Young Upstarts

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15 Inspirational TV Shows For New Entrepreneurs

If you are in the process of growing your business, I’m sure you are very busy, but everyone needs to take break to recharge the batteries from time to time. You can have your relaxation time without feeling guilty by putting your feet up  and tuning into some of the top TV 1. shows recommended by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.

These shows will give you a behind the scenes look at how the world of business works, what it takes to become successful in business and teach you strategies that you can implement to build and grow your own business.

Shark Tank.

Shark Tank is a reality TV programme where budding entrepreneurs seek funding from a panel of six business moguls  to start or grow a business or to save their existing business from failure.  If the sharks like the business they pledge to invest their time and money into the business to help it grow and thrive.

This is a great show to watch in order to learn about how the pitching process works. The potential investors quickly get down to the basic facts and figures of  the business and if the entrepreneur does not have the information at their fingertips, they are in trouble.  You can learn as much from the unsuccessful pitches as the successful ones and you get to observe and learn how negotiation tactics can be used to get the best deals for your business.

2. Beyond The Tank.

Beyond the Tank follows the journey of the entrepreneurs who were successful in achieving investment in Shark Tank as their investor and mentor shark works with them in an attempt to scale and grow their business.

Beyond the Tank gives great insight into the process of scaling up a business, including some of the challenges and problems that arise, such as the entrepreneur finding it difficult to relinquish control of their  business.   You will also learn about practical issues related to growing a business such as the need to grow stock inventory, gain extra storage and recruit and retain high quality staff.

3. How I Made My Millions.

This is a fascinating look at the story behind  some of the biggest brands in business, who grew from humble beginnings into multi-national corporations. Some examples are Dyson, Jelly Belly and Honest Tea.

This programme is very motivational as all of the successes were reached through a combination of a good idea, hard work, perseverance, resilience and a little bit of luck.  It shows that the simplest ideas often turn out to be the best ones and that no business reaches the top without some level of struggle and difficulty along the way.

4. How It’s Made.

How It’s Made  is a behind the scenes look at how items we need and use in our everyday lives are made.  The manufacturing processes for hundreds of diverse products from chocolate to MRI scanners are featured on this show.

It will give you gain an understanding of the design and manufacturing and supply processes whether you intend to manufacture your own goods or sell goods made by others.

5. TVF Pitchers.

In this fictional series, a disillusioned software developer Naveen quits his job via a drunken phone call on a night out.  He then manages to persuade three of his friends to join him in quitting their safe, well-paid jobs for the risk and uncertainty of self-employment and entrepreneurship to work on an idea for a software business that they have been toying with for a few months.

This is a must-see for anyone who has ever sat in their office, dreaming of the day they could tell their boss to stuff their job, walk out the door and follow their own dreams and aspirations.  The story and the characters are very relatable.  As the drama unfolds, you will learn alongside the characters about societal pressue to walk the safe line, the positive and negative side of taking the leap into the unpredictable world of business and entrepreneurship, about the importance of teamwork, how the funding process works, what investors are looking for and above all how in spite of fighting against the odds, it is all worth if for the chance of making your dreams come true.

6. Girl Starter.

This is a reality TV competition between a group of six girls who dream of starting their own business. The process of the programme is to test their skills and resilience in the business world, to provide mentorship and evaluation of their business ideas.  On the show the girls are required to develop new products in pairs, and the winning ideas will be funded and supported.

This programme give a step by step account of the process of starting a business using a specific six step formula, Start It, Plan it, Prove It, Build It, Brand It, Fund It. This is a formula which can be emulated by new entrepreneurs in the process of starting a business.

7. Small Business Revolution.

Small Business Revolution is an American TV show where a team works with small businesses in an attempt to revitalise a town centre  in America, each series features a different town. Business experts, Amanda Brinkman and Robert Herjavec work with local businesses to identify the problems and challenges they face and work to help  overcome them so that they can survive and thrive in the local and global marketplace.

This programme is a great resource for anyone who has or is thinking about setting up a bricks and mortar retail business, as it address issues such as profit margins, inventory control, online selling, and the use of social media for marketing.  The show looks at the issues that not only affect start-ups but that will keep the business sustainable and profitable in the long term.

8. Undercover Boss.

In Undercover Boss the owner or senior manager of a large business goes undercover by wearing a disguise, creating a fictional back story and pretending to be an entry level employee. The boss does this so that they can observe and evaluate how things are done on the frontline. Business systems, working conditions, staff behaviour, interactions between staff and customers all come under scrutiny. At the end of the week, the most hard working employees are rewarded and improved training and working conditions are put in place for others.

In this show you get to learn about what is involved in the day to day running of a business, how important it is not to lose sight of the front line and to always keep your finger on the pulse of your business.   This programme also highlights the importance of human resources and how treating staff well and providing high quality training are paramount to the success of a business.

9. Tech Stars.

Tech Stars is a documentary tv programme about start up tech companies who spend three months in a New York City business incubator.  During the three months tech entrepreneurs work with mentors and investors, to get their idea to the point where they are pitching for funding to grow and scale their tech business idea.

This show gives a realistic perspective of what it is to be a tech start up entrepreneur and the stages that the start up business needs to go through  to get to the point of investment.  What makes this show unique is that you get to hear the point of view of the mentors and investors as well as that of the entrepreneur this knowledge will help you to better understand the process.

10. Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley is a comedy series which follows the lives of a computer programmer and his geeky friends as they try to take advantage of the high tech gold rush. They live together rent-free in an apartment/tech incubator on condition that the landlord is entitled to a share in any business that is developed by the group.  One of the characters Richard inadvertently creates a search algorithim in his day job which has huge potential.

What follows is the journey of the friends as they ward off venture capitalists and business sharks and set up their own company, Pied Piper for which they try to get investment to develop and grow their product. It is evident from the script that the director Mike Judge has personal experience of working in Silicon Valley and many of the fictional situations are based on material from real-life events so it gives a comedic but sharply accurate observation of what is involved in setting up a tech company.

11. The Profit.

The Profit is a reality TV show about how Marcus Lemonis (CEO of multi-billion dollar business, Camping World) searches for businesses who are struggling and facing hardship and attempts to help them by investing in the company, fixing mistakes and turning the business into a profitable venture for both himself and the owner.

In this show Lemonis emphasises the importance of the business basics of having a good business plan, enough working capital, creating to do lists, taking care of employees, working hard, staying one step ahead of competitiors and standing out from the crowd.  In his own words the most important part of any business are “people, process and product”  this programme gives some valuable lessons in how to do this well.

12. Nathan For You.

Nathan for You is a hilarious realtiy TV show starring American comedian Nathan Fielder, who uses his own education and experience of business to help companies who are struggling by using high impact marketing strategies to attract attention to their business.

Nathan’s ideas are unorthodox to say the least, and not all of his strategies would be advisable in the real world but he does depict the importance of thinking outside the box to attract the attention of potential customers.

13. The Empire.

The Empire is an American TV drama, where the multi-millionaire owner of an entertainment empire is diagnosed with a debilitating illness, and has to decide which one of his three sons to appoint as his successor, the show centres around the drama between the sons as they fight to gain control of the business and the reappearance of a disgruntled ex-wife attempting to stake her claim on the business.

There are many important  lessons which can be learned from watching The Empire, including, importance of cultivating strong leadership skills, being willing to diversify business interests, knowing when you have to do things yourself and knowing when to let go.

14. Dragon’s Den.

Entrepreneurs get the opportunity to pitch their business to five successful multi-millionaire business experts in the hope of receiving investment and support to grow and scale their business.

The business magnates delve deep into the numbers of the entrepreneurs business, including, valuation, sales, and profit figures and any weaknesses that exist are quickly uncovered.  Dragons Den will help you as a fledgling entrepreneur to understand the importance of knowing your figures, of having them correct and understanding that  cashflow and profitability are key to a successful business. It will also help you to differentiate between a good pitch and a bad pitch which will be  when you reach the stage of seeking investment for your business.

15. The Apprentice.

The Apprentice is a reality TV show where a group of entrepreneurs compete for investment in their idea from renowned  British business mogul, Lord Alan Sugar. The competition starts off with 18 hopeful contenders and runs over a number of weeks. The contestants are divided into two teams and given a number of tasks to complete, at least one person from the losing team is eliminated each week, the last person left receives investment for their business.

Above all the The Apprentice teaches the value of team work in business, how it is impossible to be successful in isolation and the importance of being able  to contribute to the team, manage conflict and step forward and take the lead when necessary.  In each episode too, there are several business lessons to be learned, as we see the contestants triumph or fail,(sometimes spectacularly), we can learn from their mistakes and successes.

Once you have received all the necessary inspiration and motivation to start or grow your business after watching these shows,  check out how company formations can make the process of registering your company simple and hassle free, so that you are quickly set up and ready to build the business you have always dreamed of.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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