The current series of The Apprentice gives contestants £250,000 and the chance to enter a 50/50 partnership with Lord Sugar, but would most entrepreneurs relish the opportunity – or give him the (boardroom) finger?A survey of 1,100 UK owner managers shows that a resounding 64 per cent would not, with most entrepreneurs saying Lord Sugar would be too overbearing and dominant in the relationship. In fact, some entrepreneurs even compare Lord Sugar to Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin and Ghenghis Khan… oh dear. “Can you imagine working with him?” asks one entrepreneur. “Mind you, did you know that his niece is the actress who plays Roxy Mitchell on Eastenders? When you hear her talking about her Uncle Alan, you do get a very different impression of the man. Having said that, Hitler’s niece thought he was nice too…” Other respondents who wouldn’t want to work with Lord Sugar describe him as “ruthless”, “self-promoting”, “bullish”, “abrasive” and “treating [people in his business] as doggy do-do”. “Many owner managers have high needs for autonomy and control – that’s why they run their own businesses,” says Gerard Burke, MD of Your Business Your Future, which conducted the survey. “So they simply couldn’t work in an equal partnership with another person – especially someone like Lord Sugar, who they fear has an even greater need for control than their own.” Burke says that most respondents could see themselves working with the apparently less dominant assistants, such as Nick Hewer and Karren Brady, however. What do you think? Would you enter a partnership with Lord Sugar? Or would you turn him down?
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