"I think, in general, I don't take myself very seriously," said Avi Sharma, one of the most admired candidates in the 2023 series of BBC's popular reality show 'The Apprentice'.
The 25-year-old British Indian candidate from London, Sharma, is the youngest-ever candidate of the brutal boardroom reality show.
"And that always helps because, especially when you're on national TV, people are always conscious of how they look and what they say. But when you don't really care what others think of you, you get more comfortable in your shoes," he added.
Sharma stood out right from the beginning, and even though he was axed towards the end of the show, he remains extremely popular to date. With his calm demeanour, ability to see the best in others, optimism, business acumen and strategic thinking, he has impressed viewers and the show's judges.
"It was a stiff competition I was up against. In that boardroom, it was probably the most difficult decision he (Lord Sugar) had to make to fire me. I think maybe he felt a bit bad that it was me, the youngest person in the competition, with whom he could have a joke every so often. And so, maybe that's why he felt he could say 'keep in touch'," Sharma reminisced Lord Alan Sugar's personal goodbye to him.
This “keep in touch” from the famed no-nonsense business tycoon and reality show judge is not what all candidates get when they're “fired” from that high pressure boardroom of 'The Apprentice'; in fact quite the opposite.
"I can't give specifics, but I'd love to stay in touch with someone like him who can guide and support me. And I look up to him a lot," Sharma said cryptically.
With a background in finance, the University of Nottingham economics graduate has consistently been one of the top performers in the various challenges presented on the show. He has shown a talent for negotiation, leadership, and innovation, earning him high praise from Lord Sugar and his fellow contestants.
"The number one thing you need to have a successful business is product-market-fit. That's basically the idea that your product or services sustains demand in the market. And I think knowing that is difficult. Many founders failed for that reason. It is the first step in building a successful venture," he said.
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"I started many businesses. I started when I was just 10 or 11 years old. I used to sell things to my younger brothers in my bedroom. And then, I went to secondary school and started selling sweets to everyone in the playground. And then people started getting caught selling sweets, and they used to get Saturday detentions. I thought, right, I need to stop selling sweets. So, I started selling polo shirts in the playground at 13," Sharma said, matter-of-fact.
"I always focused on selling something where there was demand. When I went to university, I sold club tickets for nights out to students. So, whatever you sell, it's good to have constant feedback on your product; that's very important," he added.
Besides his dry wit and sense of humour, Sharma endeared everyone with his easygoing vibes and treated everyone respectfully, even within a highly competitive environment.
"I think if you want to win, in competition or life, that's what you should do," he reflected.
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"You need to put your point across when necessary, but don't just do it for the sake of it. Some of the people who got fired early on from the competition went a bit mad when it wasn't necessary. So having the emotional intelligence to hold it in and speak when needed is important," said Sharma, sharing his success mantra.
Born and raised in Finchley, north London, Avi is the eldest of four kids in what he describes as a noisy, busy household with its roots in Punjab. With his heart firmly in business, he left his banking job before joining 'The Apprentice' series and is now firmly focused on making his start-up venture 'Avi TV' big across social media platforms.
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"My plan is to take Avi TV to the moon. I want to grow it exponentially. I wanna make some really compelling business content," said the optimistic entrepreneur.
*Info: Avi TV