The Apprentice: Where do they find these people?

The Apprentice is back!  It’s that time of year again that leaves us all asking “where do they find these people?”

The task was simple. Lord Sugar handed both teams a miserly £250 to come up with a business to make as much profit as possible from fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Project Managers

The girls chose Melody as Project Manager.  When I say ‘chose’, I mean Melody battered her colleagues into submission by reeling off her vast array of talents, skills, experience and prophecies on great leadership.  The highlight was Melody’s alleged one-on-one mentoring from the Dalai Lama himself.


Hmmm… orange or grapefruit?”

On to the real star of the first episode – the boys’ Project Manager Edward.  An Accountant by trade, Edward was intent on ruling with an iron fist.  He showed a unique mix of being incredibly bossy whilst simultaneously not having a clue what he or anyone else was supposed to be was doing.

The task

The girls opted to produce and market pasta and fruit salads, while the boys went for freshly squeezed orange juice and soup.

Things quickly pear-shaped for the boys though.  Their juicer broke, panic set in, and the production line of orange faltered.  A vital selling opportunity at breakfast time was missed, and from then on it was an uphill task for the boys.

The boardroom

The outcome?  The boys lost.  It was always going be difficult when your Project Manager has to ask “Is this an orange?” when faced with a box full of oranges.

So up-stepped Edward to face the music, tin helmet on and encyclopaedia of excuses at the ready.  Lord Sugar immediately pulled Edward up on his strategy, business plan, costs and revenue projections.  The main issue being Edward didn’t have any of these.

Cue machine-gun fire of clichés from Edward:  “bottom-up approach”, “I don’t fit the mould”, “when I am producing, that is production”.  Unfortunately Edward’s perception of himself as a creative, maverick leader didn’t convince Lord Sugar.

The boys lost because they didn’t get their numbers right – an astonishing oversight with a trained Accountant as their leader.  Here at Sage we’re big fans of Accountants, but Edward didn’t do you justice.

Edward failed because he didn’t play to his strengths.  Instead of sticking to the fundamentals of projecting costs, sales and revenue (by the way we have software that can help with that), Edward wanted to be an inspirational leader.  Unfortunately he got it wrong.

The moral of the story?  Play to your strengths, stick to what you’re good at and don’t try and be something you’re not.  Personally I was sad to see Edward go.  There was plenty more entertainment left in him I’m sure. He could have even been the next Stuart “The brand” Baggs.

As for the other candidates…

Tip for the top: Helen or Gavin

Next for the chop: Glenn or Edna

Watch the Apprentice on the BBC iPlayer.

Iain Ramsay, Small Business Team