The Apprentice 2019 episode one review: 10 business lessons

The Apprentice 2019 episode one review: 10 business lessons
Ahrani Logan
Ahrani LoganPeapodicity

Posted: Fri 4th Oct 2019

Lord Sugar and co are back! Ahrani Logan, Enterprise Nation member and founder of Peapodicity, shares 10 business lessons from the first episode in the new series of The Apprentice.

The 15th series of The Apprentice landed on BBC1 on Wednesday night and saw 16 new fresh-faced candidates ready to battle it out for a life-changing opportunity and the chance to be Lord Sugar's new business partner.

In what the show describes as "the toughest interview of their lives", each newbie is competing for a £250,000 investment and a 50:50 share of their business with the lord of entrepreneurship.

The first task of the series had candidates jet off to sunny South Africa, but this was not a simple 'jolly'. Their challenge pitted the girls against the boys, and was to set up and run a bespoke tour around the Cape Town countryside, giving clients the tourism experience of a lifetime. As usual, the team that made the most profit would win and one member of the losing team would be fired.

Drawing on individual team members experience, team and sub-team managers were chosen and the battle commenced.

The girls chose to do a wine tour, the boys, a Safari excursion. Whilst profit would be tallied, the clients, if unhappy, could also get their money back.

The first challenge was to set the price that the client might want to pay for the experience. The teams set out to meet with the experience providers and attempted to negotiate a price for client entry.

Both teams suggested reducing their cost price if they brought in a full house of sixteen clients. Both providers agreed to these terms. But neither of the teams fulfilled the 16 client number requirement. They both also faced the risk that Lord Sugar's trusty eagle eyes, Claude and Karen, pointed out:

1: Don't over promise

If you over-promise, there is the risk that you might under-deliver and this can lose you money through unhappy clients.

Don't set expectations too high. Don't make promises to customers that you can't fulfil.

With wine this might have been the taste and quality of the wine. With a safari, the promise of seeing all five big name animals might be short-changed due to the unpredictable nature of animals.

Whilst losing up front might eat into profits, the teams also had another lifeline in terms of sales and this was the end of experience gift store visit. Of course, an unhappy client is less likely to want to part with more cash by the end of an experience that didn't live up to their expectations.

Both teams seemed to come a cropper when it came to communication..

2: Listen to your team

...and don't interrupt

Fault was found with one team member speaking over another during a key negotiation in the boys team.

One member of the girls team seemed to refuse to listen to the tour specialists and their knowledge and continuously interrupted with their own wine knowledge.

When sub-teams let each other down, the boys were better able to pull together and get on with the teamwork and task at hand.

3: Be adaptable

Not being adaptable can lose you customers.

The girls team allowed some customers to pay more than others, for the same experience, as pressure to sell increased as the day wore on. This, of course, can lead to disgruntled customers if they find out that their rates are different.

4: Be realistic about your pricing

...and know where you fit on the scale

As tour guides, within the winery and on the African plains, both teams had members become unstuck when asked basic questions.

Stumbling, getting lost, fudging answers, does nothing when dealing with a paying customer who you may one day want as a repeat customer.

5: Research and know your product

...before engaging with your customer

6: Easier to keep customers than acquire new ones

So make sure you treat current customers correctly.

Back in the boardroom, Lord Sugar gave his take on events and his business advice matched his trusty colleagues Claude and Karen.

7: Price your product equally to all customers

8: If the buying price is low enough, your profit margin with be higher

The boys ended up in the losing team by just around £44 short of profit. After much consideration, Lord Sugar decided to fire a member of the sales sub-team, who didn't make any sales and had also interrupted team members during a negotiation that, according to Karen who was observing, had otherwise been going well and was at a potential turning point.

9: Don't interfere and override good negotiations

Finally as the boardroom became heated Lord Sugar reminded the first boys team manager one of the most important business leadership skills of them all..

10: Outbursts don't work in professional setting

Keep your cool no matter how upset you are.

Ahrani Logan
Ahrani LoganPeapodicity
Ahrani is CEO and Co-founder of multi-award-winning Augmented Reality (AR) STEAM EdTech company Peapodicity. Co-creator of AR STEAM brand AugmentifyIt®️ with its range of educational cards. Winners of Best Science Toy Gold 2017; Bronze 2018 and currently shortlisted for Best Science Toy 2019. Found in schools and homes in 20 countries, to date. A former BBC Science and Education TV Producer, Ahrani is a STEM Ambassador for STEM Learning. A collaboration with Guinness World Records saw AugmentifyIt®️ bring the ‘Wild Things’ publication to life, released October 2018.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.