The Apprentice – Lack of leadership and direction costs a team dearly

Week 10 of The Apprentice and another candidate has to bite the dust.  This week the candidates have to ‘grow a business’.  Each team is given £150 to buy stock with to sell at Spitalfields Market in East London, they need to ‘smell what sells’ in order to restock quickly and make more money.  The second day of the task they have to move from their market stall to a shop, the team with the most assets at the end of day 2 is the winner.

Lord Sugar decides to go back to the start and pits the boys against the girls for the challenge. Myles and Jordan put themselves forwards as project manager and it’s up to Neil to have the casting vote.  He concludes that smooth-talking, Monaco-living Myles is better suited to flogging stuff on a market stall than Jordan.  Over in the girls’ team both Leah and Luisa put themselves forward for the main role and Francesca decides that Luisa is the woman for job given her retail experience.

Straight away the girls get down to business and decide they want to sell fashion items on their market stall, in particular low cost items such as hats and leggings.  Luisa seems to be leading her team well and for once the girls appear to be getting on very well, all agreeing on the direction and strategy of the task.  Luisa sends Francesca off to do some market research on markets while she and Leah go to buy stock.

Myles’ team has less direction and the boys spend a long time deciding what to sell, in fact they almost have to be pushed into making a decision by Karren as the clock ticks away.  They reluctantly decide on homeware for their store and look to seek out relatively high value items to sell.  Chancing upon a bespoke ceramic maker they buy a few over-priced butter dishes, ceramic note pads and ceramic rubber gloves.  In all they purchase 16 items for their market stall, let’s hope it’s a small stall!

The girls’ hats and leggings stall appears to be doing a brisk trade, the same cannot be said for the sparsely laid out ceramic stall.  Whilst Neil and Myles struggle to get anyone to look at their goods, Jordan goes in search of some cheaper items to sell and comes back with greeting cards.   With dismal sales, the team decide that Jordan should take the greetings cards and try to off-load them as wholesale to another stall or shop, he manages to raise £25 doing this, although it takes him about 4 hours to do so.

Day 2 arrives and the teams swap the market for a pop-up mall in Shoreditch.  Each team has an empty shop (or converted shipping container) to fill with stock to sell to the unsuspecting public.  Although in Myles’ case, filling the shop or even a shelf with stock is proving to be a tricky business so he comes up with a master plan of abandoning the shop and using an old mirror as a stall at the entrance of the shop.

The girls decide they need some higher prices items to sell in their nicely stocked and decorated shop, so dispatch Francesca to buy some dresses.  She comes back with some nice tea dresses which the girls hope to sell for £65.

Jordan is again sent off to find some more cheap items to sell and at 1pm comes back to the stall with some candles.  Meanwhile, somehow, Neil manages to get people to part with real money for their ceramic nick-nacks.

The girls’ shop is busy, but no-one seems interested in the dresses so it’s back to the wholesalers for more hats.  Myles and Neil ponder over whether to blow their money on a single high-end item to sell, after much umming and ahhing Myles finally takes the decision to send Jordan back to the ceramic maker to find something they can sell for a high price.   Jordan typically takes ages on his mission and then comes back with a unique looking vase (so unique it doesn’t actually resemble a vase in any shape or form) that they hope to flog for £190.  Not unsurprisingly, Myles and Neil immediately wash their hands of the product once they see it and instruct Jordan to try and peddle it in nearby shops.

Back in the boardroom and Lord Sugar is finding it difficult to come up with any terrible to say about the girls, and with good reason as they easily win the task by around £300.  The boys argue about whether Myles or Jordan is to blame for their fiasco and are sent to the café to lick their wounds.

With all three boys in the boardroom Lord Sugar takes the opportunity to find out a little bit about their business propositions.  Neil wants to set up an on-line estate agents, Myles want to set up an on-line luxury marketing company and controversially,  Jordan wants to set up a business with a third person involved—something that Lord Sugar instantly dislikes and we get to watch Jordan squirm so badly he almost vomits.

However, Jordan is let off the hook—one imagines because the interviews next week will get to the bottom of this three man business—and Myles is sent back to Monaco.  It’s a hard life for some!

How would your people fare in a Team Apprentice team building event ?  Could they grow a successful business from scratch?  Will they be able to hone their leadership and decision making skills like Luisa, or find themselves floundering like Myles?