Would you go into business with Lord Sugar?

Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2011

Because I wouldn’t, and I feel for Tom, because he’s a great guy, and he’s stuck with a backwards leader as a boss.  Let me elaborate (I understand that a lot of the apprentice is dramatized, before any one gets carried away replying to this).

1. He’s pretty much the definition of a hypocrite..

In the intro to the show, every week we’ve heard
“I’m not looking for a sales person”
but in episode in 8
“You will all need make sales”
and then in episode 10…
“This task is ALL about sales.”

Lets not forget in tonights final,
“I’ve always preached a policy that if you start a business you’ve got to have experience in that industry”

Oh, is that right, Lord/Sir Alan? So when you started Amstrad, you had experience in plastic injection molding? and getting products manufactured overseas? I think not.
Also – you’ve just employed a winner who has a business plan for an industry you’ve never been in (neither has he). Seriously!

If I was sat there interviewing Lord Sugar, alarm bells would now be ringing in my head. Bail bail bail!

2. He’s not been _that_ successful.

Lets leave the enjoyment of the apprentice for a moment, and look at his businesses.  I’ll start by saying something that isn’t really made very clear in the apprentice, and thats that he doesn’t have that many businesses… He started amstrad (without any experience), brought a football club, runs 3 businesses with his sons (an investment firm, a private jet company, and an advertising company), and Viglen (and we _all_ know how successful that company is).

I’m not saying he hasn’t been successful, I mean, he’s loaded. He has that entrepreneurial drive that hardly anyone has (more on that in a moment), but

3. He doesn’t know when to let things go..

Remember those Amstrad phones? Remember the phones that no one brought?

And then do you remember when they kept making them?
And then released a new one?
And then ANOTHER new one, this time with an awful colour screen?  Right when mobiles are taking off? Just laughable really..

4. He’s an awful, awful example of an entrepreneur (and a leader).

At least thats now its portrayed in the series.  As I said above – he certainly has that drive to get up in the morning and start making money, but really, is he what we want people to think about when they think entrepreneurship? I hope not.  Lets take Sheryly Sandberg’s definition of well lead company and apply it here (and this is an awesome view if your ever interested in hearing her talks, I’d recommend this one), but she talks about how a vision must scale for people to buy into it.  Google for instance have a vision that they must organise all the worlds information.  Are they ever going to do that? No, but its a damn powerful and compelling vision to buy into.  Facebook is the same, giving users the power to share content..

What has Sugar done or led? What vision has he had (recently – in my memory at least), thats been worth buying into?  The answer to that question is .. nothing.

So I finish with this thought.. If I was Tom, I’d of pitched my business plan to the Dragons, because at least then, someone might have had some experience in the industry and helped build a business with you.  With Alan, he’d only be bothered about the bottom line.


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