The Apprentice. Did Sugar choose the right person?

There is of course much debate about whether Alan Sugar made the right choice to ‘hire’ Tom on the Apprentice.  It is actually a pretty simple thing to determine and there can be no doubt that the answer is “Yes”.

There is no doubt that Sugar would have preferred to hire Helen, but unfortunately her Business Plan was, frankly dreadful. Based around an idea where many players exist, with weak USPs (unique selling points) and no clear idea how it would be driven to market. It also suffered from a critical issue – the service is available for free or at a low cost as a benefit of other products. For example with many Bank Accounts for “Premium” customers, some American Express Credit Cards etc – just for starters. Although her other idea on the surface made more sense, there is again lots of competition and he frankly couldn’t have made a decision because he hadn’t seen the numbers and plan for that particular business. It would be foolish for him to say “well you’re clearly organised and bright, so I’ll ignore the lack of the plan and give you £250,000 to invest”.

Jim isn’t to be taken lightly, he has a lot of charm and could be great at buying peoples hearts on a number of issues – the guy needs to work in a role where it is essential to get buy in on an emotional level, at a very human level. He could most certainly have high impact in those sorts of roles.

Suzie has amazing potential despite the grief people give her – her issue is in getting the ideas from her head into words. A classic issue of someone who is incredibly bright and under-estimated but has a lot of trouble communicating it clearly and ultimately flounders. With the right support her ideas could be taken, shaped and made very successful.

As it happens, there are some great parallels between Suzie and Tom. It’s where they differ that ultimately makes Tom the right choice. Like Suzie, Tom has ideas. He has the potential to come up with unique concepts – but importantly he can invent something. Something totally new. It is this that makse him the perfect choice for Alan Sugar. He’s looking to make money from the investment, and the biggest potential return is with Tom. It comes with high risk (but this is hardly something new to Sugar), however the reward (return on investment) is potentially massive. It takes just one idea. One amazing, unique, moment of brilliance to make a lot of money.

That is ultimately why Lord Sugar made the right choice today in picking Tom.

It is without any doubt that Sugar would have preferred to hire Helen, and was clearly hoping her business plan would involve one completely brilliant concept where he could have a very hands off approach and wait for his money to roll back in. That she made such a poor choice in the idea meant that her business capability was lost.

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