Inspiration for running a business can come from anywhere. Wisdom is found in kernels throughout life, and you can find quite a bit in the media you choose to engage in during your off time. Even shows seemingly unrelated to business can provide great ideas about running you business, so long as you know what to look for.

These ten shows have plenty of lessons. If you are an entrepreneur, you should take notice of these shows:

  1. Dragons' Den: This show is the Japanese version of Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to venture capitalists who are looking to invest in the next big thing. You can pull plenty of pitch do's and don't's out of this show, so it is well worth your time to watch, Plus, it is pretty interesting television.
  2. The Apprentice: Even though reality television is mostly geared at entertainment, it does do a good job of showing some group dynamics (albeit slightly dramatized). The Apprentice is a great example of this, where even though entrepreneurs are put on the same team in the beginning, they are still primarily concerned with their own success. You can learn from their explosive conflicts on how to avoid similar ones in your business.
  3. Shark Tank: Even though this is the same premise as Dragons' Den, the domestic aspect of Shark Tank makes it a bit more relevant to many entrepreneurs. You should watch both to get a foreign perspective on your business pitch as well as a domestic one--knowing how to interact with both markets will put you at the forefront of your niche.
  4. Keeping Up With The Kardashians: Yes, even this show has something to teach you! The Kardashians may not be everybody's style, you cannot deny the fact that their branding is impeccable. You can use the same tricks to get to the top of your industry just by watching their show. As long as you know how to adapt them for your business, you can build a better brand one day at a time.
  5. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares: Forget the US version of this show; it is far too dramatized for any solid takeaways. However, the UK version does an excellent job of analyzing why the restaurants are failing and gives pragmatic solutions to turn things around. This well articulated business advice is something you can take with you.
  6. House Hunters: Not every television show that you can learn about running a business from focuses on business. House Hunters shows how people make large purchasing decisions and can give an entrepreneur great insight on how to gather the attention of potential buyers and convert warm leads into solid buys.
  7. Game of Thrones: While this show is more known for its political intrigue and sex appeal, the conflicts in Westeros can certainly show you how to (and not t0!) manage people. While the ruling class fumbles with managing large groups of people, other factions inspire loyalty and succeed at their goals. Noting the personal differences in the well-developed characters will give you plenty of help in managing a team of employees that can be just as varied.
  8. The Bachelor: You may find yourself asking how a show about dating can help you run a business, but The Bachelor teaches a lot of lessons--how to deal with different types of communication, how to play the game, and how to get along with your competitors. Cooperation and a healthy sense of competition are what drives businesses to innovate and continue to grow, so to better your business, make friends with them, but also learn when to let go.
  9. Techstars: This reality TV show about a tech startup incubator shows how to use these incubators to your advantage to build the strength of your business from day one. The lessons here are both obvious and valuable.
  10. Parks and Recreation: Managing a government is similar to managing a business--both have to turn revenues, deal with competition, and clashing employees. When you follow the residents of Pawnee, Indiana, on their road to success, you can see different ways of approaching situations in changes and operations across the board.
Published on: Oct 27, 2014