The Apprentice: Episode 1 – Cape Town – The Task, The Lessons, The Reality.

Week one, Lord Sugar flies the candidates to South Africa to run their own tours. Which in itself sounds like a recipe for disaster; new group of people, first task, new experience and potentially coming head to head with a lion. Not ideal foundations for a first task.

15 years on from his first ever boardroom Lord Sugar is once again eager to invest.

The Apprentice 2019 Candidates

The Apprentice 2019 Candidates


 The Task

The candidates are sent 6,000 miles from home to the city of Cape Town in South Africa. Voted the best city in the world to visit, the candidates will have the opportunity to capitalise on the booming tourism market as they are tasked with setting up and running their own safari and vineyard tours.

The Apprentice Ladies Live from Cape Town

The Apprentice Ladies Live from Cape Town


Key Skills

This task required a number of key skills that are essential in business, but below I have articulated the skill and its relevance :

1) Negotiation – a key skill in business, we all know its importance. But more important that understanding what to say when negotiating is knowing when not to speak. During the task one of the men was trying to renegotiate with a shop owner and the key for that negotiation was silence. Often in negotiation the first to speak loses. Get comfortable with the discomfort of silence.

2) The art of Sales – and it is truly an art form!

Make a sales script:

In today’s task one of the most problematic errors was not asking the right questions. How can you sell someone something if you don’t understand what they are looking for and the pain points? This is essential in business, regardless of what you are selling. In this example, you might be selling tourists a tour, have you asked them any defining questions – have they been on any tours yet? How long have they left? Would they like to go on Safari /wine tasting? Their budget? etc.

It is important to have a sales script, a formula that allows you to ask the right questions, in the right order – first understand the problem, then sell the solution.

Understand your product or service:

Understand the service you are selling in it’s entirety – don’t promise services that you cannot and do not offer. Sounds obvious but in the heat of the moment, particularly on The Apprentice, it is easy to get carried away. That said, time and time again I speak with entrepreneurs who haven’t thought of the intricacies of what they provide and why.

3) Communication

Communication is essential – the biggest lesson I observed whilst on The Apprentice is to look at the opportunities in each task as a team. Yes, you want to win individually (the boardroom is a horrible place if you cannot boast about personal achievements) but fundamentally if you win the task, you all get to the next task together. If you loose as a team because you are playing the ‘me’ game, then you are putting yourself at risk too.

In 2014, you would have heard me saying “Team Work, Makes The Dream Work” but as one of the ladies said today “ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM”.

This communication is also essential when it comes to partner relationships, if you want to achieve a successful partnership with a vendor you need to build via great communication and mutual understanding. Understand their value so that in the early stages of negotiation you are insulting the vendor, that partnership needs to be win-win.

You also need to know when to speak – the example of Lottie speaking over the sommelier, is a nightmare waiting to happen. As is the example of Lottie arguing in front of the customer – remember to maintain your professionalism.

The Reality

There are a few things to think about from this task in addition to the above, so here is a round of quick fire bullet points:

  • Pricing Model : High price = High expectations – if opting for the luxury market, customers expect a luxury service.
  • Confidence : An essential business skill, there is a difference between confidence, bravado, ego and BS.
  • Under promise, Over deliver: Only make guarantees that you can truly promise – what is that saying never work with kids and animals (arguably, people also if this episode is anything to go by).
Baroness Brady on Safari

Baroness Brady on Safari


Who deserved to be fired?

*Spoiler Alert* If you haven’t watched this episode, stop reading now.

The ladies won – its all about the profits ! £44 or not, a win is a win.

The prize for the women for winning was just to be able to go home. I guess the budget was spent on South Africa.

Well, Shahin was fired. He didn’t sell, business is about selling. End of.

(Sadly, task one is the hardest firing to argue as you have nothing else to show for yourself)

IF you don’t consider yourself a salesman, and you cant afford someone to sell on your behalf, then you cant be in business.

Final point – Oh my Cape Town looked beautiful, I definitely need to take a trip.

See you next Wednesday.

Thanks to the Courtesy of :

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