Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Michael- With regret, you're fired!

The Apprentice- Week 3:

This week the task given by Lord Sugar was to invent, manufacture, brand and sell an original condiment.
The teams were mixed and both had different approaches to the task:
The boy’s team Phoenix- led by Katy, chose table sauce meaning mass market. They manufactured spicy ketchup called Bellissimo.
The girl’s team Sterling- led by Duane, chose something more niche and original...Chutney- original flavor called infusion- pineapple&chilly chutney.
This week decisions were made fast and no time was wasted on bickering, a step forward some would say:))

Lord Sugar set up one meeting with a big grocer, the rest had to be done using their own selling strategy.

Both teams sent the production sub teams to the factory. A sample had to be made ready within the hour for the pitch to the mass grocer.
Team Sterling was led in the factory by Jane who by the way, again showed very poor skills though this is right up her ally. She can’t even figure out costs!
Since they did not taste until the very end, they found out it’s too spicy but had no time to start over. They went to their pitch without a sample and basically said, we have a great product please buy even though you can’t see it or taste it...That was embarrassing!
They should have at least had an empty jar with the label and branding for show.
Phoenix led by Rickey had their sample ready on time and the pitch went well, an order was placed.

Unlike Sterling’s production team, Phoenix struggled through the whole process making serious mistakes which ended up costing them 1/5 of their product!
They made in my view and those in the board meeting as well as the prospects, other crucial mistakes: Bellissimo was miss spelled!
The small details in marketing&branding are what will make it or break it. Many don’t realize how truly important that is. The gentlemen they were pitching to said immediately you miss spelled your name..
It make’s you look un professional! You have to get these things right!
Another mistake was the label, it showed a big red pepper with Bellissimo on top. It doesn’t say what the product is though...

Next step- sell sell sell!
Katy did not spend any time on costing big mistake! They aimed at mass market meaning high volume-low costs!
Because the production team made only around 320 bottles, the price had to go up. Would you pay 3.99 pounds for Ketchup?..
It was simply too expensive. They had to change their sales strategy quick from trade to selling to the public to try turn things around.

Duane’s sub team went back to the grocer with a sample this time and secured an order. A bigger order since their pricing was right..
Katy went from trade to public- they sold in the mall and took to the streets targeting big restaurants. Duane’s team combined the two. They chose a supermarket which was not very successful, people didn’t like to be disturbed on their lunch break. A market might have been a better place.
They too took to the street and went to small shops.
Both teams didn’t sell all their items.

So the winner was....Team Sterling! They sold 607 jars and made a profit of 1,028 pounds! Team Phoenix sold 305 bottles and made a profit of just 585 pounds.

They lost because of production mistakes and not enough selling. You can not target mass market and manufacture only 300 bottles with an expensive price tag. Once they lost 1/5 of their product they were doomed.
They didn’t have enough of the product effecting their costs and ultimately their recommended price.
They were right to turn to the public once they realized this but they still didn’t have enough to sell to make it up.
Maybe the PM should have been in the factory, seems important enough to me! Possibly there were too many cooks in the kitchen too.
They ended up in the infamous Bridge café to discuss the loss and what had happened.

Michael was the manager of the sale’s sub team pitching to trade. He was too quite, he didn’t sell well and let them rip him apart so he was fired.
He wasn’t a strong candidate, he isn't tough enough but Rickey is with out a doubt the one that got away! The lose had everything to do with production which he ran.
He talks the talk but hasn’t really walked the walk, maybe next week!

Was Lord Sugar right in his decision?
Feel free to post your comments and ideas below!

I wish you all a happy Easter and a happy&kosher Pessach!

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