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Go with your strengths, not your weaknesses

Written by Alana Spencer on Friday, 28 January 2022. Posted in Reviews

Alana Spencer reveals why being a team player is everything on The Apprentice – if you don’t want to get fired

Go with your strengths, not your weaknesses

Winner of The Apprentice 2016, Alana Spencer, explains why tension and squabbles between teammates is never a good thing

Last week I said that the two people I saw potential in were Alex and Harpreet, and this week they were both project managers. So, it's interesting to see how they fared against each other. Harpreet has a dessert bar, it's very similar to what we do at Ridiculously Rich. She was a perfect fit for this task because she has got experience in the food industry. She'll understand buying ingredients, selling food how upselling works in terms of adding add ons, which is so important. She was absolutely the right person to be the project manager for this task. 

Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone really suited on the other team, so I do feel Alex was pushed into being the project manager. It seemed like no one wanted to step up to the plate, so more power to him for stepping up to the role. They were told to pack an overnight bag which would have been a moment of real excitement as they might have thought that they were going abroad. However unfortunately for them, there was no such luck and they went down to Cornwall - which is very beautiful, don’t get me wrong. During my time on The Apprentice, we didn't get to go abroad either so I feel their pain. 

The teams were involved in a fish-themed challenge where they were told to catch seafood, prepare, cook and sell them on this week’s task. The task was testing them on their ability to not over order, to get on top of their margins and ensure their profits are right. It also tested teams on their sales skills when selling their foods. It's a very different environment when you're selling to a corporate customer, in this case, a restaurant. Time management and attention to detail were also tested in this week's task.  

Harpreet assigned Francesca as her sub-team leader to go out and catch the fish - and what a dream team they are! Francesca is another contestant I'm fascinated by. I think she’s a real natural leader and is quite likeable, so she was a good person to put on the boat as the sub-team leader. She is also an impressive fisherwoman and seemed to be catching the most fish as well! 

When selling their products to the hotel, Alex's team forgot to mention the fresh crab they caught which is pretty unforgivable. The whole premise of this task was for them to catch and then sell a product. But they only focused on the products that they were buying to sell. And therefore, I suspect the margin on those products will be far less than the products they've gone out and caught.

In the pitch, Alex also unfortunately mentioned that there was a large supply of the type of fish they were selling. The customer responded by marking the price down and managed to haggle a better price for the fish bringing Alex’s team less profit. Harpreet led her team’s pitch, telling their client they were going to get them the best quality of pollack fish. She set her team a huge task, setting a really high bar. It’s a good thing to do when trying to drive a higher price point. It’s a risky move, and they eventually had to drop their price because of it. But I do admire the fact that she went in there with a higher price point based on a really good quality fish being offered.  

When it came to the judges choosing the products, it became glaringly obvious that Harpreet has experience in the food industry. The fish tacos they created looked delicious and eye-catching and would be perfect for a farmers market environment. My business, Ridiculously Rich, started on the farmers market so I've seen many hot food stalls do well selling food that people understand – not things that need to be explained. Alex's team went with crab for their main dish of arancini. I only knew what an arancini was a couple of years ago, so it's not something that is widely known by everyone. Whereas everyone knows what a taco or burger is, and it is a real missed opportunity from Alex's team. The product would probably sell very well in a restaurant environment but the food festival street markets are very different. Unfortunately, that team missed the mark. Not only is an arancini very time consuming to make, and whilst price point is key in making sure that product is cheap, it’s also very important that you have the time to get to the market otherwise there's no money at all.  

There was a little bit of tension between Steph, Sophie and Amy over who was going to sell the arancini to customers at the food market. I’ve said this before if you win as a team no one gets fired. So, I agree with Lord Sugar when he tells the contestants to just get their top sellers out the front. When I was on The Apprentice, I wasn't necessarily the best seller while on the show, but I focused on what I was good and that was making sure that everyone came to the right price point and that we had our best sellers out there selling. They wasted valuable time bickering when they could have been out there drumming up customers.  

We’ve seen very little of Bethany. Either she has done a lot in the background, or she hasn’t done much at all and is coasting through. We definitely need to see more of her in the next few weeks. Akshay ended up in the bottom three again and was in the losing team four times. I've noticed he puts out an opinion very softly just so he can say that he had an opinion. He is definitely one I don't expect to go much further, I think he's on borrowed time at this point. Alex, Akshay and Kathryn were in the bottom three this week. I feel like Akshay didn't have the right attitude compared to the other two, and I feel like he should have been fired. We could have seen a little bit more from Alex, so it was a shame that he went home. I don't think Kathryn should have been in the bottom three. I think should have been someone from the other team, purely just to give a counter of soft balanced argument on what both sides were doing.

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 candidates exclusively for Elite Business.

Follow Alana Spencer on Twitter @alana_spencer_, Instagram @ridicrichbyalana and her Facebook page Ridiculously Rich by Alana.

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