Many people learn their business principles via schooling, training courses, books, or even by trial and error. Trial and error is a poor method because the mistakes you make due to not knowing the in’s and out’s of running a business can put your business behind the eight ball, as there are real world consequences to “trying” and making errors.
Schooling, books and training courses require significant commitment and commitment of time and money, and besides, they aren’t for everyone. Is there a complimentary path to acquiring business acumen?
Business Related Reality Shows Can Provide Decent Business Educations
I’m not a fan of television, let alone “reality” television, but I have become addicted to various shows that present real life case studies that are addressed by a particular business expert. I’m also a fan, though less so, of the well known reality shows like Shark Tank, and Dragons’ Den.
All of these shows, in varying degrees, can teach us a lot about business basics, investment, strategy, and even a lot of the nuts and bolts that go into making a business successful, (or the opposite).
The Business Related Rundown For Reality TV
Below you’ll find entries for a number of television shows, past and present, that have strong or precise linkages to running effective businesses. I’ve annotated them with some of my own comments to help you pick and choose what might be of interest to you.
All of these are available “somewhere” either via your regular television, online, or via streaming services. In all likelihood, you won’t be able to catch all of them, since it may be that past shows are no longer available, or shows aren’t available in your particular geographic location. Links provided go to the page associated with each show’s network.
Watch Shark Tank TV Show
The American version of Shark Tank is probably the best known of the business reality shows, so you probably know it. The premise is simple. Business people come in looking for investment from one or more “sharks” — rich successful investors on the panel. It’s similar to other shark tanks, and dragons’ den, but it’s a bit more focused on the investors and drama than it is on business issues per se. Still, it’s easy to find online, or via your regular TV since it’s on ABC. In terms of learning, I’d probably list this towards the end of the list due to its propensity for false drama, and somewhat obnoxious sharks. You should be able to watch some episodes online if you click the link.
Under New Management
This Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) show is a new entry, with just a few episodes in the first season, so it’s a bit hard to pin this down, since there are just few example shows. It begins a new season (02) in March, 2019, and the reason I’ve included it is that it features Dragons’ Den dragon Arlene Dickenson as the host. The premise is different too, since rather than turning around businesses, this involves providing three businesses for sale to a budding entrepreneur, who then has to choose. Arlene is really a Canadian national treasure, not only for her business savvy, but also because of her involvement in various good causes, and a heart that sometimes overrides her normally practical business acumen.
Shark Tank TV Show - Network Ten
You are probably familiar with Shark Tank as an American show, but there’s editions of it for various countries, and they tend to have a different “feel”. The Australian version is less fake drama based, and the sharks are much more supportive and instructive with the people coming into the shark tank for investments. Investment opportunities range from very small, to quite large, though not as large as in the U.S. version. As with similar shows that focus on investment, there’s much to be learned about how venture capitalists think, and what they look for, how to value a business, make a pitch, and business strategy. I prefer this to the American version, since it’s more friendly, and less attacking. Currently still in production, you may be able to view past episodes online (click this link), although you may have to be in Australia to do so.
Dragons' Den BBC 2
Dragons Den (British version) is in its sixteenth season, and uses a similar format to the Shark Tank show. As is often the case with non-American shows, it’s much lower key, and there’s less constructed drama, and obnoxious rich people. It’s also a bit slower paced so if you are used to the American Shark Tank, you might find it slow going, and well….a bit sedate.
BBC Two - Alex Polizzi - The Fixer - Episode guide
You might know of Alex Polizzi as “The Hotel Inspector” (which is also a good show to learn about the hotel industry and business strategies, but in this show of three series, Alex visits with different family businesses to try to help them out of what are difficult situations, and imminent closure. I’m a big fan of Alex, because I like her firm way of dealing with business owners which is carried out in a positive spirit of helping. Her compassion comes through clearly. As with many British shows, each series is short, and they tend to appear intermittently. You may have trouble accessing them, but there are some episodes available on You Tube and Dailymotion. Particularly appropriate for any small business, since small IS the focus, whether it’s about a micro brewery or a drapery and textile shop.
Here’s the Canadian version of Dragons Den on CBC and its in its thirteenth season. Same concept as the other Dens’ and Tanks, it’s a bit more fast paced than the British version, but not quite as frenetic and “constructed” as Shark Tank USA. It has the feeling of typical Canadian productions which is a bit unassuming, but with a bit of an edge compared to the British version.
Follow Marcus Lemonis as he decides whether to invest in businesses that are struggling, and watch him work with each business owner to rescue, or make the business profitable. Long running American series that is really hard core business. This is one of my favorite business reality shows, because it’s raw enough to be real, doesn’t sugar coat business, and doesn’t create false drama as might be the case with other series. Tons to learn from this one hour show.
Have You Got A Show To Add?
There’s a start. If you have a favorite business show on TV that helps people learn about business strategy, or related small business issues, leave your suggestion in the comment area. I have a few more to add when I get a chance.