A lot of people watch The Apprentice and think, ‘I couldn’t do this’. While the show is designed to gauge how business savvy these people are, it’s not necessarily true to life and there are plenty of successful business people out there who wouldn’t survive more than a few weeks on the hit BBC show.

The show has changed over the years and candidates are no longer vying for a job with Lord Sugar; they’re now looking to go into a partnership with him. So if you’re looking for a high level job consider turning to exec-appointments.com because recent series of The Apprentice have all been about investment in a business idea.

It’s about sales

There’s a very hard bias towards sales people on the show (at least in the early stages) and while it’s important that good business people have some sales skill, a lot don’t have the wheeler-dealer personality that seems to be required by The Apprentice.

Selling is important but it seems to sit way above good management and time-keeping skills in the show. It seems that every week, someone is being dragged into the boardroom because they didn’t sell as much as the other candidates, even though they may have contributed more overall (or sold their few items at a higher margin).

Business leaders don’t all fall under this umbrella

The candidates on The Apprentice represent a very specific set of businesspeople. Not everyone who is a good business leader needs to fit into this.

The Apprentice candidates are bold, great at sales, somewhat argumentative and most think they are god’s gift to the boardroom. They are the kind of people who build businesses with forceful personalities, a little bit of talent, a healthy dose of showmanship and the ability to create good margins (whether or not they stick to those is another question).

Other business people might jump to success with an amazing niche business idea, great contacts or simply by being in the right place at the right time.

Where are the candidates today?

Another thing you have to think about is where these people are on the show. Some of them already run businesses and are looking for funding for a new idea. What’s stopping them from seeking funding like most people would? It’s either because they want an adventure, or they’ve been turned down every step of the way until this point.

You could say that for some of the candidates, The Apprentice is a last resort.

Are they business leaders?

For every series of the show, it probably brings us one or two people who are great business leaders. The others are there to cause conflict and make the show exciting (which is, let’s face it, why we continue to watch!)

Yes, there are great business leaders on the show but they aren’t the be all and end all of business talent and we don’t necessarily need to aspire to be like them. Look elsewhere and you’ll find business leaders who are already succeeding with amazing ideas and a fantastic head for business.

So, if you’re one of those people who thinks, ‘I couldn’t do that’ when watching The Apprentice, don’t worry. The skills tested on the show might not be ones you would use to run a successful business. Play to your strengths and develop your ideas in your own way and you’ll probably find you’re a better example of today’s business leaders.