So the final started with the inevitable phone call from Lord Sugars’ office, which prompted another corker from Luisa, who expressed some surprise that they would be doing another task... Perhaps she thought the winner would be decided by a game of ‘one potato, two potatoes’ or even ‘rock, paper, scissors’!!!
The final task was to prepare a launch package based on the two finalist’s business cases that had been revealed in the interviews last week; so it was down to ‘baking v. beauty’... The first job was to review the profiles of their fellow candidates who had all bitten the dust in earlier weeks and in this task, Leah was quite clearly the winner – having managed to secure all her first choices, leaving Luisa with only one of her first choices - Neil. She was also joined by Jason, Zee and Natalie; whilst Leah called upon Myles, Uzma, Francesca and Alex.
Both finalists were clearly in control of this task, with neither one truly accepting any suggestions made by their colleagues... at first anyway.
Leah’s journey seemed to be the smoother of the two; helped in part by her business proposition appearing to be so much more understandable than Luisa’s, judging by the bemused looks on the faces of her colleagues anyway. What was evident from both on this occasion though, was how much more effective a ‘project manager’ and ‘team leader’ they were, once they were back within their own comfort zones.
There was still a few classic moments though; Luisa’s team reported back from the focus group [a group of bakers], that they would not be attracted to a ‘pink’ brand as it would be considered to be too ‘gender specific’. Despite that feedback, she ploughed on with a very pink and ‘girly’ brand, which prompted Nick to describe it as being like ‘something out of Bambi or Barbie’. Luisa then went on to do her own market research by visiting a ‘boutique cake shop’ - that’s a new concept on me, which can presumably only exist in places like London, Chelsea, or Oxford!!! It was clear that the woman in the shop was also quite bemused, having been asked for her opinion and then not being able to get a word in edgewise. This was later described by Luisa as being 'because the owner of the shop had the same opinion as her'; well she would wouldn’t she – everyone you speak to will have the same opinion as you... if you don’t let them say anything!!!
Luisa’s final faux pas came in the final moments before her presentation, when she opted to ice cupcakes rather than rehearse her presentation, which led Nick to comment ‘failing to prepare the presentation is preparing to fail’; he clearly is after ‘Mystic Meg’s’ job in the down-time before the next series of the Apprentice as sure enough, Luisa’s presentation was littered with mistakes and she was clearly overwhelmed with nerves. All credit to Lord Sugar though, who reassured her back in the Boardroom that it hadn’t been noticed by him at the time...
So back in Leah’s team and unlike her counterpart; when she was given feedback that her name of ‘NIKS’ (with a backward K!) had been received badly on the streets she did respond by changing the name to N.I.K.S (still with a backward K!), having received such comments that it would be associated with ‘cuts’ or ‘shaving cuts’. Possibly not the right association for a clinic offering aesthetic cosmetic treatments!!
In the presentation, Leah’s performance was much more polished; though perhaps her greatest ‘mistake’ was the defensive way in which she virtually ‘attacked’ one of the audience members who questioned her logic and approach. Bearing in mind that the audience was made up of ‘industry leaders’, who perhaps should have been given credit by Leah for having some knowledge and experience of the market she was proposing to enter into...
A more constructive way for her to have responded to that challenge would have been to; acknowledge their experience and thank them for their suggestion and then, if she truly believed in the information she had gathered in her research, to reaffirm this as a solid basis for her business plan and its validity in the current market place... No offence caused – simples!!!