7 TV Shows Business Owners Should Watch and Record

These shows could help you become a better business owner.
Quit Your Day Job cast
'Quit Your Day Job' on Oxygen, is focused on young, female entrepreneurs. (Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal)

Running a business may leave little time to watch television, but these seven shows are worth recording (or streaming).

Not only entertaining, they’re highly educational, full of cautionary tales and success stories you can learn from and solid advice from people with the expertise and experience that have made them ultra-­successful in their fields.

“Shark Tank” (ABC, Fridays, 9 p.m. ET/PT; reruns on CNBC)

Since 2009, hundreds of entrepreneurs have pitched their companies to “sharks” Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran, hoping to get an investment that will earn them millions, and many have succeeded.

Other entrepreneurs fail miserably because their product or business plan was ill-
conceived, their valuation was inflated, their profit margins were minuscule and they didn’t know their customer. Win or lose, the lessons are invaluable for every business owner.

“Beyond the Tank” (ABC, Tuesdays 10 PM ET/PT)

This spinoff expands upon the two-­minute updates in “Shark Tank” with in­depth follow-ups on show alumni who have soared, struggled or didn’t get an investment.

As they meet with the “sharks” to strategize, it becomes evident what the entrepreneurs did right, where they went wrong, and what they need to do to either keep growing or make corrections.

“Restaurant Startup” (On Demand)

Having great food is just a start for the hopeful restaurant owners who pitch to investors Joe Bastianich, Tim Love and Elizabeth Blau on this show. The right concept and a healthy profit margin are just as important.

In each episode, two teams each present an idea and the winner (“best bet”) gets coaching from restaurateur Antonia Lofaso on menus, presentation, and branding and then feeds the public at a pop­-up eatery in a true proof of concept test.

“Quit Your Day Job” (Oxygen, Wednesdays 10 PM ET/PT)

How does this pitch­-to-­investors show differ from “Shark Tank?” It’s geared toward young, female entrepreneurs who present to four venture capitalists – Randi Zuckerberg, Ido Leffler, Sarah Prevette and Lauren Maillian – who mentor them and assign them a real-­world challenge to complete before they invest as a group, and their decision must be unanimous. Along the way, viewers get insight into the development process. It becomes clear which ones are worthy and which need a lot more work.

“Bar Rescue” (Spike, Sundays 9 PM ET/PT; Amazon Prime)

Over 6,500 U.S. bars will close this year. Jon Taffer helps owners avoid becoming part of that statistic by embedding with them to identify problems and correct them –everything from personnel (and interpersonal) issues and efficiency to cost management and marketing.

Taffer, who has spent the last 30 years starting, owning and selling more than 600 bars and clubs and now runs a successful consulting firm, explains the what, how and why of each change as he overhauls menus and décor, trains bartenders in speed and accuracy, and improves profit margins to turn failing establishments around.

“Billion Dollar Buyer” (CNBC, Tuesdays 10 PM ET/PT)

A six-figure order from a hospitality business empire can turn the fortunes of a small business around overnight. But not every business is up to the task.

Tilman J. Fertitta, the billionaire chairman and CEO of restaurant, hotel and entertainment conglomerate Landry’s, has $2 billion to spend annually and is on the lookout for new products for his properties.

But before he orders, he puts entrepreneurs to the test with a list of requirements that might include altering the product, the packaging, the business model and in most cases, production costs and wholesale prices.

He’s tough, but he backs up his demands with explanations and figures.

“The Profit” (Hulu, On Demand)

For three seasons on his CNBC series “The Profit,” Camping World mogul Marcus Lemonis has invested millions in struggling companies he deems deserving, but only if they follow his rules: the product must be relevant; the creative, delivery and marketing processes have to make sense; and effective people have to run the show.

Getting there is not so simple, but the entrepreneurs that do are rewarded handsomely. Now between seasons, Lemonis is casting for a spinoff called “The Partner,” in which he’ll award someone a $163,000 annual contract. Go to The Partner Casting to apply.

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