It’s not often that a reality show can provide meaningful small business lessons for entrepreneurs and business owners. There is one exception to this rule.
In addition to the antics of Donald Trump and celebrities as diverse as Flavor Flav, Gilbert Gottfried, and Donald Trump, several years of the TV show Celebrity Apprentice have brought many lessons for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Even though the show is well-scripted and staged for a reality show, it still provides several takeaways that we can apply to our small businesses:
Most of us don’t have celebrities to help launch our startups or small businesses – Perhaps the most annoying part of the show is that celebrities tend to leverage their connections and well-known personal brands to assist their startup projects on the show. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – most of us don’t have celebrity resources to draw from when launching our small businesses. Instead, most of us are required to bootstrap without small business loans while building a strong brand name, which requires a great deal more perseverance, effort, and resistance than if we had a big-name celebrity at our disposal.
The weakest link can bring down a small business team – The show tends to amplify the weak link on each week’s losing team. Though it’s a bit dramatized, it does demonstrate the liability of a weak player on any team. Whether it’s your customer service agent, sales rep, accountant, or other key player on your small business team, a weak performance can undermine the success of your small business. This is especially true when you are just starting to build your business and employee base, so it is important to hire the best employees possible – and ones that are aligned with your business vision, goals, and personality. Small business management training courses can help identify the best ways to do this.
Hire slow and fire fast – The Donald has become well-known for his “you’re fired” mantra. In addition to providing for entertaining TV, though, this trademark of the show also highlights the value of hiring slow and firing fast. When you’re building your team of employees, it is important that you get it right by taking your time to find talented employees that have the right skills and fit with your culture, personality, and business needs. And when it turns out that you make the occasional hiring mistake (and it will happen), it is important to remediate the problem as soon as problem.
Never underestimate the value of winning – Part of the appeal of the show is that each week it stages a win/lose business team competition. Although small business owners aren’t in a weekly fight to win or lose against a single competitor, they are constantly fighting for their lives to survive and experience small business growth. Successful small business owners and entrepreneurs understand that value of building a winning team and organization that can not only survive, but experience sustained growth over time. Those less focused on this important topic are more likely to fail in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
While it is no substitute for formal training and real-world experience, Celebrity Apprentice certainly provides some valuable small business lessons for entrepreneurs and business owners. You may also be interested in our blog Small Business Ideas from Shark Tank, or by attending our upcoming free online Small Business Boot Camp training course.