The Apprentice 11.11. Business Plan Interviews
It is that time of the year again, when we get to watch smarmy, over-confident business types be ripped to shreds. As with most reality TV contests, The Apprentice proves that whatever you have done in the previous weeks can count for zilch. Especially when Lord Sugar deploys his team of dream shattering associates. Publisher Mike Souter, managing director of a media agency, Claudine Collins and Claude 'The Rottweiler' Littner will be familiar faces and joining them was Linda Plant, the owner of an international interior design company,
Last week Charleine left the boardroom crying and it seemed that the interviewers wanted to see if they could bring out the tears again. Both Linda and Claude doubted her brand and the nerves began to show but not the tears. To her credit she kept it together, no-one has doubted her work ethic and her ambition to show her kids that you can be a success in life was touching. Put simply, Lord Sugar could not back her ability to turn her hairdressing talent into a franchise and she was first to go.
Surprisingly, 'Corporate Gary' has got this far but his business plan of a mobile events company seems ill suited to someone as... corporate. As ever Mike picked apart his CV and questioned if he really was once in charge of 600 employees, turns out he only 'led' them. Even if he did his business plan was openly questioned by Linda over its USP and outreach. Virtual attendance at parties? She was right, not much of it made sense but the most important man in the process simply did not get it and for that alone Gary was fired.
Admittedly, Joseph has had limited experience at interviews but came out relatively unscathed. Against Mike he was given a short test on Lord Sugar's autobiography, which had little bearing on his own business plan for a gas and plumbing brand, but scored 100% before he was torn apart over operating costs. Against Claudine he was asked if he thought he was a success with the ladies and... failed to win her over but he did ok. Even Claude seemed amiable as he playfully noted he had shaven off the moustache (he did look about 16 as a result) before telling him that he was "barking up the wrong tree" for going down the franchise route.
Like him or loathe him, Richard has been the success story so far having been on the winning team for 8/10 weeks. He has also already proven to be slippery which is one trait Lord Sugar despises. Soon enough Claude cited out his slipperiness throughout the process. Even his business plan of an outsourced marketing department reeked of evasiveness as Mike hammered him on a particular graphic that appeared in his plan and has been used for his current business. 'Tricky Dickie' strenuously denied it but the façade broke when he came to Linda. "Is it bullshit? I think it's bullshit" and finally Richard admitted his plan was then walked out. He knew he'd blown it there and yet a confessional with Claudine that his plan was mainly waffle may have redeemed him.
Combining a dating app with gaming seemed like a good idea for Vana, on paper. Certainly in her business plan it made sense but in the real world barely anyone thought it had a chance. Both Mike and Claude predicted she would soon run out of cash. Even Lord Sugar deemed it a risk as he failed to see past the worrying costs against projected revenue yet she made it to the final deliberation in the boardroom too.
The business plans of all three had their individuals concerns but Lord Sugar had his own. Soon enough he gave Richard the ultimatum of handing over his current business to his brother to avoid a conflict of interest. Predictably, Richard bullshitted and tried to avoid the question but said he could not. This all seemed a bit Dragons Den and eventually Richard decided to go all in to Lord Sugar but it was too late. He was fired leaving Joseph and Vana to fight it out in Sunday's final.