Keep margins and deadlines in mind - comments on this week's Apprentice

16th November 2018

As featured in businessadvice

This week’s challenge saw the teams getting their hands dirty by jumping on the urban gardening trend. While tree surgeon Tom could put his green fingers to work as project manager, the rest of the contestants were revealed to be somewhat green behind the gills.

In a challenge where neither team emerged with one happy customer, there’s not much to be applauded about the winning team’s performance. As project manager of winning team Collaborative, Daniel declared that his sales skills would win the task but went against his own motto, ‘don’t over promise and under deliver’, agreeing to supply expensive AstroTurf for the corporate client without estimating how much this impact the budget.

Daniel did show promise with his people management skills, attempting to split up bickering teammates Jackie and Khadija. Yet when Jackie resisted, Daniel caved and moved Camilla to the corporate team instead. Fortunately, the girls did set their differences aside for day two of the task, yet their practical abilities proved to be dismal.

As PM of losing team Typhoon, Tom’s first failing was sourcing materials for the corporate client’s rooftop space. The brief was something modern and sophisticated but the team delivered a minimal and messy redesign. The client was also dissatisfied by the fact Tom was not on hand to manage the task, having sold the client on his gardening expertise. He did demonstrate good upselling skills but his biggest failing was failing to ensure tools and materials would arrive at site on time, causing the team to miss their hard deadline.

Kayode’s poor performance really stood out in this week’s challenge. His major failing was bringing in a loss, after pulling a price out of thin air. He also showed resistance to taking directions from his PM. While he started the series as the golden boy, the last few challenges have proved Kayode can talk the talk but he just can’t walk the walk.

While gardening and outdoor work were clearly beyond the remit of almost every contestant, each should have been able to sell their services to prospective customers, understand each customer’s individual requirements and price each job accordingly with margins and deadlines in mind. As entrepreneurs, they should have been able to deliver on each of these requirements despite lacking the practical skills to complete any of the jobs to an acceptable standard.