The Apprentice has been back on TV screens for all of three weeks and I am already wondering where they managed to find another bunch of dopey candidates who don’t seem to have an ounce of business sense between them.

Laugh-wise though, this series got off to a great start with this one liner from Karthik: “If I wanted to be like everyone else, I’d have waxed my monobrow.”

And check out this gem from (the now sadly fired) Oliver who – for reasons unknown to anyone, except Oliver of course – announced to Lord Sugar: “I feel like James Bond when I’m in my suit.” That’s your shiny suit Oliver, is it?

In week one Paul was chosen to lead his team, tasked with selling vintage items. He was picked because of his experience because he had ‘watched quite a few episodes of Bargain Hunt’. Really?!

Then in week two, Jessica had an epic meltdown… over leaving a pair of jeans at an advertising agency.

Lord Sugar is also the source of some big laughs with classics such as: “If you want to moan, you can send me an email at [email protected].” Brilliant! Don’t you just love him?

Oh and I must mention Aleksandra who proclaimed in the first episode: “Like the Tasmanian Devil in the famous cartoon, I will torpedo my way through to the win.” Then in week three she promptly announced her resignation before the task had even begun! Good game, Aleksandra!

I’ll be watching the rest of the series with interest – for the humour value if nothing else. And, of course, to see whether any of the candidates actually do have any savvy sales knowhow and creativity up their shiny suit sleeves!

But seriously, being creative is a big part of business… and it’s certainly part of The Apprentice, yet the candidates don’t seem to realise this.

The tasks are pretty easy to be honest – and usually involve an end target of simply ‘making a profit’… because of course this is what Lord Sugar is all about. He’s a straightforward kind of guy who wants the job done and the profit made, with a little bit of thinking outside the box added in for good measure.

It is exactly the same when you sell online. You want to make a profit and so need to be a little bit creative to get that result.

Researching a hot product can be simple, but if there is massive competition already when it comes to selling that product you’ll need to use your own creativity.

On my product research travels, I often dig up extremely popular products that could be listed on their own but are actually far better bundled together to form a ‘set’. This is the sort of creativity I’m talking about.

So be a bit different…

You will need to be different to ensure you stand out from your competitors.

By all means sell exactly the same product as other sellers – lots of sellers usually indicates an in-demand product – but to quote another reality show and the words of Louis Walsh: “You need to make it your own.”

Offer that little bit more… whether in the form of a no quibble money back guarantee or a more descriptive listing that makes people want to buy… or a bundle or ‘kit’, it’s really up to you. But you do need to be better than the rest so that you stand out.

So let’s look at bundling – this is a very effective way of offering something extra with your product.

When you bundle, it is like a type of upselling… except you are not trying to upsell people by directing them to separate listings for your other products. Instead you’re offering them a unique package where the buyer can receive related products at a discount compared with if they were to purchase them separately.

It’s happening all around you

This strategy can work for pretty much any product in any niche and you’ve probably seen it done but haven’t realised at the time.

For example, McDonald’s bundle products – this is exactly what their value meals are – multiple individual products of fries, burger, drinks and so on combined into one fast food complete meal!

You may see a laptop offered with pre-loaded software – this is also a bundle. Or beauty products packaged together – another bundle. And the reason it’s done is because it works!

Try putting your creative hat on and consider grouping products together, upping your guarantee, or putting together a specific offer that buyers can’t resist.

By adding something more and becoming ‘similar but better’ you will still be selling your original product but offering a uniqueness that can boost your profit margins.

And a final tip from me…

If you want to get some really good bundle ideas head over to Amazon when doing your research.

You’ll see that often (not always) when you look at a product page, there will be a large box headed ‘Frequently Bought Together’if you scroll down the page to somewhere near the reviews. This is a mine of information for you.

Within this box, Amazon tells you exactly what related products people are buying. For example, this could be a camera and a camera case. Often these items are purchased together, but from two different sellers, so a good bundle idea would be for you to offer a camera AND a case together.

Get the idea? It’s creative and pretty simple to put into practice.