Melody Hossaini on The Apprentice 2013: "Don't jump on the slating bandwagon, being on the show is tough"

Remember Melody Hossaini? The Apprentice 2011 candidate who said “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit, when there are footprints on the moon”? Well this is her The Apprentice blog…

Week One

It’s back! 16 candidates, 16 big personalities, one opportunity. It’s the music that sends chills down my spine - dum, dum, de, de, de….

In 2011, I was selected as one of 16 candidates out of 75,000 who applied to take part in the ultimate business challenge. And what a challenge it was - most certainly the toughest thing I’ve ever taken part in. From making dog food to creating a lads’ mag - you have to work hard and battle it out!

Over the weeks, I’ll share an insight into the REAL world of The Apprentice. For the latest things that the viewer doesn’t always see, and for top business tips for aspiring entrepreneurs, i’ll also be tweeting at @melody_hossaini so get in touch and get involved.

From the outset, this year feels a little different. I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s a different production crew or that this season is aimed at a different target demographic, but something feels very different - and nope I’m not just talking about Karren Brady’s fabulous new hair!

The challenge analysis

The first task focused on selling a shipping container full of imported products from water, to toilet paper and bubble wrap (the essentials of life obviously). The girls’ team was led by self-elected Jaz Ampaw-Farr and the boys by the cautious Jason Leech.

For the most part, there are no re-takes when filming, especially not in the Boardroom. I tweeted in the beginning saying, I remember being so scared during Lord Sugar’s first brief that I couldn’t even hear myself think. It’s frightening, not least because you know so many millions of people are watching, so we have to hand it to the candidates for keeping cool.

 

That silly waving cat reminded me of the curse of the nodding dogs in our series. One of the top tips in business sales is, it doesn’t matter how good at selling you are, if you’re selling it to the wrong person, it’s a waste of time. I found it odd that the girls thought it was a good strategy to sell the Chinese cats to Chinese shops in Soho! I tweeted; “It’s like trying to sell your little eye-shadow to Mac HQ!” (Or “coal to Newcastle” as Lord Sugar said, but I much prefer the make-up analogy).

What about the Towie controversy?

It’s easy to judge the candidates and jump on the ‘slating’ bandwagon, but that isn’t my style. I think it’s a tough job being on the show, a lot of the bravado is clever TV hype and I fully support anyone who can put themselves out there and fight for what they believe in. 

As for people’s comments about the girls on the show being ‘TOWIE’ style, I resent those comments and think that’s exactly what’s wrong with society!

We judge too quickly by perceptions that are too narrow and put people in a box. I personally wouldn’t wear a dress as short as the ones some of the girls were wearing, or wear as strong make-up as some of the girls - at least not in the boardroom - but just because some women do, does not mean we are entitled to automatically assume they’re less capable in business. I am particularly disappointed to see women saying this (especially women who claim they inspire people). 

We need to stop labelling women- and judge on merit of what someone does.

What does the future hold?

I must say though, there’s just so much a viewer doesn’t see, so it’s extremely difficult to judge what is really happening. When the candidates are standing in the street and looking a little lost, people are probably shouting at the TV saying, “why don’t you go here and there!” But what some don’t realise is that, each location and shop you film in, has to be cleared legally first.

The boys clinched the first win, breaking the tradition that usually girls win the first week, but it is early days yet.

All I can say is best wishes to Jaz who was the first to be fired and leave you with a top business tip for the day…

Top business tip: For sales, match the location and who you want to sell it to, to the product you are trying to sell.

Melody is Founder and CEO of InspirEngage International delivering Skills Bootcamps to support young people and women into employment and social enterprise. Melody is also a professional speaker, having spoken in over 50 countries. You can follow Melody on twitter: https://twitter.com/Melody_Hossaini

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