The Apprentice 2012 – Seventh Episode Today – Week Seven

Today the seventh episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired, as usual on BBC One at 9pm.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch today’s episode, as I have other commitments – but thanks to Sky Plus I shall catch up with it later (when I have an hour to spare).

I intend to write my review about last week episode along with today’s some point during the week.

Today the teams are called to a warehouse in Essex; Lord Sugar tells the candidates that this is how he started out, buying wholesale goods and selling them on for a profit. Both teams are given 150 pounds to spend on products of their choice, with Essex as their selling ground. Products are purchased and hopes for big profits are pinned on a collection of mops, MP3 players, fake tan and false eyelashes.

The Apprentice 2012 – Sixth Episode Today – Week Six

Today, the sixth episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  You can catch up on my previous episode updates by links provided at the bottom of this post. So far, we have seen five people get the chop by Lord Alan Sugar.

A Recap:

Week One said good bye to Bilyana Apostolova

Week Two said good bye to Maris O’Conner

Week Three said good bye to Michael Copp

Week Four said good bye to Jane McEvoy

And, week Five said good bye to Duane Bryan with a big smile.

As I have done previously, I predicted that team Phoenix will win – and proud to announce I was correct.

It’s more sensible to refer to each team by their team names from now onwards, especially since the teams are mixed with both boys and girls.

The task this time was one which involved more thought process, relied on simply and possible idea over hard and complicated one.  This time, the teams had to design and plan a ‘new’ exercise regime which would tempt three major UK fitness clubs to franchise or lease.

Team Phoenix had a group of people who seemed to be reluctant in putting their names forward as project manager for this task.  The only person to put their hand up was ‘teeth chewing’ Stephen; it was the likely choice since work related to fitness was his daily job.

Team Sterling was more engaging and two people put their views forward as to why they should be project managers:  Jenna and Ricky made their cases and in the end Ricky got more votes.

Both teams worked on their ideas and in my view, team Sterling were quick off the mark, as Ricky almost instantly came up with their concept and their training regime.  Team Sterling lead by Ricky tried to blend martial arts with fitness – not a new idea and has been around in various fitness clubs for years.  On the other hand team Phoenix endorsed a retro 80s style fitness classes.

Both teams had to produce a promotional video, which later would be used to demo their ideas to the large fitness clubs when they pitch their ideas.

From both video’s I have to admit I preferred Team Phoenix – as their style suited their 80’s idea.  Team Sterling seemed to have lost the martial arts touch in their video – and it became evident that their video promotion appeared standard dance/fitness class.

As usual both teams struggled to cover important areas of their fitness regime including material and equipment which team Phoenix didn’t account for.

Nonetheless in the end, Team Phoenix won the task – despite having the first two clubs reject their ideas in the boardroom and only the last and final club agreed to trail their fitness regime.

So, not surprisingly team Sterling lost and it seems they are in a pretty bad state now.  The boardroom was yet again full of people pointing fingers and in the end Ricky decided to bring Duane with his big smile along with Laura who has become a common face in the boardroom face-offs.

With Laura fighting her corner on the grounds that she was doing what she was instructed to do, and Ricky claiming the video promotion lost him the task meant that Duane was left out and in the end Lord Sugar agreed and fired smiling Duane.

Today’s task is all about Street Food.  Lord Sugar sends the candidates to Scotland, where they must make gourmet grub and sell it on the streets of Edinburgh. The teams decide on Italian meatballs and Scottish stew, but before heading north there is a spot of market research at one of London’s fancy street food fairs. It is clear from what is served up that there is more to this business than dishing up a burger and chips.

On today’s task I think I am going to back Team Sterling to win, they need this badly.

Your thoughts?

Anyway, I’d like to leave you with a video below of some funny bits on the last episode.  See you all tonight at 9pm on BBC One

 

Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five

The Apprentice 2012 – Fifth Episode Today – Week Five

It’s Wednesday today, and you know what that means:  The fifth episode of The Apprentice 2012.  Most of you by now will be well aware of what’s been happening, or at least been following my brief updates on this year’s apprentices.  The Apprentice 2012 will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  You can catch up on my previous episodes updates by links provided at the bottom of this post, so far we have seen the rise (well sort of) and fall of four apprentices so far.

A recap:

Week One said good bye to – Bilyana Apostolova

Week Two said good bye to – Maria O’Conner

Week Three said good bye to – Michael Copp

And, Week Four said good bye to Sylvester Stallone look alike – Jane McEvoy

Last week, prior to the show being aired, I wrote how the boy’s team Phoenix will win this task, after coming to know the task.  I was proved correct and the girls team ‘Sterling’ lost the challenge.

The task was simple, buy crap (household goods) for as cheap as possible, condition them and resell for a profit in a shop.  The girl’s team was lead by Laura (the attractive business women – as she claimed, but the truth couldn’t be far from it) and the boy’s team was led by Tom, the relaxed and contained chap.

To be fair, it was hard to tell which strategy was working well.  Tom was adamant to have a say in almost everything that was considered to be bought for team Phoenix, and where Laura simply had no clue and her team Sterling were simply buying anything and everything.

In comparison to their shops, I did think that team Sterling had more items to sell in their shop and their shop looked busy with recycled items.  On the other hand, at one point, Tom’s team Phoenix had purchased so little that their shop looked empty with only about five items – but over time they increased the amount to better numbers.

When the shops opened, Tom’s leadership and vision paid off instantly as the shop quickly attracted people who started to purchase almost immediately – despite the shop having more empty space than items.  At one point, Tom had to call for more recycled items to be bought and immediately sent to the shop, as they began to run low on stock.  Luckily the Blonde Assassin and her team were good at scavenging second-hand items and did so perfectly, and before long, they had refilled empty spaces in the shop.

Laura’s team didn’t do well at all as customers refused to come into their shop, those who actually did were quick to leave empty handed.  I found most of the girls doing their own things, as their egos were getting the better of them and they began to distant themselves from actually selling in the shop and focus more on getting people into the shop.  The lack of numbers coming into the shop prompted Laura to print and handout leaflets in the surrounding areas – which proved to work but it was too late in the day for some serious money to be made.

As I predicted before the show, the boy’s team Phoenix won the task, meaning as well as Tom’s first attempt as Project Manager turning into a win, the Blonde Assassin also enjoyed her first ever win in the show.

Laura asked Gaby and Jane to join her in the boardroom, which after a bitch fight had erupted it was Jane who got fired.  It was clear that Gaby was wrongly brought back to the boardroom since she was probably the only one who worked extremely hard throughout the task.

Today’s episode (week five) Lord Sugar turns the candidates’ attentions towards the highly profitable keep fit industry. The teams have two days to devise and brand a new fitness class that reflects recent popular trends like Zumba or Body Pump, which attract gym members to classes in big numbers. They must then pitch their routines to leading health and fitness chains, who will pay for the rights to run them if they like what they see.

Yet again, I am backing up team Phoenix to win this task, since the boy’s team have proved to be more committed in doing whatever it takes to get it right.

Any thoughts?

Anyway, I’d like to leave you with a video below of some funny bits on the last episode.  See you all tonight at 9pm on BBC One

Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four

The Apprentice 2012 – Fourth Episode Today – Week Four

Today, the fourth episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  In the last week episodes, which you can read by clicking on the links at the bottom of this post, we have seen the fall of three apprentices so far.

A recap:

Week one said good bye to – Bilyana Apostolova

Week two said good bye to – Maria O’Conner

And, Week Three said good bye to – Michael Copp – they saucy guy.

Last week, prior to the show being aired, when I realised the task was related to food – I predicted that the girls team ‘Sterling’ would be victorious.  I was right.  Although Lord Alan sugar decided to switch few of the people around I couldn’t help thinking that the girls team needed some male muscle to help them – and again my thinking was correct.

Katie, the Blonde Assassin who was heavily criticised in previous two episodes, surprised me by her dominance of the male group.  As the Project Manager for the boys team, she not only was calm and organised, she seemed to have understood a tricky situation really well and come up with a plan B for selling their source, despite losing the first batch to the guys badly following a recipe.

Nonetheless, Katie led her team to failure and currently is the only person who has been on the losing side 3 times.

On the Girl’s team, It appeared that the only two boys seemed to have had a grip on the task.  Despite negative feelings from other girls they pulled it off with a win.

The remaining contestants have begun to show their true colours, and from them you can see who is a doer and who is just hot air.

Today’s episode (week four) Lord Sugar asks the teams to set up second-hand shops in London’s fashionable East End, home to a thriving market in retro and refurbished household goods. The teams must source second-hand stock from auctions, junk shops and car boot sales, and resell at a profit during a one-day-sale from their respective shops.

Today’s task is about having an eye for identifying items which will sell over stuff that simply is just crap – I feel (gut instinct) that the Boy’s team will win.  They have proved to be more daring that the girls and better at sales.

What do you think?

Anyway, I’d like to leave you with a video below of some funny bits on the last episode.  See you all tonight at 9pm on BBC One

Read about previous episodes here, here, here and here.

The Apprentice 2012 – Third Episode Today – Week Three

Today, the third episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  In the last week episodes, which you can read about here, here and here, we saw the fall of two apprentices:

Week One said good bye to – Bilyana Apostolova – Bulgarian block of flats – Watch her audition here

Week Two said good bye to – Sleepy Maria O’Conner – Watch her audition here

The last episode (week two) was a good challenge.  The Boy’s team Phoenix and the Girl’s team Sterling went head to head to design a new house hold gadget.  Team Phoenix won the challenge by creating an echo bin for the kitchen or a compost bin.  Team Sterling, as usual, were pretty much all over the place.  Their invention was something called Splish Splosh for the bathroom when given kids a bath – it was simply a screen to protect the water from splashing everywhere.  It failed and so did the tem.  In the end, sleepy Maria lacked ambition and enthusiasm which made her lazy and sleepy (if you watched this episode you’ll know what I mean) and Lord Alan Sugar fired her.

Team Sterling were lucky to have one out of three fired, as it seemed at the time that Lord Alan Sugar was prepared to fire two people or even the three of them – that’s how poor their performance was.

Team Phoenix had their fair share of problems too.  Project Manager Azhar made a good decision to keep with their idea of echo kitchen bin, despite growing opposition from their sub group – who had other ideas.  In the end, the boys decided to praise Duane who came up with the idea as opposed to the Project Manager Azhar who managed the team and produced a win.  This was indeed an embarrassing moment for Azhar who was laughed at when he decided to correct the boys and make them aware that the win came about not just with the product but with this management.

Today’s episode will see, both team mix for the first time.  The task is for both teams to ‘create’ and ‘market’ a new condiment brand.  This will be time when both teams will need to put their creative culinary skills to the test in the kitchen.

Having the benefit of watching the last two episodes, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Considering this task is more natural to the girl’s team – as it includes cooking.  I strongly believe the girl’s team (or whichever team has majority girls) will come through this and win.

What do you think?

Anyway, I’d like to leave you with a video below of some funny bits on the last episode.  See you all tonight at 9pm on BBC One.

The Apprentice 2012 – Second Episode Today – Week Two

Today, the second episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  In the Last week episode, which you can read about here and here, we saw the rise of many apprentices and the fall of one Bilyana Apostolova.

Although looking back at her performance compared to her ‘Sterling’ team mates, she didn’t do that bad, but she made the fatal mistake of opening her mouth when Lord Alan Sugar told the three remaining contestants in the boardroom to ‘shat-it’.

When the man says “it’s my time to talk, shut it and I don’t want to hear anything from anyone” he means it and at that point ‘silence’ is the key.  For Bilyana silence was a weakness and she rose to challenge Lord Alan Sugar in speaking at him while he tried to utter some words.  In the end, Bilyana – the Bulgarian block of flats came tumbling down – and she was fired.

Today’s episode is a slightly tricky one, at least compared to last episode.   Lord Alan Sugar will address the candidates in Victoria and Albert Museum, where he will ask both teams, Phoenix and Sterling, to ‘invent’ a new household gadget.  Their invention will then need to be pitched in front of the country’s biggest retailers.

In today’s task, the key is to find a ‘gap’ in the market, as the task is to ‘invent’ a ‘new household gadget’.  Re-inventing the wheel (so to speak) will simply not do.

Going by my gut-instinct I think Sterling, the Girl’s team will do well in inventing a new gadget, since in the last episode they did have some creative people amongst them.  That said, the key to this task as well as inventing a new gadget is the sales pitch and Phoenix, the Boy’s team seemed to have strong candidates in sales such as ‘reflection of perfection’ and ‘Master puppeteer’.

What do you think?

Anyway, I’d like to leave you with a video below of some funny bits on the last episode.  See you all tonight at 9pm on BBC One.

The Apprentice 2012 – First Episode – Week One

Simplicity Over Complicated

As I get more and more older, I convince myself more and more, that all the problems we face in the world is a result of ‘failed / bad communication’.

Last Wednesday – my notion was given further strength when I witnessed two teams battle it out to win a ‘simple’ task.  In life, somewhere and somehow we all go through an experience where we ‘over complicate’ simple tasks.  We learn, as we get older that a simple approach to a simple task is the better way forward – less time consuming and less complicated but with the same outcome.

So What Happened:  For those of you who watched The Apprentice 2012 Episode One – I won’t bore you any further with the details of what went on.  For those who didn’t watch it or have yet to watch it – don’t worry there are no spoilers here and, if you are still wanting to watch it then I recommend BBC iPlayer (you have 7 days).

Over the years, I have seen Lord Alan Sugar explain his tasks to the apprentices.  I admire his approach in explaining the tasks in less than 20 words.  This first task was probably the simplest I’ve ever seen on The Apprentice.  If I owned a business where I had a sales team – I would force my sales team at gunpoint  to watch this episode for ‘how not to do business’.

The opening moments of this first episode showed the future of British commerce, I had to grit my teeth while I watched self-promotions of these individuals.  I wrote a little about this few days ago and it’s worth the effort to mention this again as some had described themselves amongst other descriptions – ‘A master puppeteer pulling the strings’,A shark and total reflection of perfection’, ‘Like an animal I will roar my way to the top’, and ‘A blonde assassin’ delivered with total focus without batting an eyelid

My first impressions of some of the apprentices when they first entered the boardroom, at the beginning of the tasks, was the group consisted of loatheables apprentices with the usual delusional declarations of egotistical self priced – despicable characters.  Some were full of attitude and some were already raising their left eyebrows with a smirk as Lord Alan Sugar spoke at them.

So after regaining my consciousness after week one episode, I have compiled below ‘lessons learnt’ and where applicable tried to explain – how things should have been done.

Understand the Task:  Often people fail at the first hurdle and one factor to this failure is not understanding the task.  Understanding the Task means knowing what to do.
The Apprentice was no exception.  The task was simple and required a simple thought out process.  There was nothing complicated about it and neither did it need any debate.  I think both teams understood the task but the Boy’s team now called Phenix had the upper hand, as they felt confident from the start – and I guess they knew how simple the task was.

Do your Research:  In any market, be it business or your own profession – doing research is vital.  Most people fail to recognise how important ‘research’ is.  It prepares you to understand the future and more importantly prepares you to make those smart moves to keep you ahead of the game.
None of the apprentices made any effort to find out the market trend, potential explosive idea or even which area was strong to sell at.

Identify Individual Skills Set:  Knowing what the strengths and weaknesses are can make all the difference in achieving the end result.  This is more important to figure out in a group especially since you will be relying on those people to win you the task.
Both teams failed abysmally in my view to identify who will be good at what.  If you are going to be working together in the future, it’s very important to understand the skill sets of individuals.  Knowing who is good at what can potentially be a winning strategy going forward in this series.

Have a Strategy:  Having the right strategy makes all the difference in seeing where you are and how you intend to get where you want to be.  Think of it as a roadmap from A to B.
The Boy’s team seemed to have a good hold in this space.  It was clear in their mind – how much to spend on stock, what end product to produce and once you have a product, depending on its uniqueness what price should it be sold at.
On the other side, the Girl’s team, now known as ‘Sterling’ were terrible in getting organised, let alone defining a strategy.  They may have chosen a Project Manager who was in this trade already – and in theory should have already known exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it – but the Project Manager lost her ability to get organised or set a long term strategy which should have made all the difference.

Identify a Unique Idea or Product:  The product to sell and to whom is one of the most fundamental aspects of business.  Although it’s not the only thing which can win you the task, and as the Girl’s team proved so successfully that despite having a good product, if you don’t manage everything else correctly – you can still loose.
With so many ‘so called’ bright people on both teams, identifying a unique idea and producing a unique product should have been a walk in the park.  The unique product or idea sells itself, and both team failed to recognise this.

In the interest of keeping this post short, I’d like to sum up the remain points – as due to the amount of failures in the this task, I can go on and on.

In addition to the above, it’s equally important to ‘get your product right’, without which you can’t do justice to the good idea.  The other aspect which I think the Boy’s team succeeded in doing was to ‘delegate effectively’, this in the end proved to make all the difference between both teams.  The final point is to have ‘confidence to make decisions’, and again the Girl’s team Project Manager Gabrielle Omar clearly lost her confidence in making decision, especially when up against strong personalities constantly having a stab at you and your plan.

In the end, the Bulgarian block of flats came tumbling down:  Bilyana Apostolova who works as a trainee Wealth Manager in the UK didn’t last long, and as I witnessed Bilyana beg for a second chance, despite my gut feeling that the blonde assassin was on the verge of being fired I think Lord Alan Sugar changed his mind in the last second to raise his finger at Bilyana.

The following video are a tribute to Bilyana Apostolova:

..and to see some funny highlights of this episode, check out an edited version below:

The Apprentice 2012 – First Episode Today

Today, the first episode of the much awaited ‘The Apprentice 2012’ will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  I use the words ‘much awaited’ as this is a unscripted TV series which I have waited for since the last 2011 series.

I always make an effort to ‘check out’ the the apprentices before the programme is aired, just spend a few minutes reading their statements of how perfect they are.  Doing this, just gives you an idea of the type of person you will see on TV.  Some will be smart, some over the top, some totally clueless and some who simply rub you and everyone else up the wrong way.

So, to save you the hassle of digging up about the apprentices, I have done all the hard work and put together some information, so you too can get to know the bright future of UK business entrepreneurs.

As I said in my first post in this space, that I hope to share my views, opinions and comments following each episode that is aired, so find this as an introduction to the apprentices and how they sell themselves – with a talk of a ‘blond assassin’ to ‘..roar my way to the top’ to personalities stating ‘I’m quite good-looking’, it’s a mixture of all elements in the same grinder and definitely in for explosive moments:

The Girls:

Name: Bilyana Apostolova
Age: 25
Job: Risk analyst
Lives: London
Interests: Dancing, baking and travelling
About her: She started her career as an entrepreneur selling snails on her grandparents’ farm in Bulgaria.
She says: ‘I got myself from a Communist block of flats in Bulgaria to the top of a skyscraper in the heart of the City of London.’

Name: Gabrielle Omar
Age: 29
Job: Architect
Lives: London
Interests: Travelling – she once visited 13 different countries in a year.
About her: Her first job was working in her parents’ fish and chip shop when she was 14.
She says: ‘When it comes to business I can be like an animal and I will roar my way to the top.’

Name: Jade Nash
Age: 29
Job: Business development manager
Lives: Bedfordshire
Interests: Going to the gym and watching drag racing
About her: She is a former 18-30 rep and worked at her parents’ caravan park while she was growing up.
She says: ‘What I want is to be able to retire when I’m 45, but I’m such a workaholic that I’ll probably carry on until I’m 80.’

Name: Maria O’Connor
Age: 20
Job: Restaurateur
Lives: Kent
Interests: Shopping and socialising
About her: She opened her own Greek restaurant when she was 19.
She says: ‘If you chuck me in the deep end I’ll swim, I won’t sink.’

Name: Jenna Whittingham
Age: 25
Job: Beauty salon owner
Lives: Lancashire
Interests: Showjumping – she competed at the Wembley 1998 Horse of the Year Show.
About her: She has never been away from home for longer than a week and cannot cook or clean.
She says: ‘My personality and character is once seen, never forgotten.’

Name: Katie Wright
Age: 26
Job: Editorial and research director
Lives: London
Interests: She is a devoted fan of Fulham Football Club.
About her: Her first job was as a pot-washer in a French restaurant when she was 13.
She says: ‘I would call myself The Blonde Assassin. I let people under-estimate me just so I can blow them out of the water.’

Name: Laura Hogg
Age: 28
Job: Bridal shop owner
Lives: Glasgow
Interests: Winter sports.
About her: She once skated with Torvill and Dean.
She says: ‘I am going to be one of Scotland’s next big exports.’

Name: Jane McEvoy
Age: 28
Job: Co-founder of food manufacturing company
Lives: Kilkenny, Ireland
Interests: Animals
About her: She played hockey and camogie – an all-female version of hurling – for her province and county respectively.
She says: ‘Anything is achievable if you have drive, determination, and a seriously good work ethic.’

The Boys:

Name: Adam Corbally
Age: 32
Job: Market trader
Lives: Derbyshire
Interests: Swimming, football and cycling
About him: He started stacking shelves and now runs a wholesale fruit and veg business.
He says: ‘I get too excited, but that shows my passion, it shows my drive and it shows my ability.’

Name: Azhar Siddique
Age: 33
Job: Founder and managing director of catering and refrigeration company
Lives: Manchester
Interests: His two pet sharks
About him: He says he is inspired by Ikea and its founder, Invgar Kamprad.
He says: ‘It’s not who shouts the loudest, it’s who has the ability to control the conversation.’

Name: Duane Bryan
Age: 29
Job: Founder/director of drinks distribution company
Lives: Manchester
Interests: Going to bars and clubbing
About him: He is a have-a-go hero after he chased and caught a hit-and-run driver trying to flee the scene of a crash.
He says: ‘I am a winner and I am a fighter. In order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.’

Name: Michael Copp
Age: 31
Job: Managing director of kitchen and bedroom furniture retailer
Lives: London
Interests: Fishing, walking and boxing
About him: He left school at 15 but now wishes he had stayed in education.
He says: ‘I’m better than unique; I’m naturally gifted in business.’

Name: Nick Holzherr
Age: 25
Job: Technology entrepreneur
Lives: Birmingham
Interests: Playing squash, snowboarding and cooking.
About him: He earned money as a nine-year-old by selling golf balls back to golfers.
He says: ‘I’ve got lots of ideas, I know how to whittle them down into ideas that will work and I’ve got what it takes to make them actually happen.’

Name: Ricky Martin
Age: 26
Job: Recruitment team leader
Lives: Hampshire
Interests: Bodybuilding and wrestling
About him: He moonlights as a professional wrestler at nights and at the weekend.
He says: ‘I truly am the reflection of perfection.’

Name: Stephen Brady
Age: 33
Job: National sales manager
Lives: Vienna, Austria
Interests: Learning languages
About him: He once played in the FA Cup as a semi-professional footballer.
He says: ‘Enthusiasm is a huge asset of mine and I believe it’s caught and not taught.’

Name: Tom Gearing
Age: 23
Job: Director of a fine wine investment company
Lives: London
Interests: Watching West Ham and going to gigs.
About him: He says he can be over-confident and does not like early mornings.
He says: ‘I’m confident, charismatic and some people say I’m quite good-looking, so that adds to the bill.’