The Apprentice Blog: Expert opinions from those in the know (Week 10)
Fri, 25 May 2012
Our two former Apprentice contenders – Ellie Reed and Natasha Scribbins – blog on this year’s series of The Apprentice. Though she’s been on holiday, Reed has got her thoughts in from afar this week.
Her blog starts below the ad:
While I’ve been sunning myself in Spain, two more girls have gone – Laura and Jenna. In last week’s episode Stephen was definitely ‘the one who got away’ and although he is very motivated and driven, he is too keen to push the blame on others when things go wrong.
So this week it’s all about discounts. The teams are asked to take to London to persuade enterprises to part with up to 50% discount for a 24-hour period in a bid to get more customers. They are working on behalf of Key 1, who stress that they are only interested in luxury discount offers.
This is a new and interesting task as it tests their skills of both being able to select the right companies to target and then negotiating the right offers. Stephen is allocated the project manager (PM) role for Sterling after telling Lord Sugar he can put his money where his mouth is, and Jade is chosen for Phoenix as she has a wealth of experience dealing with email marketing.
For Sterling, Stephen and Gabby head off in one direction and Ricky another. Pretty soon Stephen and Gabby are securing a multiple deal at the dentists, while recruiter Ricky is… looking at the various views from a high-class restaurant and eating scallops!
Meanwhile on Pheonix, Jade’s team are still chewing over companies to approach. However Jade eventually manages to secure an appointment with a luxury spa and so heads off with Nick, hoping they are on to a winner.
After more scallops and frantic business dealings on both sides, at the final count Jade’s team have six deals and Stephen’s team have secured nine, but we all know it’s often quality not quantity so it could go either way! Whichever deals Key 1 go with they will be live for 24 hours before the figures are totted up in time for the boardroom battle.
The following day in the boardroom Lord Sugar has a bit of a go at a few of them for securing non-luxury deals – the fish spa – and for failing to secure as many deals as they could have ie scallop-stuffed Ricky with his capped meal deals.
The figures are revealed and although three of Sterling’s deals were used, as opposed to only two of Phoenix’s, Phoenix take more than double the figures. So it’s just three in the café and although Ricky did make a couple of mistakes, as he brought in £6,090 and Gabby and Stephen only brought in £350, he knows he’s pretty safe.
In the boardroom its handbags at dawn for Ricky and Stephen. Ricky accuses Stephen of buckling under pressure and bottling it. The usual overly confident Stephen looks a shadow of his former self after losing his bet with Lord Sugar that if he was PM he would win. To me Gabby looks like she’s had enough of all the arguing. (I too felt like that after five weeks), so as Lord Sugar gives her the finger she smiles her usual infectious smile and practically skips out the door. Stephen looks relieved at Gabby’s sacking (same as Vince Disneur did with mine) but then Lord Sugar lifts his finger again and he’s toast as well. I’m sure he’s a nice guy really but I haven’t been keen in his underhand methods of blame shifting during this process.
Ricky returns to the house feeling pumped full of scallops and the Lord’s approval. Well done Ricky, you live to fight another week!
Ellie Reed, who previously to appearing in last year’s series was a senior consultant with Beresford Blake Thomas, founded and now runs her own rec-to-rec business – Ellie Reed Consulting – in West Yorkshire and is also involved in motivational speaking in schools.
Natasha Scribbins made it to the final five contestants on last year’s Apprentice and is now group operations director EMEA at engineering recruiter Find the Engineer and rec-to-rec firm We are Recruitment. Both enterprises encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of recruitment by hiring consultants to work as associates.