It’s never been easier to start your own home-based business. But just because you can start a business doesn’t mean you should without understanding some of the fundamental mistakes that business owners make. And while reality TV isn’t the only source of education you should rely on, there are four shows that can give you a strong indication of where a lot of entrepreneurs go right and wrong.
- “Shark Tank”: On “Shark Tank,” entrepreneurs pitch their businesses and products to a panel of self-made millionaires and billionaires who can compete to invest in the business and claim an ownership stake. But before they get involved they usually subject the entrepreneur to a tough round of questions. Watching the entrepreneurs answer these questions (or struggle to) can give you tremendous insight into the importance of certain data points (such as customer acquisition costs and production costs) for your business and its profitability.
- “The Profit”: Bloomberg reports that 80 percent of businesses fail within the first 18 months. When a business is failing, the owner can reach out to Marcus Lemonis, host of “The Profit,” and ask him to come help. Lemonis buys into businesses he feels have potential and helps them better their people, product and process to go from the brink of failure to wild success. Watching the show, you can often see exactly what the business owners have done to sabotage their own success, including bad moves like cutting costs so severely that product quality is sacrificed, being disorganized and spending too much time and money on an unpopular product line.
- “Beyond Shark Tank”: When an entrepreneur gains a connected investor, his or her problems aren’t necessarily solved. On “Beyond Shark Tank,” you can see the successes and failures of those entrepreneurs who scored an investor during their appearance on “Shark Tank.” From mismanagement to stress, time constraints to bad product choices, there are many problems that can completely sideline these businesses. Often, however, the investing shark can get them back on track, which offers yet another valuable lesson for viewers.