Entrepreneurship and Reality TV

Reality TV has gotten quite the bad rap in recent years but if you want to start and run your own business, you can learn a lot from such television programs.

Huffington Post’s Gene Marks claims that he has learned much about running his company from American and British TV shows Your Business, Kitchen Nightmares, Shark Tank, Flipping Out, Clark Howard and How I Made My Millions.

Portrait of fashion designer in office

Your Business isn’t about start-ups, explains Marks, but doles out answers for business owners in terms of the problems they may encounter every day. The show’s host profiles different businesses and experts discuss the concerning issues. Entrepreneurs also get the chance to pitch their products and services to those experts.

In Kitchen Nightmares, raging Gordon Ramsay helps business owners to realize what they need to do in terms of creating quality, marketing, production and working hard, lessons that can be applied to any business, not just restaurants. You can learn for both the successes and failures of the business owners on this show.

Shark Tank helps entrepreneurs to really understand what research they need to address in order to appeal to potential investors. It brings up questions like: “How will our company, which is only just an asset, maximize its value?” “What is the return on investment?” and “Who is our competition?” Marks says that these questions are important for new start-ups and established business owners to consider whether or not they’re looking for investors.

In Flipping Out, obsessive and manic Jeff Lewis purchases run-down houses, refurbishes them and sells them for profit. Marks says there is much to be learned from how Lewis’ micromanaging isn’t helpful and how he deals with customers and employees, balancing his books and dealing with suppliers.

How I Made My Millions tells the stories of successful companies and what you can learn from their mistakes and initiatives.

You may be able to view some of these shows via the internet if you can’t get them on UAE TV.

Matt Wilson of Under 30 CEO.com also recommends watching How I Made My Millions and Shark Tank plus Techstars TV, This Week in Startups, The Office, The Apprentice, The Rise to the Top, Mixergy, The Big Idea and How to Make it in America.

Techstars TV is an incubator program that teaches you how to gain venture capital and it can be seen all over the world on Bloomberg TV.

This Week in Startups (TWiST) is hosted by angel investor Jason Calacanis. You can learn how venture capitalists think and what you have to consider if you’re looking for funding for your business idea.

The Apprentice may seem like more drama than business lessons but you can gain from the mistakes others make, especially in terms of working under pressure, decision-making and leadership that works.

Another web broadcast is The Rise to the Top. Author of “Smarter, Faster, Cheaper” David Siteman Garland uses his extensive research to illustrate specific strategic lessons your business can benefit from.

In Mixergy, Andrew Warner interviews successful entrepreneurs from companies like Wikipedia and Groupon. You can learn much from his probing questions about what worked for these business owners and why.

The Big Idea puts either successful entrepreneurs or those that need a leg up to talk with a panel of experts.

In How to Make it in America on HBO, you can learn what it takes to come out on top in a truly entrepreneurial environment like New York City.

In the UAE, The Entrepreneur is the best show for you to learn from. As Nancy Messieh of the website “The Next Web.comreports, UAE telecommunications company Du and Sony Pictures have teamed up to create UAE’s own entrepreneurial reality show.

While the final prize is a great, you don’t have to come out the final winner to win. Show participants gain recognition and possibly many other avenues for help and funding all throughout the course of the show. The Entrepreneur will showcase new business ideas, those that need a leg up and businesses who have already been established.

The Entrepreneur will premier on Dubai One and will give UAE entrepreneurs more support to take advantage of the booming Dubai market which is more than ripe for new start-ups. Business ideas that contribute to social development will take precedence.

The deadline for submissions to the first show closed March 31, 2012. You must be a UAE resident under the age of 18 but you must also have a registered UAE company in your name to apply.

Ten finalists will compete for 1 million AED and loads of advice and support including advertising and public relations, business planning, office space and telecommunications services.

Who are the judges? Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Muna Al Gurg, Nisreen Shocair and Yogesh Mehta.

Abdul Baset Al Janahi is the CEO of the Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME development. His career connections are immense: many managerial positions, founding member of the Dubai Shopping festival, and a founder of Dubai Internet City. His insight in action is something you don’t want to miss.

Muna Al Gurg is in charge of retail strategy and development for Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group (ESAG). Watching Muna Al Gurg on The Entrepreneur can teach you about branding and communications, leadership and negotiation, education and development.

Nisreen Shocair is the president of entertainment leader and retailer Virgin Megastore Middle East and she has experience in digital entertainment, environmental business, licensing, music, publishing and retail. You can learn about product development, industry trends and innovation from watching Shocair advise others on The Entrepreneur.

Yogesh Mehta is the final judge for the first season of The Entrepreneur. Mehta started many businesses before finding his place as co-founder or Petrochem Middle East.

Whether or not you decide to try out for the next season of The Entrepreneur, don’t miss the valuable lessons you can learn from UAE’s own reality show. The first instalment of the eight-part season premiers on October 3rd.

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