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Friday, May 25, 2007

The Apprentice Three Witches Survive To Cackle Another Day

The Apprentice

The task the apprentices faced this week was another selling one. Sir Alan asked them to go a six countries presentations on 3 of the products they want to export to Britain.

So What Are The Strategic Questions?
The strategic questions I would ask here over all the products before choosing which country's products to sell were:

1) Which are the highest profit making items?
2) Which of those items look to be saleable?
3) Are there any of the items I could use to cross-sell too?
4) Could I sell more than one item to the same buyer?

Which Products Did They Choose To Sell?

The 3 witches, AKA Katie, Naomi and Kristina, wisely picked the 3 Canadian products. Wisely, because they looked as thought they all stood a good chance of selling. Katie led the witches team and Tre "managed" the other team who chose 3 Swedish products.

The Canadian products that the Witches team chose were:

  • colourful insoles
  • A portable sunray lamp
  • A make it yourself rug

The Swedish products that Tre's team chose were:

  • an air filter
  • organic wheat-filled rag dolls
  • vacuum nozzles

The Witches Team Get Stirring

Katie Holmes split her team so that she worked with Naomi rather than Kristian. The Silent Assassin separating herself from her intended victim if things went pear shaped!

Kristina Grimes is used to pharmaceutical products so fastens on the light box as the obvious thing for her to sell. She also cleverly picks up market chemists to go and sell the product to.

Katie and Naomi get a big order for insoles, unsurprisingly as they all seemed convinced they'd buy the things themselves.

Katie spent what seemed like hours asking if people would like to see her rug. To be honest a rug that you pickup split up and reposition sounds like more trouble than it's worth and it's a testament to her perseverance that she sold any. Put it this way I'm not buying one.

Tre And Buddy Simon Get Closer

Tre and Simon really have got awfully close during The Apprentice. You could call them bosom buddies and not be far short of the truth.

One immediate problem Tre had was that he sent Lohit and Jadine back to the house to make calls to get appointments to call on people the following day.

However, when Jadine got back she seemed to spend all her time blubbering because she was missing her children. Get a grip woman, you've managed to be without them for 8 weeks! That's also know as two months where I come from.

That meant Lohit was left to try and book appointments by himself. I don't really think he had any clue at all which companies he should be selling to.

I shared that feeling. After all the organic dolls were a me-too product that actually didn't look very appealing and had no packaging to make it look any more attractive.

The air filter at first glance seemed like the air filter equivalent of The Emperor's New Clothes. That is until you realised that there was a small blue light shining half way up. To improve its sellability if you touched it you seemed to invariably get a shock - an electrostatic one I hope!

And as for vacuum nozzles, good idea but too low a price. Imagine how many they had to sell to make much money with them.

The Apprentices Wandering As Lonely As A Cloud

Because Lohit had made only one appointment Tre and his bud Simon spent the whole day wandering up and down the street trying to find a shop they thought might be interested in what they were selling.

They struggled manfully between shops carrying arm loads of cr** and not really selling much. In addition both Lohit and Jadine seemed completely clueless as to the specifications of the things they were selling. So the team was only firing on 3 out of 4 cylinders.

In the end Tres' team lost by quite a wide margin and because Jadine had ducked out of Tre's briefing and hadn't really contributed she was fired.

Was The Firing Deserved?

In reality Tre had made a complete pigs ear of everything. They all needed to be briefed about the products so that they could go out with confidence to sell. So they should all have gone to the Swedish Trade commission for the briefing. 

In addition my old favourite "strategy" - where was Tre's? Let me guess, on the back of his hand. His choice of products was really uninspired and because the products he chose didn't sell to make enough money to win I would normally have sacked him.

Also Tre had simply wandered up and down town trying to find buyers. He hadn't worked out the best shops to go for beforehand. He simply wasted enormous amounts of time.

That said Jadine was completely out of running on this project. Not being involved in the vital briefing was simply handing her team mates the get out clause if they failed to win.

Lohit and Tre jumped on it as soon as they were brought back into the boardroom for the firing. If Jadine had simply kept herself involved Tre might have gone.

Anyway, Jadine didn't deserve to stay for being surprised that her team mates knifed her in the back with her own dagger.

The sweetest bit was back at the house when they were all waiting to see who got fired. Simon was worried it would be his best mate - Tre. But glory be Tre was saved and Simon and Tre hugged and there was even some sitting on knees involved, but I think we'll now draw the curtain there.

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