The Apprentice 2016, Week 1: The best business quotes, gaffes and advice

The first episode of the new series saw teams Titan and Nebula sell antiques. So what can aspiring entrepreneurs learn from the wanna-be tycoons?

Returning to our screens for a 12th season, The Apprentice is almost like a gift that keeps on giving.

From contestants’ outrageous claims to boardroom backstabbing, each year we are provided with some of the best TV moments of the year.

But behind all the thrills and spills, come some real business lessons. We take a look at what aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from week one and two opposing teams; Nebula and Titan…

Most outlandish claim

The Apprentice series 12 episode 1: The best business quotesWhile humility isn’t exactly a trait you’d come to expect from some business people, Apprentice candidates are renowned for over confidence – and that’s putting it lightly.

When asked about what makes them so special, here’s what some candidates had to say:

  • “I’m the business equivalent of a diamond; I can sparkle and light up a room but if you’re not careful I could cut you.” Dillon St Paul
  • “I’m like a bouncing puppy; I’ve got loads of infectious enthusiasm and I’m going to make loads of money.” Rebecca Jeffery
  • “All I’ve ever been interested in is having as much money and as much power as I can.” Alana Spencer
  • “Behind my boyish good looks is a very shrewd business man. I’ve never been fired in my life and it’s not going to start now.” Courtney Wood
  • “I’m an ex-world karate champion and I’m really not afraid of a fight.”Frances Bishop
  • “The sheer energy that I am going to bring is going to mimic that of a nuclear explosion.” –  Aleksandra King

When it certainly seems the contestants have no problem ‘talking the talk’, this week’s top spot is reserved for Karthik Nagesan who appears not just hell-bent on becoming Lord Sugar’s business partner, but also the prime minister!

Business tip: While confidence and self-motivation is vital for any entrepreneur, business owners should ensure their feet stay firmly on the ground and not get too carried away with their own ego. As the old adage goes, “self-praise is no praise at all”. Not as enthusiastic as this year’s candidates? Read our dedicated self-motivation section.

Building a website for your business idea is easier than you might think. Our online tool ranks the top website builders that offer free trials.

Biggest business mistake

Apprentice meme1Throughout The Apprentice’s history, viewers have been subject to some questionable business decisions and this year was no different.

With Claude describing team Nebula’s market stall as “a fire sale right from the start till the very end”, Nebula’s selling techniques were disjointed with no one having any real grasp on value or high end selling.

Deciding to take a sudden detour to antique wholesaler in Marylebone, team Nebula arrived with just one thing missing – stock. Failing to tell the driver about their decision to detour, their van full of antiques had made its way to their original destination of Camden which lost the team valuable time.

Despite being on the winning side, Titan weren’t immune from some poor errors of judgement either; selling £300 worth of stock to a buyer who didn’t have any cash.

Although there was gaffes galore for both teams, no candidate was left more red-faced than hair and beauty salon owner Natalie. Believing she had gotten a good deal, it was revealed in the board room that she had actually sold vases for £15…when they were actually worth £300.

Business tip: Struggling with selling throughout the task, team Nebula were victims to knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing, and repeatedly undersold. Offloading stock before even unloading it, Nebula proved you can be a little too eager to sell and showed their hand too early in negotiations with experienced street-wise wholesalers. A mistake that cost team leader Michelle dearly, being the first to get fired.

Unsure about how to position yourself in the market? Worried you’ll give customers too much of a good deal? Then visit our dedicated channels for pricing, negotiating and sales.

Worst team name

The Apprentice series 12 episode 1: The best business quotesAs with previous years, both teams were divided by gender and asked to brainstorm and come up with their team’s name. While the men’s team initially rejected names like “Alpha” for being “butch and clichéd”, they eventually choose JD’s suggestion of Titan after “titans of industry, leaders of men” or “Greek god bad assess”.

After mulling over suggestions like Rebecca’s “Click” which was thought to sound too much like a girl band, the women’s team took on Alexsandra’s choice of Nebula (an interstellar cloud of dust), despite Alana’s concern that sounded “a little bit like a disease”. Lord Sugar seemed to agree with Alana’s reservations saying the team name sounded like “toxic gas”.

Business tip: While the teams’ names hold little significance within the series, the truth is that outside in the real world your business name says a lot about who you are and what you do. Choose wisely and your brand could prove to be an effective marketing tool, while a poorly thought-out choice could leave potential customers confused or even deterred. Read our guides to choosing a business name for more advice.

Best put down by Lord Sugar


apprentice meme 3Renowned for his off the cuff remarks and put downs, Lord Sugar’s cutting commentary can, occasionally, leave contestants feeling a little-less confident.

Listening to team Nebula quarrel among themselves about who was to blame for the loss of the task, Lord Sugar quipped “Vintage? I could have aged 10 years listening to this story!” But arguably the tycoon’s most important business lesson came in his opening remarks where he warned: “One in four entrepreneurs who start a business fail in the first 24 months.”

Business tip: A timely reminder of the risks of running a business, it’s this fear of failure that keeps many from realising their entrepreneurial dream. But it shouldn’t have to be this way, and with every disappointment comes opportunity for learning and growth. Read here why failure is fast becoming a new badge of honour for start-ups!


(will not be published)