The Apprentice’s Oliver Nohl-Oser: “I could have been a bit more ballsy”

The sausage entrepreneur talks boardroom tactics and THAT bike.

The Apprentice candidates for 2016.
The Apprentice candidates All of the candidates Image BBC

The Apprentice waved goodbye to another candidate this week, with Tom Hollander lookalike Oliver Nohl-Oser walking the plank.

An unfortunate casualty in a task centering around sweets, Nohl-Oser was probably a little unfortunate to be the one to fall on his sword but that’s often the way things go in the boardroom.

Keen to speak to loaded, a publication he fondly remembers from his “days at boarding school” the sausage entrepreneur discussed Mukai, negotiating dodgy deals and that bloody bike.

loaded: Now that the dust has settled a bit, how do you feel?

Oliver: I feel great. Being on The Apprentice actually gave me a lot of motivation to push on with my current business.

Also, I didn’t feel like it was a disastrous task – we had a lower cost of production than the other team, we sold all of our stock, or at least my part of the team did.

There could have been a bit more of a strategy and understanding of pricing though. My sub-team should never have undersold some of the sweets when they had already agreed a price but that’s the way it goes.

loaded: Do you think Mukai should have gone?

Oliver: It’s interesting, a few people have said that to me already but ultimately I have to take full responsibility for the failure of the task.

It’s important to remember I was actually nominated to be team leader so my fate was always going to be in the firing line if things went wrong. Ultimately project managers to have to go. That said, I don’t think it was all down to me.

Oliver Nohl-Oser is a contestant on The Apprentice.
Oliver Nohl-Oser Paid the price for his team's poor negotiations. Image BBC

loaded: Is there anything you would change?

Oliver: Perhaps I lacked some decisiveness and could have been a bit more assertive in situations like choosing who I was bringing into the boardroom with me, maybe it would have saved my bacon.

loaded: Paul and Mukai really came out fighting in the boardroom. Did you fear the worst?

Oliver: Well, I think I came out fighting as well. I could have been a bit more ballsy. Lord Sugar definitely liked me though – I think he had a bit of a soft spot and was probably quite impressed with where I have taken my business.

loaded: Watching the episode back, did you have your head in your hands during the sub-team price negotiations?

Oliver: Yes. I have no idea how or why that even happened. You would have thought that, by week three, they would have been able to handle that without me having to be on the phone telling them to stick to those prices.

loaded: Any regrets about that bike?

Oliver: No! The bike was the best bit. It was entertaining! It was meant to create a spectacle and it certainly did that. Lord Sugar joked about it but I think he was secretly impressed.

loaded: If I gave you a stick of rock now, would you smash it to pieces or keep it for later?

Oliver: No, I wouldn’t smash it, although I don’t eat sweets – my business is sausages. The task wasn’t a massive culture shock either – I buy and sell things at markets all the time. I suppose I just had an off day. What you have to remember is there was only about £160 separating the teams and we had the lower cost of production.

loaded: How did you feel when he pointed the finger of doom?

Oliver: Fine. It gave me the passion and drive to go on. When the show finishes I might even drop Lord Sugar a line to let him know how I am getting on and what I have learned.

loaded: Do you think your friends will be quoting that “the only chance you have of getting £250,000 is with a scratchcard” for years to come?

Oliver: Yeah, it was a funny line and I’m definitely expecting a few jokes. The main thing in all of this though is to not take yourself too seriously. Life is too short.

loaded: Can you tell us about your business plan?

Oliver: So at the moment I have two businesses supplying fine, award-winning Cumberland sausages to retailers in the UK and abroad. The business plan is to go further afield to places like Dubai and sell these products there. There is a big appetite out there among ex-pats

loaded: Any favourite contestants from shows gone-by?

Oliver: Well, I knew two of them – Simon Ambrose and Sanjay Sood-Smith. They have done really well from it actually.

loaded: What would be your advice for anyone applying?

Oliver: There’s no such thing as a silly business idea. You’ve just got to follow your dream and be determined and driven. It’s definitely helped my business and I think it will help your application if you already have your own business. I recommend anyone give it a go though.

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