I've throughly - seriously throughly - enjoyed The Apprentice this year. I don't even know exactly why it is, but I don't remember a series where it's been so clear who is a winner and who is a loser.
My colleague Dan Martin over on BusinessZone is hosting a live chat throughout the two-hour special episode alongside small business superstars who definitely know their net profit from their operating - and, Jim, their hundreds from their thousands. Join them here during the final. In the meantime, here's my verdict on the final few.
Jim - Jim can talk the hind legs off a donkey, then sell the legs back to the donkey, even though he can't speak donkey and the donkey doesn't know what money is. But as was pointed out on the Firing Squad, he's a one-trick pony, a specialist. If you want a salesman, I suggest you hire him. But a businees partner, Alan? Stay clear, me old plate.
Susan - I actually still like Susan (am I the only one?). She's so new to this world, she's still seeing things for the first time. And she's done a good job with her skincare range, the organic brand Tropic. But I feel she is succumbing to her age - insecurity, taking things too personally and she has been known to complain a bit. I don't know if she's ready for the Sugar job partner. Maybe if she was a little more secure. Ok, I admit it, I can't put my finger on it but I just can't see it happening. She's nice but... Sugar, you don't need this sweetie - yet.
Tom - I love Tom, but he's not the whole package, is he? Although he does cover a lot of the bases. I love a clever man, and Tom is clever - a genius, borderlining on madness, most likely. All in a good way. Will Suralan make the leap of faith required to hire him? Maybe his business plan is amazing. But it seems more likely to have a good product, nice branding and make a good case - but ultimately not be the big winner. Although he seems such a nice guy - I'm rooting for him. LordSug, he's the Brains of the operation - but you might have to pull some strings to give him direction.
Helen - Have you ever, ever, EVER in your life seen someone so good, so much of the time? Her bony frame and scraped-back hair screams 'I AM IN CONTROL' in a scary way to me, but she's just amazing. Superwoman I suspect. Is she too good to be true? I can't imagine she would have thrown together some half-assed business plan either. The way she read Tom in the MyPy task, letting him do what he was best at, while she quietly made sure the basics and details were spot on, at the same time making him feel involved was just beautiful. Naturally, we all hate her. Suralan has got to be crazy not to hire this sure-fire winner.
But with The Apprentice, nothing is ever certain. Let's see who gets to hear 'You're hired' (as my business partner) on Sunday!
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