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Don’t be a business dinosaur – keep an eye on the future

This week we meet some more dinosaurs of the business world with both  Toys “R” Us and Maplin going into receivership. You’d think businesses would learn from the mistakes of past spectacular failures like Blockbusters or Kodak who didn’t or wouldn’t see the future. If you don’t move with the rapidly changing times, you’re likely to get trampled in the rush of progress. Which is exactly what has happened with these businesses. I am not surprised, certainly not about Toys “R” Us – I’ve been thinking for some time how out of touch Toys “R” Us was. Those soulless shops […]

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The Apprentice – Episode 9 – Cooking up a storm

This week in The Apprentice, Lord Sugar took some good cooking advice and gave the teams a good stir. He separated the two remaining gents, Harrison and James, and put Harrison in charge of Vitality as his business proposal is food based. Sarah took on the PM role for Graphene as she runs a confectionery business. The task The task – to create a recipe kit, brand it and then pitch it to a room of food experts. The team with the most votes from by the experts would be the winner. The teams split into recipe creation vs branding […]

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The Apprentice – Episode 8 – Canine Capers and a shock in the boardroom

Staggering new statistics this week in The Apprentice –  A quarter of the population has a dog (over 11 million). That’s a lot of poop that needs scooping!  And owners spend £11bn, yes, eleven billion pounds, on their dogs. I couldn’t believe that figure so I looked it up on line – it’s actually over £12bn!! I’m in the wrong business! All of which leads (see what I did there?) neatly to this week’s task. Running a doggy day care service. The two services available were running a dog spa or doggy training classes. They also each had a mobile […]

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The Apprentice – Episode 6 – Lost in translation

Another classic The Apprentice episode – the tour guide task where the candidates have to organise a tour, sell tickets and take the poor unsuspecting tourists on a whistle stop tour around an area. This week, the candidates got to go to Bruges on board the enormous cruise ship – the Brittania, which can take 3000 guests!  My idea of hell on earth. My antipathy to cruises aside, the teams had to choose a theme and run with it. Bruges is an easy one to cover given it has beautiful buildings and is the home of chocolate, beer and waffles. […]

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The Apprentice – Episode 5 – Lost in London

This week on The Apprentice, the ever entertaining item buying task where I predicted, at the end of my blog last week, rubbish map reading and poor negotiation. We weren’t disappointed. Still Lord Sugar didn’t mix the teams up in his usual form, but merely sent James across to Graphene instead. Sajan was unanimously voted in as PM for Vitality on the basis he knew London. Poor Charles made a feeble attempt to claim the role, but sunk without a trace. Over on Graphene, there was no choice as Lord Sugar had already decided moaning Joanna was going to be […]

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The Apprentice – Episode 4 – Corporate Hostility

Who says you learn nothing from watching the Apprentice? For example, did you know that the football industry is worth £4bn? That was quite an eye opener. And women’s football is a fast growing part of that pot. This week’s task – a return to the usual format – organising an event. In this case a corporate hospitality box at Wembley Stadium for the women’s FA cup final. The candidates also had to run a match day stall outside the grounds to raise some extra money. They were given clients with whom they had to negotiate a price to pay for […]

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The Apprentice – Episode 3 – Robot Wars

This week – not so much Robot Wars as candidate wars as the animosity between the women built to dangerous levels! It was, on the face of it, a simple enough challenge. Programme and brand a robot to sell to two major retailers and choose a less expensive robot product to sell to independent retailers. As ever, the team that made the most profit won the task. Since the men’s team had lost the last two challenges, their numbers were getting low so team jigging was required to balance the team sizes. In an inspired moment, rather than mix up […]

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The Apprentice – Episode 2 – Three cheers for the Red, erm, Yellow and Blue

To the strains of Bond music, his lordship arrived in grand style by helicopter at the Stoke Park Hotel, Bucks for the launch of this week’s Apprentice task. (Goldfinger was filmed here for those of you who missed the show). What possessed a five star hotel to allow 17 candidates of the Apprentice, so early on in the process, anywhere near their luxury rooms? I can only assume the Beeb agreed to cover the extensive redecoration costs at the end of it all. The task – two days to design, decorate and furnish a hotel room with a £13k budget. […]

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The Apprentice 2017 – Episode One – What’s your beef?

Welcome to the class of 2017. Time to buckle up for this year’s panoply of muppetry and mishaps as the new batch of wannabe entrepreneurs attempt to win the prize of £250k and Lord Sugar as a business partner. It seems hard to believe that we’re on to series 13. Surralan has become Lord Sugar, we’ve seen Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer move on, replaced over time by Karren Brady and Claude Litner. Oh how I miss Margaret and her incredibly expressive eyebrows and cutting one-liners. Claude Litner said in an interview before the show aired that he deliberately does […]

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A simple way to work out how much you need to sell to hit your revenue targets

I was with a client recently and they shared how much money they wanted to be able to take out of the business in the long term. So what we needed to do was some maths to work out how to get there. And here is what we did. I’m going to make up the figures to preserve anonymity. They ultimately wanted to be able to take £5000 a month from the business. Stage 1 – identify current revenue and profit margins 1. Identify current annual revenue (sales or turnover) 2. Identify the net profit (the amount left over after […]

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