If your name is Sarah and you happen to be sophisticated, you may want to look away especially if pondering on purchasing an electric bike.
But the question must be, if you are so sophisticated why would you want an electric bike in the first place? Perhaps your mate Stacey with a potentially unsophisticated
name may be far more interested and consider a hideous foldaway bike called Aphrodite?
Another week and another task for the viewers at home to shout at their
TV's as they watch the dynamics of the remaining candidates alter as the numbers start to dwindle and the game playing begins.
The task; to create an
electric bike, choose an accessory and together launch them and sell to an audience including some of the biggest bike retailers in the UK. Sounds straight forward! What could go wrong? ........... so much! And it did especially for one team -
The results were two very ugly electric bikes with horrendous names! It was the week where the highest sales were seen on The Apprentice
with £1.2 million pounds worth of sales secured for N/Empower with their lovely navy creation Aphrodite. Why would anyone name an electric bike Aphrodite the goddess of love associated with love, beauty, pleasure, passion and procreation? There
was nothing beautiful about this electric bike and even though Iasha PM banged on about tyres, would that make it more pleasurable? Passion was definetly not a word you could use on looking at this very ordinary fold away bike with a basket on the front
designed for sophisticated shopping needs and depending on the design of the saddle procreation may be affected, but not in a good way!
There were many things
Team N/Empower could have done better and differently and some valuable lessons to be learnt for both teams. But, as always in this process do these candidates ever reflect, review and take on board where they went wrong? As the episodes continue
it doesn’t appear to be the case!
Before getting into the nitty gritty of Week 4, a huge distraction from the off was Karen Brady’s trousers.
What was the woman wearing? What in heavens name was she thinking? A pair of very creased, very big and baggy white linen trousers with a belt hanging down so much it looked odd. The whole outfit did nothing for her resembling a sack previously
used to keep potatoes.
Back to nitty gritty. The biggest question of all – whose turn would it be to answer the phone this week?
It was Ryan Mark kitted out in a blue ensemble complete with socks suspiciously answers the phone, one that looks like an item found on the Antiques Roadshow.
Saying nothing he listens intently before rushing upstairs to share the news. Does this candidate wear his socks to bed? Or did he forget to pack his designer slippers?
London Transport Museum is the destination to discover what their next assignment is and as always, there is lots of speculation to the outcome and whose neck will be on the line before they even know what lies ahead.
Dean predicts Lottie will be the next to go, which sort of sets the scene to how people in the house are feeling about the librarian who seems to get up everyones nose and under
Cue the woman herself; Lottie who states she doesn’t want to end up in the boardroom again. Wise words Lottie best not to dwell
on it, just crack on love! However, the B room crops up once more in conversation whilst on route where she is asked how she found it. Very stressful Lottie admits but as only Lottie can, she did turn it into a positive so felt she now knew Lord
Sugar better than any of the girls in the car as they hadn’t been in that position. Her comments caused lots of eyebrows to be raised and I am convinced Lottie hasn’t got a scooby to how she comes across or if she does, she doesn’t
give a damn!
At the traffic light meeting point Lord Sugar gives them all the green light on the objectives of the task with some background info. Their
mission; to design a bike, create a prototype, launch it and pitch to retailers in addition to selecting a bike accessory to sell at the event. They have 2 days to design and launch their electric bikes. Lord Sugar swaps a few of the team members
around and as always, they start the task with deciding who will lead and take on the heady role of PM.
For Unison, Riyonn gets the wheels in motion by finding
out what experience everyone has with electric bikes and by doing so the team discovers Lubna can’t even ride a normal bike. However, she is quick to add she has good vision and good instincts so could add value (not sure if she is referring to
quickly learning how to ride a bike or if this is what she can offer in a lame pitch to be PM).
Lottie; just waiting in the wings confidently to wow the others,
shame they didn’t feel the same presents her reasons to why she should manage the task. “So, my family all actually own electric bikes” – Tick, “I own one” – Tick “My partner used to own a bike company”
– Bingo – 3 very good reasons why! “So, I would like to put myself forward as I am confident, I know the industry and know what the consumer is looking for!” – Go Lottie! But Lottie was going nowhere as the look of
her teammates faces said it all; they are less than impressed with Lottie, apart from Scarlett who seems open to her leading. But what other options do they have?
on here cycling up the fast lane is Thomas aka ‘The Nuts’ who also expresses an interest to be PM. Although he has never manufactured bikes, he has manufactured a lot of furniture and lots of pillows and sold to a lot of retailers. It’s
the pillows that did it for me! Bet, he’s gonna smash it! With 4 against 2 in the vote, Thomas wins hands up!
It appears that Lottie has done
something off piste to piss off her teammates. Lottie has provided evidence at times of having a cold heartless selfish ruthless streak about her and often is condescending to others with or without knowing it. As much as it can be argued these
personality traits are needed to stand up for yourself in business, it also appears she doesn’t seem to see the importance of trust and building up good relationships with others.
Her teammates didn’t want to appoint her as PM as the majority find her difficult to work with and therefore wont give her a chance and this will be the same with the Sub Team Leader role and eventually if she continues
to grate on peoples nerves, they will just not involve her at all and freeze her out altogether!
On N/Empower Iasha put herself forward for PM as she has
designed electronic products and pitched to retailers. Ryan Mark summarises, sees the relevance and the team all agree they are happy for her to lead.
Iasha kicks off by getting feedback from the group to what sort of cyclist they felt their bike would be designed for. Carina states the commuter having known people to use fold up bikes taking away the stress of getting to work. Iasha is keen
on the yummy mummy market and says, “I don’t know if any of you have ever seen those who take their children shopping with them with baskets?” Sorry Iasha are you asking if they have ever seen women take their children shopping before?
Is it just me who switches off when she talks feeling its slimegate all over again – welcome to another week and the ramblings of Iasha!
Lewis is not
convinced about the yummy mummy market feeling its too niche which others agree with, but Iasha states ‘parents’ are a big market feeling there is space there to innovate. Cue Ryan Mark; summariser, peace maker and mover forward who says
they are happy to support their new PM with whatever USP she decides.
On the other team Thomas’s vision is around people getting fit aiming it at the
mature market liking the thought of an electric bike that will safely take you home. Marianne gets inspirational randomly quoting “Push the boundaries as far as you want because you’ll always get home.” Why do you get the feeling this
is a statement she has said before, perhaps it’s her work mantra? Hope she doesn’t own a pair of red shoes and accidentally clicks them together ending up at home – wouldn’t that be a shame!
But Thomas aka ‘The Nuts’ likes it and his vision continues about pushing oneself, pushing boundaries, turning to what the bike should be like. He is seeing nice (no salesman says
would you like to buy this nice bike!), classic looking (better), one that looks classy and you are proud to be seen on it! From his vision Lottie is quick to state she would like to put myself forward as sub team leader and Marianne not missing a trick
puts her hat in the ring stating, “as would I”.
It would be Thomas’s first big decision to make but let’s not forget
this is aka ‘The Nuts’ – not a geezer to fall at the first hurdle or come over as indecisive or make a decision without thinking it through! He picks Marianne as sub team leader and immediately Lottie is on his case. “Marianne
doesn’t have a bike and I do”. Great point Lottie and it’s not any old bike, it’s an electric one! There must have been some sort of rationale in his nutty brain to why he overlooked Lottie. Lottie looked confused.
Karen looked confused. Marianne looked jubilant.
The rationale is made public “I just fancy Marianne, think she can really, really lead”.
So, what he is saying is; 1) that he finds her attractive 2) that he fancies his chances on her bit like betting on a horse to win a race 3) only thinks isn’t sure. Big mistake Thomas massive mistake! He should have put his nutty brain into
gear before opening that huge hole called his mouth and made better choices setting aside whatever personal feelings he had about Lottie and recruited the best person for the job!
Cue Thomas to camera. “The design team have got to follow what I’ve said to make sure it looks the nuts (hard to visualise unless your Thomas aka ‘The Nuts’), make it nice and classy for the mature market;
there is no excuse”.
The teams split down further with one halve responsible for the design of the bike and the other must choose an accessory to sell
at their launch.
Iasha concentrated on profiling the customer. “I’m picturing this very very stylish woman who is going to ride this bike,
so shall we give her a name?” Pamela suggests Sarah adding the word Sophisticated which caused much excitement for Iasha who agreed sophisticated is just what Sarah was. In hindsight Pamela you should never have mentioned those two words together,
causing Iasha to repeat them so many times it was like having a parrot in the room becoming both annoying and irrelevant especially as she changed Sophisticated Sarah’s lifestyle constantly and the profiling for the bike produced was way off beam!
Iasha asked her sub team consisting of Dean, Pamela and Carina what name would Sophisticated Sarah want from her bike? Dean said classy, but not listening
Iasha was in her world of unicorns and candyfloss. ”OMG do you know any Greek goddesses?” What personally? Aphrodite was the first and only option which Iasha immediately liked and sat the rest of the journey grinning like a Cheshire
cat, one that presumable Sophisticated Sarah would own! I wonder if by choosing a name like Aphrodite she gave any thought how it would define and limit the market?
Nottingham the home of leading British brand Raleigh, surrounded by bikes gave Lottie plenty of inspiration for names. First suggestion: Energy spelt ener and capital G. Riyonn immediately didn’t like it Marianne pulled a face. Second
suggestion: How about ele trick? Riyonn and Marianne pull faces. Third Suggestion: Bye cycle? Marianne looks at Riyonn as if to say please?? It is becoming clear they are shutting Lottie out, but Lottie is not someone to keep quiet
even if you are giving her a look of daggers and at least she is putting forward ideas. Marianne suggests Boundary spelt Bounda ree as it will support the strap line and as she is Sub Team Leader it becomes the name rather than a suggestion.
Cue Lottie who says no one is listening to her ideas even though she is trying to contribute as much as she can, she feels that the person who has an electric bike is
not being listened to and this may lead to the failure of this task.
Iasha on the other team is explaining to the man who is going to design the bike
about the customer profiling she has been working on; he should have been supplied with a cup of tea and packet of hob knobs to consume whilst she banged on about Sophisticated Sarah. In fact, perhaps a pair of comfy slippers and a pipe to get ready
or even a large dark room!
Cue Iasha looking extremely pleased with herself; “So we have come up with a customer……. we’ve
named her Sarah……. well sophisticated Sarah because she is um bit more affluent………. she’s at a comfortable time of her life enjoying leisure time ………. so she has decided to buy a bike because she
likes to go to the park ……..putting her bike in her car with her family……going to the seaside……..she might have a kids……..she might have a husband ………goes away with her kids …….
Goes away with her family ……. we want to get her a bike that she really, really enjoys for her to be able to enjoy her leisurely life!”
UP design man, kick off your slippers, stub out your pipe, finish your tea – she has finally finished! Now repeat back what you know about Sophisticated Sarah and where have all the hob knobs gone?
Cue Pamela on Sophisticated Sarah. She feels Sophisticated Sarah’s profile doesnt need to be so long and people will get it if delivered in a more efficient way. No shit Pamela –
I suggest gagging is the only way forward!
Dean, Ryan Mark and Jemelin are on the accessory team for N/Empower and have three people to see agreeing beforehand
to show excitement about every option shown. The first one in is Tom with his luminous balls! Well heres a man you would like to sit next to at dinner! So, what do you do for a living? He has brought with him what looks like testicles
that light up. Apparently, you place them on the back of your bike and as they move, they become very visible jiggling and waggling around with every motion.
Mark is intrigued yet a tad shocked by the appearance of these cycling testicles as he has never seen a pair of balls like that well never flashing balls! You are not alone in that one Ryan Mark! Next is a flashing helmet – Is this still
The Apprentice we are watching?
Flashing cycling helmets with a remote so the cyclist can signal, and the helmet lights up to show which way they are going.
Ryan Mark shows said excitement, he loves it, having never seen anything like it before! Excitement continuing as Jemelin loves it too and it save lives!
Unison Thomas, Lubna and Scarlett are on accessories where their approach is different, not so much excitement as just concentrating solely on the wholesale prices on offer. Whilst looking at Unison’s progress on the design team Riyonn reminds
Marianne and Lottie the bike must look sleek, super sleek and chic so where it came to colour, he was feeling the burnt orange. This was a colour they all agreed on having which then lead onto deciding the colour of the wheel trims. Marianne suggested
it would look right with the right red, whereas Riyonn requests white trim making Lottie huff and puff being seriously opposed to white trim. How can anyone get seriously opposed to a white trim? Because it shows the mud silly! Riyonn said
this was the last thing that would ever enter his head – shame on you Riyonn! Step in Sub Team Leader for some order and decision making please. Marianne felt the colours needed to match so with a white rocket added onto the front of the
bike suggested by Riyonn who is having flashbacks to his childhood, Marianne thinks the bike looks perfect.
Cue Karen who questions if indeed they have misunderstood
the brief. It was supposed to be for mature and sleek, yet all they have done is come up with a colourful bike potentially 4 year old owner missing the target market!
On Iasha’s team she thinks their chosen colour is a lovely navy but is having second thoughts about the tyres in her quest to make the ride as comfortable as possible for Sophisticated Sarah. Dean and Carina question if
Sophisticated Sarah really would be concerned about tyres. They are correct she wouldn’t give a flying fart hailing a taxi to get as far away possible from this nasty little e bike!
Cue Claude critical about Iasha’s indecisiveness, going back and forth about the tyre adding “If she’s not deflated, I’m certainly am!” You are wheelie terrible Claude!
On Unison Thomas likes the snazzy lycra cycling gear if the price is right, come on down lycra seller with your tight fitting funky bike wear whose designs looks like something
out of the eighties and the only reason why you would be knocked down is because they are so offensive. But on N/Empower Jemelin also likes what she sees with the lycra, distracted by where it hugs the most but openly admitting she loves looking at the
colours (yeah right girlfriend!) Her team goes for the helmet as their choice of accessory whereas even though Unison see the helmet as being the safer sell, they go with the clothing seconded by Lubna who is putting her instinct to good use!
Onto the launch and only a limited window to sell their ugly bikes and accessories. Marianne is pitching to one of the UK’s leading bike retailers who isn’t
sure about the colour. To reassure and seal the deal having done all her research and knowing just what to say Marianne advises him that some people like red and some don’t! It is quite thought provoking and deep – Not –
There is no room for bleeding obvious statements in business so no surprise when the order agreed was embarrassingly low.
On N/Empower Carina is in the driving
seat pitching starting at £1,500 per unit, then going down to £1,300 per unit where a deal was made. Iasha was not happy having laid out a pricing strategy starting at £1,700, then going down 15% and only dropping to £1000 at
the end of the time if need be. Cue Iasha talking about Carina. “There was a strategy in place which shows how naïve she is in business and doesn’t understand to negotiate” Bet Sophisticated Sarah would have done a much better
Carina fought back and assured Iasha she knew how to sell saying the client had dropped the price – umm selective hearing when the programme
is being televised isn’t really an option Carina!
Over to Unison and Thomas in his lycra promoting the product? Feel this top-quality gear – no
thank you Thomas! The great thing about lycra is that it holds everything in, the unfortunate thing about lycra is that it shows every lump and bump!
to the sales team and Lottie with clipboard who is amid a deal worth 24k whilst Riyonn and Marianne stand by watching closely. Just after the shake a curveball was thrown in by the customer stating if they cost a 1000, they would have taken more. Lottie
feeling the pressure of the situation asks would they like to do this and then looks at her colleagues/Sub Team Leader for reassurance and support. Marianne not able to calculate the new amount on the spot decides to not reassure or support and advises
the customer they would stick at the original deal – who does this – if someone is offering you more money then take it, renegotiate, don’t close the door in their faces and make your colleague look like they haven’t got a clue what
they are doing!
To make matters worse this Sub Team Leader who later in the task accuses Thomas of shutting people down then turns to Lottie and spitefully
advises “So, in the future if you look back at me with a question in your eyes I’m not going to give you an answer. Nice style Sub Team Leader nothing quite like a bit of public shaming to win friends and influence people!
On N/Empower Iasha is on her ramble trying to beat people into submission to buy by banging on about tyres and comfort and it being the first product for goddess of love range!
Needless to say, she didn’t sell a lot but at least everyone knew about Sophisticated Sarah!
The task is over, sales have been done and its just down
to the PM’s to sum up how they are feeling. Over to Iasha and Thomas. Iasha felt that everyone had done a good job today. “I stand by Sophisticated Sarah, stand by strategy of focussing on a customer”. Thomas felt
that he had been a really strong PM where his leadership skills were pretty damn good.
We will see Thomas as the boardroom awaits!