Must See TV Lessons for Small Business Owners

Offering TV programming in your business is a great way to take your customer experience up a notch. But did you know you benefit too? Those TV programs you watch at home offer valuable (and entertaining) lessons you can apply to your own business. So don’t feel guilty about binge-watching them. Here are just a few lessons taught by your favorite programs.

Shark Tank

These are your people—fellow entrepreneurs seeking funding to move their business forward by tapping high-profile financiers. This reality TV series features innovative business ideas and advice from seasoned business tycoons who were once in your shoes.

Key Takeaway: Learn what financial components are needed to make a compelling case for funding. That includes business valuation, revenue streams, cost of goods sold, run rates and more.

Property Virgins

Older versions of this HGTV series with realtor Sandra Rinomato take first-time home buyers through the buying process. She educates them along the way so they have a realistic view of what to expect. 

Key Takeaway: This is a great study in how salespeople should interact with customers. Learn how to talk with customers to find out what they want. There’s special emphasis on helping customers reconcile their wants with their budget.

Kitchen Nightmares

Renowned chef Gordon Ramsay travels the U.S. to restaurants who are struggling to stay in business. He offers a diagnosis of the problem then implements changes to help them succeed—anything from redecorating, to menu changes, to staffing tweaks.

Key Takeaway: Although the subject is restaurants, these problems are served up to many businesses. Learn how to identify key success drivers and make corrections.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

This no-holds barred game show features a troupe of talented improvisation performers who are asked to react to unique situations posed by the host. And they only have a minute to get the job done.

Key Takeaway: Think about how often you’re called on to make business decisions on the fly. Get inspired by how these performers find creative solutions on the spot (and have a little fun at the same time).

Silicon Valley

This HBO series is a parody that looks at a small team of developers at an internet startup who seek to compete with a large tech company. Bill Gates says, “you should watch it because they don’t make any more fun of us than we deserve.”

Key Takeaway: Besides a larger-than-life look into the tech industry, this series offers insight as the business owner struggles to manage employees and establish a high-performance team.

Grace and Frankie

This Netflix series chronicles two women who find themselves on their own after their marriages dissolve. At the age when most people are retired, the pair launch a startup for a “personal product.” Grace offers her successful business expertise and Frankie her off-beat creativity. 

Key Takeaway: Get entertaining insights into the challenges of a startup, including funding, distribution, manufacturing, target marketing and social media promotion.

Small Business Revolution

If your business is in small-town America, this is the series for you. Each season, the creators seek out the most inspiring small towns and award selected businesses a $500,000 revitalization, with the help of celebrity experts.

Key Takeaway: Get some free advice from celebrity consultants on how to overcome the challenges faced by small- and medium-sized businesses in smaller cities.

Empire

This fictional series follows a hip-hop artist and CEO of an entertainment empire whose terminal illness prompts him to decide which of his sons will take over. In addition, his ex-wife claims she’s entitled to a share because she took the fall for drug-running, which financed the business. To complicate matters, investors threaten to take over the business, thereby eliminating them all from its management.

Key Takeaway: Get some insights into succession planning in a family business that also has investors who have a ruling stake in the enterprise. Fortune.com offers these lessons too.

TV viewing can be educational as well as entertaining. Take a look at these programs and learn lessons that might be just the ticket for your business.

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