April 22, 2011
Reality Shows About Small Businesses
Thank goodness the Amazon EC2 crash didn’t take down the most important sites, such as this blog. Even mighty Amazon can’t stop me!
The Wall Street Journal today has an interesting article on reality shows that focus on small businesses. I had never thought about it in those terms, but many of the cable shows I watch—Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Dog the Bounty Hunter—focus on small businesses.
All of those shows can teach us interesting lessons about the problems in small businesses. American Pickers, with its incessant focus on finding a profitable big-ticket item to keep the business going, illustrates the importance of cash flow. The tension among the family members who own the business in Pawn Stars is a classic illustration of the interpersonal problems small businesses, especially family-owned small businesses, must overcome. And, as the Journal notes, the ineptitude of the younger generation shows the need for a succession plan. Dog the Bounty Hunter illustrates—well, I’m not sure exactly what it illustrates, other than the lesson that all of these shows provide: small businesses are most likely to succeed if their participants love what they’re doing.
All that’s needed to make these shows even more realistic is some full-blown litigation: Dog and his wife divorcing and fighting for control of the business; Frankie and Mike arguing about whether the business should make a distribution; estate issues when Rick’s dad dies. (If you don’t get any of these references, the fault is mine, not yours. I obviously watch far too much cable TV.)
And let's only hope that the Wall Street Journal's conclusion is right--that these shows might breed a new generation of entrepreneurs among the kids watching.
April 22, 2011 | Permalink