The Apprentice 2011 (BBC1) concluded with a 10.7 million peak viewership – which statistically means at least one in six UK readers of this blog will likely share my amazement at the poor quality of the business plans submitted by the four finalists bidding for Alan Sugar’s £250,000 investment.
It may be that the plans were written in isolation, without the benefit of a second pair of eyes to find the obvious omissions of facts, figures and basic research. It is also possible that the finalists’ talents – and we should certainly not underestimate these – simply did not extend into the area of creative thinking and specialised communication that the challenge demanded.
I am sure that none of the finalists will be held back in the careers as a result of their performance on TV, because as they return to the real world they will have the benefit of colleagues and specialist advisors to guide them in their decision making and in the compilation of key business documents.
There is a lesson to be learnt from the final programme: to be good in a certain field of work, or in an aspect of a job, does not automatically mean excellence in all types of communication. I hope that they and the rest of the UK business community will remember that PR and marketing communication specialists can provide wide ranging verbal skills to finesse raw ideas – even cliché-riddled drafts – into compelling documents.
Our spoonful of sugar will help the messages get through!
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 16 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.