity, profits are sanity”

 James was living proof of this and it cost the task, but Roisin was also culpable of poor project management.

Tenacity won by £14, the cost of one of Summit’s candles. And they had stock left over, but as Lord Sugar pointed out, in the real world they would have been able to move that stock on another day. Tenacity completed the task the Amstrad way – and won – with an inferior, but cheaper product.

Summit is still without a win.

In the boardroom, Lindsay was fired before the Final Three, as discussed above, so Roisin brought back non- seller Nurun and loose cannon, motor mouth James, who cunningly positioned himself as “just like you, Lord Sugar”. Sugar railed against this, but he has been shown to have a blind spot for people like him (remember Baggs-the-Brand?). Anyway, it worked and James survived, but his card is marked. Nurun was fired and again it was hard to argue against based on the first 3 tasks. Roisin survived based on here initial project management, but will need to learn from this experience.

Fired for not being ale to sell. Courtesy of BBC

Fired for not being ale to sell. Courtesy of BBC

Expect more culls as we look to get rid of more deadwood (Sarah stands out here, but a few are still hiding) before we get to the serious competition.

 

 

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One Response to The Apprentice 2014 Week 3 – Summit has a mountain to climb

  1. Pingback: The Apprentice 2014 - Week 3 - Tomorrow's Consultant

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