How many resourceful, determined and enthusiastic high-powered executives does it take to start a successful business?
In the case of The Apprentice the answer seems to be beyond the remaining 13 wannabes.
As Sir Alan Sugar reminded us several times last night, he managed to start his first business on his own and with very little money in his pocket. But he doubled that money after his first day and has never looked back since.
So the latest challenge for the contestants hoping to land the £100,00-a-year job with Sir Alan was to set up a successful business from scratch with just £200.
It was a difficult challenge. But surely it was not beyond the “cream of the crop” (sic) of Britain’s brightest young business brains?
Sir Alan was reportedly unhappy with the hopefuls in series two of this corporate beauty contest, but I cannot help wondering how he feels just three programmes into this latest series – especially as he apparently had more of a say in picking the shortlist.
The lack of quality money-making schemes was not so much the issue, it was the lack of basic common sense that was staggering.
Gardening services was picked by the boys team and seemed like a sensible choice for leafy Richmond. Yet the timing was all wrong – it was hardly gardening weather – the sales pitch was woefully inadequate, their skills and experience were simply not up to the job and most worrying of all they had no idea of a pricing plan or what the jobs they were taking on actually entailed.
The women’s team were even worse. Face painting for children was a solid idea. But on a school day?
Driving aimlessly around a London borough looking for customers that simply weren’t there was bad enough. But as the public face of the company was Dr Sophie Kain, looking like some sort of an evil clown, then they were always on a hiding to nothing.
Also, doesn’t a “mobile kiddies face painting company called Stealth” (thanks to Gerri Blackwood for that classic) sound a little sinister to you?
The boys switched to the world’s worst singing telegram service after toiling in the garden all day.
But the girls arguably plumbed new depths for The Apprentice by seemingly using the “oldest profession” as their inspiration for a £3-a-snog enterprise. I’m not convinced that is the way to impress your prospective boss – unless his name his Snoop Dogg, of course.
The blessed Nick and Margaret seemed incredulous at what they were witnessing. As ever, some of the conversations that took place off camera or which haven’t been broadcast will have been the most telling.
We still haven’t much idea of firm favourites for series three of The Apprentice.
Katie Hopkins appears to be impressing some. But she still needs to raise her game several levels and probably has to stop fluttering her eyelids at the awfully nice but worryingly malleable Paul Callaghan before it deflects from her challenge for the top prize – I wasn’t sure whether I had switched from The Apprentice to Blind Date at one point last night.
Elsewhere, Tre Azam and Jadine Johnson continue to be all mouth, a little action and a whole heap of irritation.
But it is the likes of Ghazal Asif, Natalie Wood and particularly Lohit Kalburgi who need to be watched more closely. Moving in the background they have yet to jump centre stage – maybe they have nothing of substance to give, or maybe they are keeping their cards very close to their chests before delivering a winning hand.
As you can see I’m still not hugely impressed with this latest crop of wannabes, but I remain completely sucked in by The Apprentice and what we’ll be served up next.