Our Top Three Lessons from The Apprentice

The Apprentice UK, the British TV Reality show where 18 young entrepreneurs compete to win 250,000 Pounds to support their business ideas; is set to begin its latest season this month. On this show, there are no consolation prizes for second or third runner-ups. It’s all or nothing, hence, it is understandable when contestants become brutally competitive.

Over the course of eight to ten weeks, the contestants are given different tasks each week. These tasks range from product manufacturing, branding, selling, advertising, to pitching business and product ideas to potential buyers and investors.

It is easy to fall in love with The Apprentice TV Franchise. The way young men and women are challenged with new tasks, leave viewers inspired. The level of teamwork exhibited is especially intriguing because of the survival-of-the-fittest syndrome displayed in the boardroom. It is a situation of dog-eat-dog, according to Lord Sugar, the boss of the Apprentice UK.

Here are three (3) key lessons about The Apprentice Show we at 234Finance, would like you to learn from. Feel free to share yours in the comment section.

1. Open-mindedness

This show exposes one to almost everything you need to know about the business world, which requires one to be open-minded about anything when doing business. An open mind prepares you for the best and the worst situations. The show throws major challenges to contestants who are divided into two teams and sometimes, even though only the winners remain, a contestant who gets sent home by virtue of being on the losing team, may have taught a viewer many lessons from his or her attitude during a task.

As an entrepreneur, that you have to be open-minded cannot be over stated. It makes you welcome new ideas, new possibilities and gives you room to learn from the people you come across during the course of your work. Open-mindedness helps to maintain a healthy work environment as well. When team members clash on the show, you would find that someone or a group of people are reluctant to welcome  other people’s ideas and such teams end up losing the task. When you approach a task or any business venture with an open mind, it is easy for your clients, investors and other partners to better proffer the solutions required.

2. Learn basic communication skills

One of our favourite seasons had a certain contestant that could barely say his name without stammering, when he met clients or even faced any situation at all. However, it wasn’t surprising to see that he made the final two spots because he was intelligent and creative beneath the shyness.

Lesson: It is an unfortunate situation for any entrepreneur who has great ideas but lacks the ability to effectively communicate them to people to get their buy-in or patronage. If you are going to get someone to invest in your idea, the ability to communicate your value proposition is paramount.

According to Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Companies, communication is an important skill any leader can possess. It “makes the world go round”. It facilitates human connections and allows us to learn, grow and progress. It’s not just about speaking or reading, but understanding what is being said – and in some cases what is not being said.” Indeed communication is a skill that can be learned and as an entrepreneur, that should be one of the top items on your to-do list. If you’re a good communicator, you can sell, you can promote and you can market; and this brings us to the third lesson.

3. Exude Confidence

Having watched many contestants come and go on this show, we have learned that confidence is paramount in business. You cannot inspire, or motivate people to buy-in to your business if you are not confident.

Confidence is not about being arrogant or overbearing. Confidence is being able to speak for yourself, defend or justify your ideas or proposition with facts, and display the potential of your business or idea to be successful. A study by Hayward, Forster, Sarasvarthy and Fredrickson (2009) found that highly confident entrepreneurs are better positioned to start and succeed with another venture.

Sometimes, when pitching to potential buyers or investors, some of them are not looking to hear your command of the English language, (even though it’s also important to express yourself eloquently), many are seeking to understand the ‘what’s in it for me?’ element. They need convincing and you can successfully convince someone when you are convinced yourself, that it is a good business proposition. The fastest way to convince people is by exuding confidence.

What are your top lessons from The Apprentice show?

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