The Apprentice 2016, Week 4: The best business quotes, gaffes and advice

This latest episode saw teams take over part of the world-famous Liberty of London store. But what can you learn from their business highs-and-lows?

With last week’s task enabling teams to get messy by making sweets and selling them on Brighton Pier, episode four proved a more high-end affair with teams taking over part of the Liberty of London department store to sell scarfs and handbags.

With teams already well versed in the art of selling, this week’s task grouped high end selling, advertising, branding and customer service in one.

You would think the task would have been a doddle for the experienced contestants, right? Well, if the previous 11 series of The Apprentice has taught us anything; it’s that more often than not the contestants find someway to botch things up!

So what can aspiring business owners learn from this week’s installment? Read on to find out…

Biggest shock

With three candidates already fired, the competition was really beginning to heat up. However, with teams Nebula and Titan still in the infancy stage of selecting their team and sub-team leaders, business consultancy owner Aleksandra caused a stir when she announced she would be departing from the show.

Admitting she had found the process “overwhelming and stressful and really intense”, Aleksandra quit to return home to her family.

Business tip: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. A lesson to all aspiring entrepreneurs, never be too proud to admit or acknowledge when you’re out of your depth. Similarly, you may have invested heavily, both financially and emotionally, into a product – but if it isn’t working don’t let it hold you down. Read a case study here on pivoting and learning from failure.

Most honest assessment

Despite repeatedly describing himself as a “natural born leader”, Sofiane’s leadership was less than inspiring. As project manager for Titans on this task, his experience in high end sales appeared to give him no real advantage over his teammates, and he ended the task with a very modest sales record.

Suspicious of his management style throughout the competition, Courtney questioned whether Sofiane was trying to convince the team, or himself, of his supposed leadership skills.

Business tip: When running a business, indecisiveness and a lack of confidence can rub off on your team. Keeping your staff motivated is vital to your business’ success and any mistrust of your leadership abilities could have dire consequences for your business in the long-run. Need to get inspired? Read our inspiration section here.

Best customer service moment

Smashed it - Copy

With candidates from both teams required to work as personal shoppers for the task, teams Nebula(Frances) and Titan(Alana) called clients in advance to understand what styles they liked, and more importantly, what their budget was.

However, much to the annoyance of Lord Sugar, the performances of Alana and Frances could not have been any different.

Maintaining a personal and friendly presence throughout her phone call, Frances’(pictured) endearing nature and ability to effortlessly obtain vital information from the customer, ultimately resulted in a smoother sales process for the team, and shopping experience for the customer.

In stark contrast, Alana’s performance was truly all over the shop and her poor customer service ensured team member Dillion was virtually left in the dark when selecting items for the store.

Alana’s misery was compounded in the boardroom, when Karren Brady revealed the team only sold just over £1,000 worth of clothes to a customer – who had a budget of £5,000!

Business tip: It might sound obvious, but as a start-up it’s essential that you know exactly who you’re selling to and what your target market really is. Make sure your business idea is viable by carrying out market research and adapt your business to your customer’s needs. Read our guides on market research here.

Worst advertising attempt

With both teams allocated a store window to showcase their products, team Titan relied heavily on using Jessica as a window model for their scarf brand Cool for Cats while team Nebula attempted to recreate the New York sky line with their handbags.

While Titan’s use of a window shopper helped them ramp up sales and attract more customers off the street, Nebula’s supposed skyline vision left Claude and most of the team baffled. With team Titan having won the task by the narrowest of margins (the price of one bag), team Nebula’s failure was no doubt influenced by their confusing window display.

After being among the bottom three contestants for the third time, Nebula’s Mukai was told to shut up shop for good and became the fourth contestant to be fired by Lord Sugar.

Business tip: With almost 99% of advertisements having no effect on consumers at all, it’s an understatement to say that your business needs to stand out from the crowd in order to succeed. Being boring and safe won’t do anything to get consumers to remember your brand, while anything too abstract will confuse customers or go completely unnoticed. Read this blog on why consumers are fed up with boring safe ads.

Missed last week’s episode? Catch up on our review of week 3 here.

Catch up on our review of week 2 here.
Catch up on our review of week 1 here.

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