Fortunately, entertainment and entrepreneurial education can go hand-in-hand. You can get all sorts of insights on being a leader, scaling a business and other entrepreneurial challenges you're facing from anywhere, even TV shows.
As an entrepreneur, it's easy to get bogged down by the nitty-gritty of running a business — hence, the importance of downtime. But what about staying productive even in those relaxing hours? Believe it or not, you can still learn and thrive from the comfort of your couch.
Here are five sources of inspiration and wisdom while keeping you entertained:
1. Shark Tank
Shark Tank is the perfect TV show for entrepreneurs who want to learn how to write and deliver an effective elevator pitch, and a pitch isn't the sole property of entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas to sell. Business owners can use an elevator pitch to drum up business and grow their network. Teaching you how to pitch isn’t the only thing Shark Tank has to offer, though it is a very difficult skill to master and requires a lot of examples. Other lessons include learning how to negotiate, how to put a value on your business and how equity deals are structured. You also get some insights on hustling, passion and scaling.
2. Undercover Boss
Yes, this show tends to be overly dramatic with a lot of tears shed at the end of each episode, but it also contains a lot of important lessons for every entrepreneur. The show gives you an inside look at the business process of certain companies. It also shows you the value of employees — they can make or break your business. Their perspectives can change the way you do business, and the show reveals that even the best CEOs have blind spots when it comes to their employees. Some of your employees may be underutilized because you are unaware of their skills. They might be better suited for a different role that could benefit your employee and the company more. Last, but not the least, Undercover Boss shows you what it means to be a true leader. You need to get in the trenches once in a while to learn about what your people experience. This may lead to a change in roles, policies or processes that can result in a better business and happier employees.
3. Game of Thrones
The character dynamics, plot twists and machinations in Game of Thrones may seem over-the-top compared to real life. But if you look under all the drama, there's a gold mine of lessons on entrepreneurship. One lesson is to always keep your promises. Robb Stark's failure to keep his resulted in the Red Wedding. Your failure to keep promises can hurt your brand as well as your market share. Another good lesson is about leadership. A good leader takes care of his employees. Just look at how loyal Daenerys’ followers are. In business, the better you treat your employees and partners, the more successful your company becomes.
What can a drug kingpin teach entrepreneurs? A lot more than you think. Pablo Escobar started from the ground up, which means that he did a lot of the dirty work himself for several years before his business became big enough that he could employ others to do them for him. He also is a great leader who has earned the loyalty of his employees by how well he cares for them. Moreover, he gives back to his community which enabled him to win the hearts of the people despite his drug-dealing ways. These are just three important lessons that entrepreneurs should take to heart. There are a lot more insights you can get while sitting on a couch watching Pablo Escobar run his business in Narcos.
5. The Profit
Any small business owner who wants to learn the best way to run a business should watch The Profit. Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, looks over struggling businesses and gives them solid advice on how to rescue themselves from bankruptcy. By the end of the episode, he then decides whether or not he wants to become a partner in the business and invest his money in exchange for a certain percentage of the profits.
Obviously, there are a lot of lessons to be learned in this show, and you don't even have to look for a similar business in the series to get sound advice that you can apply. One lesson that is imparted on every episode is Marcus’ mantra: People, Process, Product. These three areas need to be in sync to ensure that your business is a success. For example, the people area covers your employees. Are they in the right position or would they serve better in a different role? Are you understaffed, overstaffed, or just right? How well do you treat your employees? Other lessons you can learn is to know your numbers, eliminate inefficiency, embrace change, and be willing to take risks.
The next time you’ve got some off time, don’t think about how unproductive you will be. Take a load off, get on the couch, and turn on your TV. You’re going to be a better entrepreneur for it.