The Apprentice: The entrepreneur's view

Bulldog founder Simon Duffy tells Smarta what he thought of last night's episode

"I think the standard of what we saw last night was pretty poor, to be honest. The boys were smarter in that they didn’t take the expensive stuff – that was the key thing that mucked the girls up because they overspent.

"The person I thought was really lucky in terms of how the cards fell for him was the boys’ project manager, Howard. What went unnoticed by Sir Alan was that he spent all day shining shoes and made something like £70, while the other lads had secured 30 cars for £16, which I thought was very smart.

"They were all mucking around getting the insides of the cars wet, but they had more work than they could do. Howard should have called the Philip and said ‘are you going to be able to do this in time?’ He should have realised and got over there and done all 30 cars.

"I thought the key player for the boys in that episode was Phillip Taylor, the estate agent from County Durham. He was the one on the phone, looking in the Yellow Pages, and getting a deal with Addison Lee, which I thought was a very good move. I think we’ll have a lot of fun with Phillip as we go through the season. He’ll get towards the end but I don’t think he’s going to be the winner.

"I think the smarter players keep their cards close to their chest to start with. I don’t think it’s a smart play to be the project manager at the start because it’s a numbers game as much as anything. You don’t know what the other members of the team are like and it’s easy to be let down by other people. Especially as they’re going to bring some quite chaotic characters into the team.

"My advice to them would be to really try and understand what they’re being asked to do once they’ve been presented with the task. They needed to have a business plan and focus on the key metric they were going to be measured against, which on this one was profitability. I think it’s up-front strategy, how are we going to win this, how are we going to be measured, and quickly look at three or four ways to win this.

"You’ve got to look at your team if you’re the leader, look at what you think people’s core strengths will be, and be pretty visible and direct in terms of how you manage and delegate.

"Often the tasks seem to unravel as they go through, because the project manager is in one place and part of the team is in another - which means things are turning to disaster and the project manager isn't there to sort it out. The project manager needs to be as hands-on as they can and should always make sure they are around to make key decisions."

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