Please note: I am well aware that most of you in the business world may think I am crazy for my next statement.

I love watching reality TV. If I admitted that in the world of business networking, I’d say I would actually be laughed right out of the room. But I do, I love ‘em.

Let me clarify: I haven’t invested any time into watching The Kardashian’s. However, I do pay particular interest to the shows that focus on bringing in ‘the expert’ to help a failing business, particularly, Kitchen Nightmares, Bar Rescue and Tabatha’s Salon Takeover. I know they seem over the top, and maybe they are. But once you peel back the ‘fluff,’ the professionals on these shows have insightful lessons I learned from reality TV that you can use to make your business better. There are three key takeaways:

3 Business Lessons I Learned from Reality TV

  1. Every industry should make it a priority to research their target audience, carefully select their business location and then develop their branding.

    In Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer always begins every episode by researching the neighborhood and the people in the area (after he goes in and yells at the stupidity of the owner). He always ends the show with a makeover for the bar. The makeover isn’t just one that makes the bar look pretty — it’s actually a complete rebranding. Think about it this way: would you put an upscale 5-star restaurant in the middle of a college campus strip mall? Put your entrepreneur hat on and think about what your customers would want.

    A tiki bar on a beach is an example of putting your business in the right LOCATION!

    A tiki bar on a beach is an example of putting your business in the right LOCATION!

  2. A business should hire employees for the skills that they bring to the business  and NOT because they’re friends or family.

    In Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsey repeatedly has to remind his owners that it is THEIR business and it is up to them to run it. No one else’s. Too many times they open the restaurant, hire friends and sit at the bar drinking while their untrained staff run their business into the ground.

  3. How you care for your business is directly reflected in how your clients think and feel about your company.

    It also determines whether you’ll be able to turn new customers into repeat customers. In Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, Tabatha Coffey seems as though she is always talking about the cleanliness of the salon. It’s like the owner seems to think that their customers won’t notice that the hair hasn’t been swept or the flat iron is outdated. Your office environment – right down to the furniture – says something about your business. If you take the time to make sure your business is clean, organized and fits your customer’s expectations, you’re on the right track.
    Lessons I learned from reality TV - keep your business clean!

Now, I don’t recommend watching Jersey Shore for business advice (although you may get information on how to win a cat-fight while wearing high heels). However, you’ll occasionally find business advice in the strangest places, if only you’re willing to think outside the box.

What business wisdom have you gleaned from TV? Tell us in the comments!

Subscribe to iima productions’ monthly eNewsletter!

Each month, you’ll be provided with tips and resources that help you move your business forward. With marketing and design tips, resources and guidance, it’s like a mini marketing consultant in your inbox! View previous issues