- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2004

One more show and one more land of Trump-Onomics lessons from this week’s show of The Apprentice, we got more lessons on Trump-Onnomics. The men of Versacorp are now O-for-4. After The Donald gave the mandatory Trump-A-Dump to a member of the losing team-this time it was the chubby Texan Bowie Hogg-The Apprentice is now down to 12 contestants, 4 men and all 8 women. And while the juvenile Sam got fired last week, the ghost of Sam remained. Nick vowed to revenge Sam’s firing by winning himself. And Trump, taking special notice of the women who have continued to use their looks, called them on the carpet.

Episode Four Update

This week, the two teams were assigned to run the legendary Planet Hollywood on Times Square on two consecutive nights. The team who improved revenues the most compared with the same day last year, would get treated to golf at Trump’s famous golf course. The women, were led by team leader Katrina and immediately focused on selling liquor, which they learned was only 25% of the Planet Hollywood sales, but represents a whopping 300% profit margin. The women went back to a winning strategy they had used before, sex as a selling tool. They transformed themselves into “The Shooter Girls,” and boosted profits 31%, while the men’s coupon distribution strategy only boosted sales 6%. The women may have won but not without paying a price. The Donald made it clear that flaunting your appeal as a female certainly sells but too much promotion of it sells the wrong thing.

Episode Three: Lessons Learned

Lesson One.

As we learned in last week’s show which tested negotiating skills, the difference in winning and losing in business is all about focusing on the margins. The women won again by putting all their talents, and literally baring many of their assets, to sell high-margin liquor rather than low-margin food at the Times Square tourist eatery. The leader of the men’s team, Kwame, faulted himself on putting more effort in attracting customers via coupons rather than on getting them to consume the high-profit product. Advice: Money is made on the margin. Determine where your highest margins are and build execute a business plan with that as the major focus of your effort.

Lesson Two.

As any Trump-ologist knows, The Donald is a big believer in the power of brands. After all, Donald Trump is the only real estate developer in the world who makes nearly as much money renting out his famous name as he does renting buildings. Brand matters thus “no brand” means “no profits.” The women of Protg embraced the Planet Hollywood brand by wearing tight-fitting and revealing logo-wear throughout their stint in the caf. The men, on the other hand, kept their street clothes on and lost business because of it. Advice: Your brand isn’t incidental to your success it can be the power to driv it. Therefore, if you don’t have a great brand, think about licensing one or be ready to get beat by someone who does. And if you have a great brand and fail to flaunt it, that’s just as bad as having no brand at all.

Lesson Three.

Performance is relative. There is an old saying among forest rangers: “If you and I are being chased by a bear, I don’t have to out-run the bear, I just have to out-run you.” In the Board Room at the show’s conclusion, team leader Kwame was asked to nominate two team members to be considered for firing. Of Kwame’s two nominees, Bowie turned in a performance that, while acceptable, was “relatively less impressive” than that of the enthusiastic and creative Troy or the managerially-brilliant Bill. Advice: In Trump-land like all corporate-lands, you don’t just come to play, you come to play to win. Playing fair for profit works but playing for a tie will get you fired.

In next week’s episode of The Apprentice, the preview tells us there will be a re-shuffling, which will create two mixed teams. The big question is whether the women will be as successful when they have to team with men rather than compete with them. Stay tuned.

Jay Whitehead is a workforce analyst and advisor on employee and employer relations. He is publisher of HRO Today Magazine (www.hrotoday.com) and Chair of the HRO World Conference (www.hroworld.com). Please email Jay with your questions and comments at jwhitehead@outsourcingtoday.com.

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