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Alana Spencer: Lord Sugar can easily sniff out who has no business acumen

Written by Alana Spencer on Thursday, 15 November 2018. Posted in Reviews

Winner of The Apprentice 2016, Alana Spencer, explains that while this week’s loser may have shocked viewers, Lord Sugar knows what he’s doing

Alana Spencer: Lord Sugar can easily sniff out who has no business acumen

Should candidates really be expected to be expert garden cleaners? There were a number of times when I was in there that I thought “this task isn’t testing my business proposition.“ But ultimately, what these sort of practical challenges do is test you as an all-round person. For example, the reason Khadija and Jackie didn’t get fired over that floor not being crystal clean is because Lord Sugar isn’t judging candidates on their cleaning abilities but on their adaptability and business acumen. And while Kayode is a terrific salesperson, business acumen is something Lord Sugar felt he didn’t grasp.

The winning team, Collaboration, avoided such judgment. Although Daniel got excited and over-promised to clients which you don’t want to do, he still grasped it and did a pretty good job. When you’re trying to drum up business in those tasks things aren’t always certain so you want to polish every one of your business skills. Obviously, charm and getting customers to like you is a big one, so Daniel did well in that respect.

Khadija – who got dragged into the boardroom last week – also grasped it. However, while she obviously did try really hard, she’s just not showing that much business acumen throughout the process as a whole. Even this week she was still stuck on the first job while the task was coming to an end. And to be honest, if you’ve not done much by this point, you’re likely to be in a bad position.

But given Tom’s tree care business proposition for Lord Sugar involves practical work, he had no excuse losing as project manager of Typhoon. This task was designed for him to step up and show what he's made of but his biggest mistake was forgetting the cleaning equipment and leaving the main team for the sub team on day two. That’s without mentioning letting Sabrina have no creative control.

Speaking of Sabrina, she didn’t do herself any favours in the boardroom. Sometimes it’s best to not say anything and if she did she may not have been brought back as part of the final three. It’s clear she got a bit too vocal to self-compensate for the fact no one seems to be listening to her. In fact, she’s very much the same as I was in there but unfortunately comes across like an easy target and that’s probably why Tom brought her back.

Ultimately, however, Kayode had the target on his face. It’s such a shame because he was so enthusiastic and wanted to sell, sell sell. But, like Lord Sugar said, he maybe just didn't have that business acumen. After all, if your product costs around £300 to produce and you sell it for £130 you’re not going to make profit. He would have been better not to sell that job at all, frankly.

However, I think he should have been given another chance. There are always situations where people make mistakes and learn from them and I think this is Kayode’s first mistake. If it’d been explained to him I get the impression he’s the sort of person that would learn from it and grow. It’s a shame.

Personally, I think Tom should have been fired. I’m not saying Kayode is the right person to be Lord Sugar’s business partner but Kayode was learning and growing so much and he’s just someone that never gives up even when he’s done wrong. With that energy and excitement, it could have been fairer to get rid of Tom.

Now, the two main ones really sticking out as potentials to get fired are Khadija and Sarah. Neither of them seem to be doing all that much even at this point. I don’t know if that’s because the others are getting more airtime but they just don’t seem to be giving it their all. After this week I’m sure they’ll be watched very, very closely. 

About the Author

Alana Spencer

Alana Spencer

Since securing a business partnership with Alan Sugar in The Apprentice 2016, Alana Spencer's cake company Ridiculously Rich has been doing ridiculously well. As a winner of the series, she's writing a weekly round-up detailing the performance of The Apprentice 2018 candidates exclusively for Elite Business

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