The Apprentice: Task one – Make and sell sausages

Well its back and it has started with a BANG, well bangers to be precise. Lord Sugar had all 16 candidates working through the night to produce a range of sausages and sell to the public.

Its brilliant and clearly designed to see how people can cope with pressure and of course to see people taking chunks out of each other and this episode did not disappoint.

The girls and the boys were sent off and had to choose team name Apollo for the girls and Synergy for the boys then down to selected project managers. I think Melissa s going to be interesting here…. She put a strong case forward with her background in business then backed out of putting her name in the hat to be PM.

Joanna stepped up to the plate and then Melissa all through the task decided to challenge her on most things….. Not a great trait to have! Having said that girls got off to a pretty smooth start.

The boys however did not get off to a smooth start, in fact the entire task was far from smooth and it was Dan that set the tone. If there is one thing I recall from my time on the apprentice is that you need a plan and if Dan had one it was very very wrong.

He set the tone by hitting the desk, and his ego declaring that he will be the team leader, he then told everyone that they would do the work why he observes….tut tut Dan!  it’s a team effort but not one of his boys were pulling for him.

Once both teams had decided on what sausages they were going to go for, it was off to the factory to make them. The girls went for gourmet sausages thus spending most of their budget on meat and the boys opted for a ‘Budget Banger’ keeping their costs to a minimum.

With production in full swing, investment bankers Stella and Elizabeth pointed out a big issue with their costing and that they needed to change the size of sausage packs, its here where I believe the girls won the task.

Keeping costs is one of the most important things in most of the tasks on The Apprentice and it is often over looked, remember our first task ‘Selling Fish’ pricing was all over the place, hard lesson learned.

And so after the boys tried selling their stock door to door “ding dong, hello madam would you like to buy some sausages” (classic) and then giving a baffled restaurant owner 20kg of Sausage for £50, both teams headed back to the boardroom to face Lord Sugar for the first time.

And like most episodes this is where we find the candidates true colours and some classic moments already! The girls made £15 more profit than the boys and were happily sent back to the amazing house for a champagne BBQ dinner and dip in the pool if they desired, leaving the boys to fight amongst themselves. Dan’s arm folding, finger pointing, aggressive behaviour had not made him many allies in the boardroom you know it a bad sign when the boys are silent after Lord Sugar poises the question “good team leader?”

Stuart immediately warmed up his vocal cords by proclaiming to have been the best salesman on the day and was put in his place by Jamie who I believe was right to criticise his aggressive selling techniques.

Dan tried to defend his contribution as team leader by explaining that he took a hands off approach to coach the team through the task, which was quite unbelievable as all he wanted to do was to be as a dictator he wanted his troops to do the hard work and he to take the glory, well that’s awful business practice and the exact type of person Lord Sugar does not tolerate.

Raleigh then told Dan exactly what he thought which was there was no leadership, planning or direction of the team at all and that why they lost and I completely agree with him.

Dan brought in both Alex and Stuart in the boardroom where Stuart, who is fast becoming someone that uses his mouth far too much, proclaimed that he was a very successful 21 year old and the best salesperson in the world and then went on to describe Dan as the most arrogant person he had met……

Wow, I am sure that beautiful house has mirrors Stuart!! Alex was trying to defend himself on the task with little vigour, but it was Lord Sugar who summed up perfectly…..

No good feedback from seven other colleagues but some fantastic experience on Dan’s CV he cant be an idiot. Stuart made some ridiculas statements in the boardroom today all of which won’t wash with Lord Sugar (his card is marked) and Alex contributed very little, but ultimately the failure of the task was down to the team leader and for that Lord Sugar fired Dan.

Dan was focussed on ‘laying down the law’ and not on winning the task. To be fair the boys only lost by £15 and if they had worked together as a team they could have easily been sipping the champagne, but they lost and in my opinion Dan let his ego get in the way of his judgement which was his biggest mistake, I am sure he regrets putting himself up for team leader in the way he did, but The Apprentice process is ruthless, if you put yourself forward you are in the firing line, so you better make sure you deliver.

I hope that, like us, the boys learn very quickly how to perform as a team!