He’s not Mr Nail File…well, not unless Lord Sugar tells him he is obviously.
So Tom wins the £250,000 investment after this year’s final of The Apprentice, a big mentor in the diminutive multi-millionaire and a clear set of instructions from his new boss…sorry, I mean business partner.
In a nutshell the final two-hour episode could be summed up as – ditch the business plan about office chairs and solving the UK’s back ache epidemic Tom, resurrect the nail file idea that got you here in the first place, develop a bigger market and associated products and then link up with Susan and help his little lordship finally break into the cosmetics industry.
I’m glad that’s all sorted out.
If it had been the old-style Apprentice, Tom probably wouldn’t have lasted beyond the second or third week and Helen would have won easily. But it wasn’t old-style, it was new (oldish) style Apprentice and the inventor with a seemingly endless stream of product ideas pouring from his brain triumphed.
Lord Sugar gave a broad hint about what he was looking for a few weeks back when he described himself as a “product person”.
So why did Helen and Jim go into the final with business plans based around some fairly flimsy service ideas?
And why did Susan make the classic mistake of trying to sprint while she was still learning to crawl. There’s no harm in thinking big, but there’s no point in being unrealistic either – she might have won if she hadn’t thought global and had taken a few zeroes off her financial forecasts.
It was left to Tom to impress with his entrepreneurial spirit and inventive brain. But instead of solving back aches, he’s going to make sure the UK’s nails are filed like they’ve never been filed before.
Lord Sugar clearly liked the idea of having Tom as his partner, but he hated his business plan. So the best solution was to revisit a product Tom had already secured success with and which his lordship clearly feels could be expanded.
Tom was obviously delighted to oblige. He might have been passionate about his chair, but he was obviously 150% committed to agreeing with whatever Lord Sugar said too.
To be frank, that is one of the reasons why the final episode fell flat. The interview episode was always the most enjoyable as four of Lord Sugar’s closest business allies ferociously picked apart the CVs and track record of the remaining candidates.
This time around it was the business plans of the four remaining hopefuls – Tom, Helen, Susan and Jim – that got the forensic examination. And apart from Jim’s enduring and misplaced bravado, Susan’s financial faux pas and Helen looking shakier than she’s ever looked during this year’s series, there was no great drama or entertainment.
It was also a little confusing. I’m not sure we really got to understand the businesses that either Helen or Jim were pitching – a concierge-type service for the mass market and an e-learning business curriculum for schools – but that might be because they were never realistically in the running for a self-proclaimed product person.
In a competition where product was king, Tom’s superior experience and flexibility proved decisive.
Helen can expect corporate headhunters to be contacting her and Susan will undoubtedly find a friendly reception if she manages to build her cosmetics company into something Lord Sugar would be happy to snap up.
Jim can go off and sell stuff.
So, 14 weeks, 16 candidates, lots of laughs, lots of irritation, a few deflated egos and a pretty safe bet for a winner.
Nothing much changes on The Apprentice.