What You Can Learn From The Apprentice

What You Can Learn From The Apprentice

It’s that time of year again and Sir Alan Sugar & his entourage of face-pulling professionals are hitting the screen once again with The Apprentice 2014.

I’ve been wondering how we might learn a few lessons in business from this entertaining BBC show, if at all.

Every year it seems the contestants become even more catty and eager to get ahead for the chance of winning the affections of their mentor, old “Shugs”.

What You Can Learn From The Apprentice

The new line-up of wannabe business partners has been announced and there are already stories of how their faux pas in the fashion stakes are already showing their characteristics and how we’ve seen it all before.

But, with every networking event I go to for my own business, I always find myself watching how other people act, dress, even speak within every scenario I find myself in and I can’t help but love this show in order to actually chuckle at the things that tickle my funny bone in the business world. It may not be whole-heartedly representative of the “real” business world, but I can sometimes pick out elements of this show, nodding my head in agreement or my own experience of it first hand myself.

So, what lessons could you actually learn from this entertaining business show?…

Don’t outshine your employer/client/interviewer when it comes to fashion sense.

Sir Alan is a snappy dresser, but that doesn’t mean that the contestants should be wearing whacky ties or bright red (and clingy!) dresses… it can make them look aggressive at first glance, mostly leading to that being the truth within this show! That said, I’m personally one for being comfortable & adapting to the world around me… If I’m headed to a corporate boardroom, then I do tend to hide my tattoos and wear a more fitted outfit. However, when I’m representing my own company at a networking event, I will happily wear my “Wonder Woman” Converse or a floaty dress, as this is “me” and if somebody doesn’t like it then they aren’t right for my business (ooh that’s a bold statement…)!

What You Can Learn From The Apprentice

It pays to be nice. 

Some people think that to get ahead in business you need to be aggressive & vile to get yourself heard, but this really isn’t doesn’t need to be the case. You would think it doesn’t need to be said, but honestly, people are remembered on first impressions and if you’re bitchy or nasty about something (or someone) it won’t be forgotten, it really won’t! It pays to play as a team in any professional scenario that requires it, as there’s nothing worse than a “tell-tale” in the boardroom/networking circuits.

Don’t fib. 

Again, you would think this goes without saying, but how many times have we watched the interview stage of this show and the contestants have lied about their achievements/awards/experiences?! I’m convinced they are told to do this for good viewing, but then I’m a cynic through & through… It’s always going to bite you on your bottom, so manage expectations correctly and be honest if you aren’t up to committing to a time-frame or project, you will soon get found out if you lie.

Criticising a former colleague or client is unprofessional. 

I think we may all be guilty of this at some point in our working lives… some have done this on National TV, which could well do a little more damage than the average Joe could do, but still! Luisa Zissman was seen in the 2013 version of The Apprentice as saying that her previous boss was a “total idiot”, amongst other faux pas throughout that years’ competition and comments such as this will not always going go unnoticed once said.

Don’t be scared of starting a business after watching The Apprentice. 

This is a show made for entertainment, no matter of the lessons that can be learnt or applied from these candidates, it’s not true to business life and shouldn’t put anyone off starting their own business or enterprise. There are so many inspiring stories out there, be it Sir Alan Sugar, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey or Sir Richard Branson, as well as freelancers or business owners closer to home – check out my “Freelancer Friday” blog series for some superb inspiration.


I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to this series of The Apprentice and seeing what lessons in business we can all learn this year! It starts on Tuesday 14th October 2014, BBC One at 9pm for the 10th series!

Are you a fan of the show?… What do you think of it so far? Any conclusions on who might win this at the early stage?! Leave a comment below to discuss our favourite show. 



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