The Apprentice The Final: The Final Four Fight It Out!

The apprentice is over for another year and the final episode certainly didn’t disappoint!  This year the series ended with the much loved interview stage.  Well much loved by the viewers but dreaded by the candidates.  The final four were set to have their business plans scrutinised by four top business experts.  And scrutinised they […]

The apprentice is over for another year and the final episode certainly didn’t disappoint!  This year the series ended with the much loved interview stage.  Well much loved by the viewers but dreaded by the candidates.  The final four were set to have their business plans scrutinised by four top business experts.  And scrutinised they certainly were!

Finally we were going to find out who would be Lord Sugars new business partner and receive the £250,000 investment.  They had 48 hours to perfect their business plans that would then be submitted to Lord Sugar and his advisors for the winner to be decided.

Four individual interviews was all that stood between the candidates and the words they had been longing to hear “You’re hired!”  The candidates were certainly grilled by the interviewers with their CV and business plans dissected and questions.  They were faced with brutally honest questions such as “Would it be fair to say that your career is floundering at the moment?”  Even their previous salaries were analysed.  Their ideas, their figures and basically every single part of their business plan were picked to pieces and we loved every minute of it.  It was great to see them squirm and try to talk their way out of the problems and discrepancies in their business plans.

Helen had obviously done brilliantly throughout the previous tasks but her disappointing business plan ultimately lead to her downfall.  Susan’s business plan was too ambitious with a projected (largely unachievable) £1million profit for the first year alone, even admitting “I understand that I didn’t understand.”  Tom’s business plan had many issues with it such as not even mentioning the word chair which would ultimately be the invention that provided the main source of income for the business.

Jim’s use of clichés, buzz words and lack of ability to speak concisely was picked up on by all interviewers.  We have heard Jim talk his way through the last 11 weeks and he didn’t disappoint with his waffling vague answers in the interviews.

The interview stages are always a favourite just to see how the candidates cope whilst under fire and to enjoy their discomfort whilst being intensely questioned.  How cruel of us, but it is fun to watch.  At the start of the programme, I didn’t know who I wanted to win.  Once they got to the boardroom I was quite hoping that it would be Tom that was hired!  As lovely as Helen is, her last ditch attempt to persuade Lord Sugar with offering an alternative business plan just seemed desperate as she probably realised her services idea was indeed rubbish.

The words “You’re hired” were finally directed at Tom and our favourite geek leapt joyfully out of the building.  Can’t wait to see what this new business duo is going to produce!!!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPTLGMZY0CM

The Apprentice Episode 11: The Fab Five Become The Final Four!

So the fab 5 became the final 4 in last night’s penultimate episode of The Apprentice.  There was no shortage of the usual catty remarks between the contestants or ego-fuelled fighting in the boardroom.  This week’s task required the remaining contestants to create their own fast food chain restaurant and serve not just to the […]

So the fab 5 became the final 4 in last night’s penultimate episode of The Apprentice.  There was no shortage of the usual catty remarks between the contestants or ego-fuelled fighting in the boardroom.  This week’s task required the remaining contestants to create their own fast food chain restaurant and serve not just to the public but to Lord Sugar himself and a group of industry experts.

The teams were the same as last week, with Jim leading the gruesome twosome Natasha and Susie for team Venture whilst Helen took the lead for team Logic over Tom.  The teams quickly chose the theme of their restaurants with Venture deciding to go for a Mexican theme and team Logic going for authentic British.  They only had 48 hours to create everything for the restaurant including the menu, the décor, the brand and importantly seeing as it is a business focused show a business plan for the restaurant.

It would appear that Jim and his team were so focused on the décor for their restaurant “Caracas” that they forgot about everything else.  The two girls had struggled to work together the week before yet Jim paired them up to work together again. In the end Jim designed the menu and dishes, as well as cooking the food too.  Mind you the word cooking should be used loosely as customers complained that their food was cold.

The worst part for poor old Jim’s team though was there lack of planning for not just service but a basic business plan.  So when the time came to pitch to the industry experts and ultimately the judges for the task, it was clear that there was a huge gaping hole in Venture’s strategy.  Oh dear.  Jim’s terrible maths only highlighted this at which point they probably should have just gone and sat in boardroom and spared Helen and Tom the hassle of packing up their teeny tiny cases.

Helen and Tom worked together almost flawlessly.  The calmness in their team was a huge contrast to the bickering and disorganisation of team Venture.  Tom was left to do the branding and created the strongly British “My Py” brand.  Unlike the other team they had created good food that was delivered quickly and was actually hot, but most importantly they had a business plan to present to the industry experts which surely was one of the main points of the task!

It was no surprise when Venture found themselves sat in the boardroom wondering if they were all for the chop as Tom and Helen were given a direct pass to the final!  It turns out that this year there will be four in the final though so it was only Natasha who we had to bid farewell too.  I struggle to remember what contributions she has made in the tasks so it is definitely no great loss to the show.

Believe me when I say I can’t wait for the last and final episode, even if it’s just to hear Jim blabber on and try and charm his way through the interview which may be the only thing that stands between him and the £250,000 investment!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2K0wBnFBYM

The Apprentice Episode 10: Mouthy Melody Out And Nasty Natasha Emerges!

Well for starters it must be said that both teams seemed to be an absolute mess throughout the whole task last night.  The point of the task was just to replicate the simple principle of business – churning your money over and increasing your assets.  Starting off with £250 worth of wholesale goods, all they […]

Well for starters it must be said that both teams seemed to be an absolute mess throughout the whole task last night.  The point of the task was just to replicate the simple principle of business – churning your money over and increasing your assets.  Starting off with £250 worth of wholesale goods, all they had to do was build up the value of their businesses by reinvesting their takings in their most profitable products and continuing to sell them.  They just had to “smell what sells.”  Yeah, whatever you say Lord Sugar…!

This week team Venture was headed up by Natasha and Logic was being led by Melody.  Melody and Helen seemed to have completely lost the plot trying to get a pound shop to buy £50 watches and flogging bed linens and towels in what looked like a hardware shop.  First they made the mistake of targeting retailers rather than the public and then Melody didn’t take any notice of the products that had sold well throughout the first day (the nodding dogs) and chose random electronic items instead.  Do these people have no sense???

Natasha, Susan and Jim made up the other team and it must be said that Natasha was undoubtedly saved by her two team mates.  She was a terrible project manager and just didn’t seem to get the point of the task at all.  She continually put down her other team mates even though they were performing much better than she was and didn’t seem to want to reinvest.  Jim definitely redeemed himself last night as he turned on the charm which was a much needed improvement to the not so nice Jim we witnessed a few weeks ago!

Natasha was downright condescending to Susan.  In fact she was a right horrible witch!  So whilst she was ignoring the task set out by Lord Sugar and the concerns voiced by her team mates I was hoping that this was signalling an impending failure for her so Lord Sugar could kindly get her off my TV screen!

Alas, I was wrong!  (Sad face!)  Team Venture managed to win even though they were fined £100 for not sticking to the brief and as a result had their winners’ treat taken away from them.  Their win also signalled the end to Helen’s winning streak and ultimately the end to Melody’s hope of winning.  The fighting is getting fiercer every week so bring on next weeks task and let’s hope to be saying goodbye to nasty Natasha!!!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEZ6uIsoRC4

The Apprentice Episode 9: Zoe’s Dreams Of Winning Crumble!

The apprentice lot seem to have been taking tips from the Geordie Shore crew with the constant petty and very annoying arguing that was going on in the show last night.  This week the teams had to create a new biscuit and brand and then pitch it to the top UK supermarkets.  With one team […]

The apprentice lot seem to have been taking tips from the Geordie Shore crew with the constant petty and very annoying arguing that was going on in the show last night.  This week the teams had to create a new biscuit and brand and then pitch it to the top UK supermarkets.  With one team not picking up a single order and the other offered £800,000 for exclusiveness with Asda, whose biscuit couldn’t handle the crunch?

Heading up team Logic was Zoe and for team Venture was 8 time task winner Helen.  Surely the other candidates must be relieved when they are in a team with Helen as she has still never lost a single task.  Very impressive!  As the teams got to work at creating their new biscuit brand some terrible ideas and product names were floating about.  A biscuit that replaces popcorn that seemed to have both cornflakes and marshmallows in it for some reason and names like Men That Munch; interesting to say the least.

Zoe’s team eventually settled on Bix Mix with a snap and share concept that failed to wow any of the potential buyers, whereas Helen’s team chose a children’s snack called Special Stars.  The pitches to the buyers this week seemed absolutely awful, in particular for Zoe’s team and their Bix Mix biscuits who opened their pitch with a cringe worthy role play.  On the other team it was Jim’s (Jedi Jim) pitch to Asda that sealed the deal for their mammoth win in the boardroom.  His super ambitious and over the top pitch which involved expensive advertising campaigns and links with movies such as Harry Potter won over the buyers and lead to them ordering a massive 800,000 starting units.  Zoe’s team failed to secure a single order from any of the buyers.

After a shamefully massive defeat Zoe, Tom and Melody found themselves sat in the boardroom and in the firing line.  To be fair they were all at fault for the poor product and terrible pitch but it was team leader Zoe whose dreams of winning crumbled away.  As they candidates are whittled down there seem to be more and more arguments, backstabbing and major disagreements.  Obviously then I can’t wait for next week’s episode!!!

The Apprentice Episode 7: Au Revoir Leon The Teapot Artist!

Ah bonjour!  Leon – that means hello.  This week our little apprentices/business bulldogs were set to descend on Paris and take to them some of the best innovations Britain has to offer!  Team leader for team Venture this week was youngster Suzie and for team Logic it was for the first time Tom. One half […]

Ah bonjour!  Leon – that means hello.  This week our little apprentices/business bulldogs were set to descend on Paris and take to them some of the best innovations Britain has to offer!  Team leader for team Venture this week was youngster Suzie and for team Logic it was for the first time Tom.

One half of the teams were sent straight to Paris to conduct some market research whilst the rest stayed behind to select which products they wanted to force upon the poor unsuspecting French people.  For future reference just in case you ever have to make product selections, the questions to ask are clearly – do the French go camping?  Are the French very fond of their children?  Do the French drive?  Yes, well done, Suzie excellent questions.  They eventually decided on the child’s car seat rucksack and the Universal Travel Grip.  On the other team, the product recommendations made by Tom and Natasha were almost instantly dismissed by Melody as she let her personal views take over.  After conducting some ‘thorough’ research in which Melody shows off her French and Leon shows off his artistic talent, or lack thereof, they (or should I say Melody) convince Tom to choose the Teapot light and pop up postcards as their products.

Whilst Melody dominates her team with Leon trailing behind her like a little lost, non-French speaking puppy, Jim is attempting to arrange sales appointments using the brilliant technique of speaking English but in a strange faux French/European accent.  Also for future reference, if you ever need to make decisions about who should take charge of the most important pitches for your business a good way to decide this is playing scissors-paper-stone as demonstrated by Tom and Natasha.  Really?  Are these really the best candidates for The Apprentice??

I did feel sorry for Tom though, he seemed a bit out of his depth which was probably further magnified by the massive presence Melody had in the episode.  They made a huge error in the pitch set up by big Al himself which ultimately led to their humiliating defeat with the biggest margin in the history of the show.  Oh dear.

Melody’s shark like tactics work as she is saved from the finger of doom leaving it between Tom and Leon.  Alas for poor Leon his artistic skills were just not enough to save him so now Tom is now left with the task of proving himself capable after his poor show last night.  Ah well, let’s hope he doesn’t crumble at the biscuit task next week!!!

Just for you Leon:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0sezoBzESk

The Apprentice Episode 7: Glenn Sent To The Taxi Of Doom!

I have to say, I absolutely loved The Apprentice this week!  The task set to them was to create and publish a ‘Freemium’ (free magazine) and then sell advertising slots to three top agencies!  The team with the highest advertising revenue earned would then win.  Team leader this week for team Venture was Jim and […]

I have to say, I absolutely loved The Apprentice this week!  The task set to them was to create and publish a ‘Freemium’ (free magazine) and then sell advertising slots to three top agencies!  The team with the highest advertising revenue earned would then win.  Team leader this week for team Venture was Jim and on team Logic it was Natasha, both of which were decided by Lord Sugar himself.

Team Logic decided to go for a lad’s mag called Covered, basing this decision on the concept that “sex sells”.  Helen and Tom seemed to completely grasp the concept that they should go a bit more upmarket as they spoke to a focus group who explained their dislike towards the stereotypical lad’s mags.  They pinpointed the ideals of a fun but more serious magazine than the current typical lad’s mag which you would have assumed that team leader Natasha would have embraced!  Don’t be silly, of course she didn’t! The front cover featured a half-naked girl and a finance feature called “How to Blow Your Load.”  Lovely.

Going completely in the other direction, team Venture decided to focus on people aged over 60 for their Freemium.  Some of the names they came up with were truly awful and sounded like bad perfumes and eventually they ended up with the name Hip Replacement.  The whole point of the Freemium was to be saying that 60 is the new 30 and for it to be an uplifting magazine for people of that age range.  Something which they seemed to quickly forget!  It turned into the exact opposite and was patronising with so called Technology Features explaining how to make a phone call.  Oh how uplifting.

With their Freemium published, they had to pitch their shiny new magazines to 3 of the biggest buyers of advertising space.  For Logic, their magazine ‘Covered’ received very mixed reactions, with one of the buyers calling it out-dated and another saying that it needed toned down.  For Team Venture the name was rightly branded “terrible” by all of the buyers and the mismatched tone and loss of irony in the name of the magazine was also picked up on.  One buyer however, did think that it was an ideal niche market and that the contents of the magazine looked good.  Jim’s lack of negotiation and resistance to offering discount was not well received which ‘Bambi’ aka Susan clearly pointed out.

Next step – the boardroom.  It really did seem like team Venture had it in the bag with their mag for the “oldies” however, team Logic swooped in at the last moment and were saved by the last agency who offered to take all the advertising pages which equalled a grand (winning) total of £60,000 to their revenue.  This of course meant that Jim and his team were headed for a grilling from the Sugar monster himself.  How Jim managed to stay I have no idea!  He came across terribly by alienating his entire team and being ridiculously arrogant.  Karen even described him as “passive aggressive.”   However, somehow he escaped from the taxi of doom and it was Glen that we said farewell to.  Not a great loss to the show, but it is safe to say that a lot of people now eagerly await Jim’s firing!  Bring on next week as they jet of to Paris.  Let’s hope we will be saying au revoir to Jim!!!