The BBC television series “The Apprentice” offers an interesting and entertaining insight into the business world as contestants compete to go into business with Sir Alan Sugar. Whether they are developing a new product, selling on a market stall or creating an ad campaign, business tips can be learned from “The Apprentice”.
First Impressions Are Everything
It can take less than a minute to form an opinion about somebody. Wearing the right clothes, showing up on time and having the right attitude; the small details make a big difference.
In episode 3 of series 8 of “The Apprentice” the task was to create and market a new condiment. After ruining their first batch, Team Sterling showed up to their important business pitch without the product. The client bluntly told them that they would never enter a business agreement without even seeing the product first and the team seemed unprofessional and completely unprepared.
Know Your Market
Even a well-researched and developed product can be completely useless if it’s sold to the wrong market. This was well demonstrated in The Apprentice when the teams were instructed to make and sell street food. One team went to a nearby football ground selling meatballs. Made with the best ingredients and competitively priced against other gourmet products the team expected it to sell well. However, the football fans were accustomed to pie and chips and not gourmet meatballs. It didn’t matter that they had been made by a professional chef as it was the totally the wrong target market.
Listen to the People Around You
It can be easy when making a decision to remain steadfast and even stubborn in your own judgement and decisions. However, it is always beneficial to listen to others and heed their advice. Fellow colleagues may have different skill sets which can help identify potential problems or even offer improvements that you may have overlooked.
A confident and optimistic attitude always shines through. A sales presentation can be researched and delivered well, but it always shows if the speaker isn’t positive. Clients want to see that the person selling to them believes in what they are doing.
In episode 8 of the latest “The Apprentice” series, both teams were meeting with a street artist and the artist had to decide which team he wanted representing his art. Even though contestant Tom proved his extensive knowledge about street art as a medium, the artist chose Gabrielle from the opposing team simply because since she displayed so much enthusiasm.
If You Delegate, Delegate to the Right People
When working on a project it can often be useful to split into different smaller teams so that tasks can broken up and achieved quicker and more effectively. However, when delegating you need to identify which team members have strong leadership attributes. They need to be on board with the overall aims of the project while also being able to show initiative when needed. Delegating to the wrong people can result in projects going in the wrong direction.
The tasks on “The Apprentice” are often excellent examples of the types of decision-making that has to go into a successful business. Although the contestants often make mistakes, their actions make excellent discussion for business ideas and choices that can lead to success or failure.