The Apprentice: Episode 7

Hannah Langworth's weekly take on The Gateway's favourite business show

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Once upon a time there was a Grumpy Giant called Lord Sugar who kept nine boys and girls locked up a big house. A long, long, (long, long, long...err, long, long) time ago the Grumpy Giant had made a lot of money selling some tat from the back of a van. He wanted to make even more money, so he told the nine boys and girls, who were very frightened of him, that they had to do the same. "Smell what sells!" said the Grumpy Giant "and go and make me a fortune!"

So on a cold, cold night in Essex, where the Grumpy Giant was from, the boys and girls found themselves in a magical warehouse full of, err, tat, guarded by two of the Grumpy Giant's scariest servants: Nick the Gnome and Fairy Godmother Karren. Half of them were good boys and girls and decided quickly exactly what they wanted to get to sell the next day. But the other half of them got a bit lost amid the shelves full of strange things like hot water bottles, beard trimmers and asteroid bounce balls, and their leader, Jade, wasn't very good at guiding them. Finally, they found some magic bugs. "Maybe these will help us" they said in desperation. "Their cost price is 60p and we can sell them for £2.99, which is certainly a magical margin." The good boys and girls, meanwhile, had found something better. "These bottles of fake tan are sure to turn everything we touch into gold!" they said.

The next morning dawned dull and rainy, but the two teams bravely went to the village market and, err, shopping centre to sell their wares. One of the boys, Adam, had worked as a market trader before the Grumpy Giant had captured him, so he felt at home. "Rainy day prices!" he said and, to some female passers-by, "Gorgeous ladies!" What a prince! He and Jade even got on for a change. "She's stopped doing everything that I found annoying" he said "- but I still wouldn't date her." Charming! But, meanwhile, Azhar was scheming: "Strategy!" he muttered. "Strategy!" But no-one listened to him.

Ricky and Stephen from the team of good boys and girls were on the market stall playing with their magical brooms that could clean anything! "Why can't you sweep your house, Stephen?" asked Ricky. "Well, I have a bad back, Ricky" said Stephen. "I have just the thing for you, Stephen" said Ricky. How the villagers laughed! And they even bought one or two of their brooms. But over in the shopping centre, Gabrielle, Jenna and Nick were selling their bottles of fake tan much more quickly, so they sent Ricky and Stephen to get some more of these from the warehouse because they were good boys and girls and knew they had to follow the Grumpy Giant's instructions exactly.

The other team's magic bugs were also selling well, but Jade thought they should sell other things too. The boys and girls on her team were very worried, because they knew they might make the Grumpy Giant angry if they didn't do what he'd told them to do. But Jade, who always wore a special string of pearls around her neck, was able to cast a spell over them and they did what she said, even Azhar. All the boys and girls continued to sell and sell and sell as they knew that making money was the only way to keep the Grumpy Giant happy, but finally the day came to an end. The boys and girls were exhausted. "I wonder how much money we've made for the Grumpy Giant" they said.

The next day the Grumpy Giant summoned the nine boys and girls to his lair, where he counted the money. The good boys and girls who'd followed the Grumpy Giant's simple instructions had made the most money, so they were the winners! "Go and drink some special magical potions that I've laid on for you" said the Grumpy Giant.

But the Grumpy Giant was very, very angry with Jade and her team. "You're chaotic!" he said to her "- and you make decisions too quickly!" "You Jade, as team leader, must come back into my lair and bring two other people with you. One of you will then be thrown out of my house!" Jade didn't know what to do. She hated Azhar and his scheming, so she knew she'd choose him. But who else? Adam was her new favourite person, so she couldn't bring him back in - so Tom or Laura? Eventually, she chose Tom.

But the giant wanted to keep Tom in his house, so sent him back to join all the other good boys and girls. So would he throw out Jade or Azhar? His hands were just about to close round Jade's neck, and its string of pearls, when she said: "Please don't throw me out into the wilderness of the real business world, Grumpy Giant!" "I've always made you lots of money in the past and if you let me go now, I promise I'll make you lots and lots and lots of money in the future!" Azhar, on the other hand, despite all his scheming, had nothing to say so the Grumpy Giant flung him as far away as he could. Luckily, Azhar landed in a black cab that took him straight to see a Friendly Giant called Dara, who was much, much nicer to him than the Grumpy Giant had ever been, and even gave him a lovely present.

So what's the moral of our story? Why did Jade get to stay in the the Grumpy Giant's house while Azhar got thrown out? You, like Azhar, might think that the business world is all about having strategies and being sensible, but, as Jade knows, you can often get away with being a bit silly as long as you can keep people under your spell by telling them a good story. And if you really want to make a fortune in business, it sounds like whatever's in those pearls might be worth bottling and selling...