Fulfilment idea fired from The Apprentice

James HydeJames Hyde of James and James Fulfilment (as many Tamebay readers secretly are) is a fan of BBC1’s The Apprentice. Naturally he was especially interested this week as it was revealed one the the proposals was to go 50:50 on a fulfilment venture with Lord Sugar. In classic Apprentice style things didn’t go quite to plan though and here is James’ review of the episode:

This week’s edition of The Apprentice was fascinating to those of us in e-commerce and fulfilment as Solomon Akhtar rightly identified the need for good quality e-fulfilment services for small businesses.

He and the remaining candidates had just 24 hours to review their business plans before taking to the interview floor with four of Lord Sugar’s most trusted advisers. However, the 23 year-old’s business plan had an unforgivable lack of detail, enough for Claude Littner – notoriously hard to impress – to send him out of the room without any questions, and the University of Exeter graduate was eventually fired.

Solomon’s business plan was a fulfilment business – packaging, shipping and storing products for students’ start-up companies. He has described himself as passionate about technology and, having run a technology business within the social media field – Instabear – he had the grounding to produce a really fantastic plan. As James and James, the leader in UK fulfilment has shown, technology and fulfilment now go hand in hand – there isn’t one without the other.

Solomon’s business plan was just eight pages long – though he later confirmed on Greg James’ Radio 1 show that it was actually printed double sided – only half as bad as it seemed then. One thing that got Claude’s back up was the numerous pictures of sail boats – Solomon’s logo sketches. Could this have been inspired from one of the young entrepreneur’s other businesses that he started up while studying at university – managing events for students including a group yacht trip around Croatia? He admitted to the interview panel that he noted ideas down on his phone as they came to him – but was stumped when they asked him to tell them of some – perhaps the business plan was written on a similar basis?

James and James Fulfilment was started with a similar insight into the needs of small business, and in our case, the huge advantages of a cloud-based approach. Unlike Solomon, we did our homework and as it happens, didn’t need to ask for money as our business was profitable from the start, and today employs over thirty staff.

Having sailed through the first ten weeks (pun intended), he knew as soon as he came out of the interview the mistake he had made – he really is an ideas man that keeps the concrete facts and figures in his head.

So despite Solomon’s fantastic enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit, we can perhaps learn the lesson here that being an entrepreneur isn’t just having a great idea, but having the detailed plans and the ability to bring that idea into reality.

[Editors note: James Hyde, you’re hired!]