Opinion

Are you skilled at business negotiation or just cheap?

3 min read

03 November 2017

A map of London, questionable knowledge on Jewish traditions and a race for one of the country’s few remaining “original” Amstrad computers – in week five of The Apprentice, candidates battled in Lord Sugar’s favourite product task, which, this year, was all about him turning 70. 

Business negotiation was the key in the latest episode of The Apprentice, which marked Lord Sugar celebrating his 70th birthday. Candidates found themselves tasked on a race across London to find goods that represented key career milestones for his life.

Focused on the powers of business negotiation, importance of logistics and time management – this task easily separates the weak from the strong, and the try-hards from the professionals, with Ross on the firing line.

Good at business negotiation or just cheap?

Despite another win for Team Graphene, their business negotiation skills were poor in places – from Elizabeth demanding a 50p reduction, to Sarah-Jayne not pushing hard enough.

Although business negotiation is about the final cost, it’s just as much about judging the deal in hand, and knowing how to effectively manage yourself and your reputation in business.

Sorry Elizabeth, but this business negotiation was just embarrassing to watch.

Strategy versus logistics

As PM, Sajan decided that it would be better to head to the outskirts of London, believing the products would potentially be cheaper. The only problem here, is that Sajan’s first stop was Hampstead – demonstrating poor knowledge of London and poor decision-making as Team Vitality paid nearly double for the Rugelach.

Team Vitality fell once again, when Sarah, Andrew and Harrison decided to compete for the same Amstrad computer as Team Graphene, making a snap decision to change strategy and location.

Had they not realised Team Graphene were racing for the same product, I doubt the sub-team would’ve made this decision, and as a result would have had more time to find the remaining items on the list.

In business, you need to clear on your strategy from the outset to succeed. Yes, things will change and curveballs will certainly come your way, but the real test is how you handle these, whilst working towards your original goals.

Time management

This task was an excellent test of time management, with both teams buckling under pressure at certain points. Aside from making it to The House of Lords on time, Team Vitality failed to take into account shop opening times, missing key items on the list.

Despite winning, Team Graphene were an hour late to The House of Lords – incurring a fine, and, again, failing to adhere to a key element of the task

In business, if you’re not on time, you’re already losing – why? Aside from compromising reputation, a key lesson in business is leaning how to effectively manage your time, particularly as a startup when everything from operations to accountancy rests on your shoulders.

Mark Wright is director of Climb Online and winner of The Apprentice 2014 – he’ll be back next week with lessons of the latest episode

Image source: BBC

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