Being your own boss means that even before you register your business name (this can be easily done via a company formation such as 1stformations.co.uk), it’s easy to get caught up in the world of MVPs, ad sets, funnels, marketing, content and forecasts. But if you ever feel like you need to put your feet up and watch a little television, you don’t need to stray too far from what you’re used to. If anything, there are a few shows out there which could offer you insight into how others run their business while inspiring you to be better at what you do.
So, if you’re ready to wind down to some TV, here are some top TV picks for entrepreneurs.
1. How I made my millions
Airing on CNBC, this program goes behind the scenes to show the viewer how ordinary people have taken simple ideas and turned them into extraordinary businesses. The show focuses on the entrepreneurs behind these extraordinary businesses, and traces their journey back to the beginning. Throughout the program, you will learn how these entrepreneurs used the resources and tools available to them to their best advantage, and also how they overcame difficulties and worked hard to get past the million-dollar threshold.
2. House of Cards
While this might seem like an exclusively political program, at its core lies a display of the power of determination, and the lengths that people can go to – just to get what they want. This series offers a great lesson in understanding how carefully orchestrated things that are seemingly trivial on the surface can be, as well as the power behind taking action towards making your goals a reality.
3. Undercover Boss
The central theme of this show is built on the premise that CEOs can go undercover within their corporations to gain a deeper understanding of how things come together. Nine times out of ten, it transpires that the said CEOs know less than they previously thought they did, and they end up gestures of appreciation towards previously underappreciated employees. This humbling but highly entertaining show reveals how easy it can be to get out of tough when businesses progress beyond a certain level, and it makes for a great entrepreneurial tear-jerker.
4. Million Dollar Listing
This show offers the viewer a glimpse into the working lives of a series of high-flying realtors as they work their way through million-dollar property deals. You get to follow the communication techniques and attitudes used in million-dollar sales negotiations – which you will find are exactly the same techniques and attitudes used in ten-dollar sales negotiations. An added bonus is that you also get to see (even for a brief moment) the lavish lifestyle that could come as a result of hard work – a bit of inspiration if you aspire to such a lifestyle.
5. How it’s made
The process behind the production of any product make for intriguing TV, and that is what this show is all about. The viewer is taken through the process behind the manufacture of simple everyday products, and you get to gain great insight into the operations side of many thriving businesses. This highly engaging program will educate you on diverse but related topics such as product design, manufacturing and the supply chain – all within a short 21-minute window.
6. The Profit
Also, on CNBC, this reality show is hosted by a real-life entrepreneur – Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis. He invests varying sums of money into struggling businesses in exchange for some equity, and the show takes the viewer through his process of implementing business strategies that help to take the businesses out of the red and into the black. In this show, you will learn how business buyouts and investments in exchange for equity can work in the real world – especially when all partners are actively involved in the day-to-day management of the business.
7. 30 for 30
Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from this program which features great athletes who get vulnerable in front of the camera and share the challenges and drawbacks they have surpassed to be the best in the world at their craft. These motivational experiences mirror real-world experiences faced by entrepreneurs, and it offers valuable lessons on the determination and focus required to be truly great at any craft.
8. The Apprentice
This British show features Lord Alan Sugar, British business tycoon and founder of the Amstrad group which manufactures interactive cable TV boxes in the UK. As part of the show, he sets weekly challenges for the experienced business people competing to win a position as his business partner – a privilege that comes with £250,000 seed money. The weekly challenges offer plenty of insight into team working, business strategy and the key communication skills that business people use to get ahead in a highly competitive environment.
9. Breaking Bad
While the plot of this show is entwined with the production and supply of illegal drugs, the show offers sound tips and strategies on what it means to work under pressure, which remaining focused on a single goal. The show also demonstrates how team building can work to achieve fantastic results while building team members on an individual level to become fearless entrepreneurs. While there are a lot of illegal activities in this show, it does offer a glimpse into the realities and illegalities of the real business world.
This show is based on the real-life story of Sophia Amoruso, the 23-year old who found success by selling vintage women’s clothes first on the online retail site eBay, and later in her own online store. The show is a biography of sorts, detailing her journey through finding business success at 23 and rising to become one of the richest self-made women on the Forbes list at the age of 27. It is a must-watch for any entrepreneur looking to be entertained by the challenges and business strategies encountered by business owners in their journey to the top.
11. Planet of the Apps
Planet of the Apps is a reality TV show from Apple which features a competition among app developers in the race to win $10 in venture capitalist money. Each developer is given 60 seconds to make an elevator pitch to a group of celebrity investors, who indicate their interest by offering the developer more time to hear about the product. The celebrity investor on hearing as much detail as they want to hear can, then proceed to partner with the investor or choose to pass.
12. Dragons Den
In this business show, prospective entrepreneurs get about 3 minutes to pitch their business ideas to a panel of “dragons”, or seasoned British multi-millionaires in a bid to win a cash injection into their businesses. following each pitch, the dragons have a chance to ask the entrepreneurs any key questions that they may have about the business from which point, they can choose whether or not they want to be part of the business.
13. Shark Tank
This show can be regarded as America’s answer Dragon’s Den. Featuring a panel of millionaires and even billionaires, entrepreneurs have a few minutes to pitch their business ideas with the hopes of getting some investment in exchange for equity. The shoe exploded in popularity shortly after it was launched, even attracting non-entrepreneurs. One of the best thing about this show for entrepreneurs is that if watched often enough, it will enable you decipher a good business pitch from a bad business pitch – a skill which may come in handy if you should ever seek VC funding at any point in your entrepreneurial career.