When entertainment is a lesson you can apply to your business
By Bill Edmonds
Want to improve your business practice, increase revenues and widen margins? Then watch more TV. Not just anything on TV, but The Profit.
The Profit falls into a genre somewhere between reality show and a Harvard Business School case study. This one-hour show airing on CNBC and streaming on Hulu is must viewing for business owners of all kinds, from large corporations to small mom-and-pop enterprises.
In each episode, the show’s star, 41-year-old Marcus Lemonis sets out to rescue a small business that has the potential to be highly productive but, for whatever reason, is floundering and headed for disaster.
Before you discount the value of watching a reality TV show to learn how to grow your business, consider the following:
- Lemonis is the chairman and CEO of Camping World, a privately-held company that operates 95 facilities in 30 states with annual revenues exceeding $1.4 billion.
- Lemonis grew up in the automobile business. His grandfather owned two of the largest Chevrolet dealers in the U.S.
- Lee Iacocca was a family friend and later became Lemonis’ personal mentor.
- Lemonis analyzes each business through the lens of the three-P process: people, process and product, which was first used by Motorola and later adopted by Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric.
After completing his analysis of the business, Lemonis offers the owner an opportunity to partner with him for the purpose of turning the business around. He invests his own money and always requires that his new partners give him complete control of the business. This mandate allows him to make the decisions that, due to their emotional investment, the business owner cannot or will not make him or herself. As you might imagine, this leads to conflict in every episode that adds to the entertainment value of the program.
You can take the show from being a form of entertainment to a lesson in practical application in your business. Watch an episode and ask yourself these four questions:
- What are the issues that are preventing maximum productivity and profitability for the business in that episode?
- Do I have any of the same issues in my work group or business that are holding back productivity and profitability in my business?
- If I were Marcus, what would need changing for me to invest in this business in this episode?
- If I were Marcus, what would need to change for me to invest in my business?
Want to grow? Watch more TV! But you don’t have to tell your colleagues that you’re not getting all your wisdom from The Harvard Business Review. Just tell them you have a mentor that you work with for an hour each week who runs a $1.4 billion business.
And if you’re still looking for another reason to try to develop your business acumen from the television, remember what the great philosopher Yogi Berra said: “You can observe a lot by watching.”