The Money Maker: Five must see shows for any entrepreneur

This summer saw seasoned entrepreneur and former Barack Obama adviser Eric Collins set out to transform small, struggling businesses on The Money Maker, a new series for entrepreneurs launched on Channel 4.

The Money Maker: Five must see shows for any entrepreneur

This summer saw seasoned entrepreneur and former Barack Obama adviser Eric Collins set out to transform small, struggling businesses on The Money Maker, a new series for entrepreneurs launched on Channel 4. The series is the latest business reality show to grace our screens, following in the footsteps of Shark Tank, Apprentice and Dragons Den. 

Whilst film and tv series are generally used to unwind and relax after a long day, truly great films can also serve as a source of inspiration to senior leaders and business owners on their daily business dealings.

Neil Debenham, renowned business trouble shooter and chief executive of business advisory firm Fintrex, lists the five must-see shows or films any senior leader should watch and details the insight that can be gained from them. 

Conviction to succeed: The Pursuit of Happyness 

“You got a dream… You gotta protect it… If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.” 

Any entrepreneurial story has plenty of ups and downs, but the biographical drama The Pursuit of Happyness is particularly heart wrenching.

The film is based on homeless man Chris Gardner’s six months of hell during a taxing unpaid internship at a large stockbroker. 

Despite sleeping in public toilets or homeless shelters with his young son, Gardner never reveals his lowly circumstances to colleagues, and even manages to study for the stockbroker license exam, securing his career as a professional stockbroker. Ultimately, Gardner is able to navigate and overcome unbelievable circumstances to achieve his dream, which is something that many early-stage entrepreneurs can relate to. His ultimate success, even in the face of adversity, stands as a pillar to importance of determination and conviction when succeeding in business. 

Mentorship: Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting is the quintessential mentorship movie. The film tells the story of young Will Hunting, an unrecognised genius with self-taught skills in mathematics, who is able to overcome his personal demons with the support of a therapist named Sean.

Over the course of the movie, Sean evolves into a father figure for Will, providing the tough love and encouragement required for the troubled boy not only to recover, but to strive for more and live a better life. The movie also sees Will’s MIT math instructor attempt to harness the boy’s genius for self-gain, but ultimately failing to do so due to a lack of investment in Will’s personal wellbeing.

The movie exemplifies a key requisite for business success ‘ the need to invest in people. Only by doing so can you optimise performance, create a reputable business culture and improve staff retention. It really is a symbiotic process, and one that will have a huge benefit on your bottom line. Failing to recognise this fact is probably one of the biggest errors a business leader can make as it could run up expensive recruitment bills as well as hinder productivity and continuity.

Opportunity: The Founder

A biopic of the American fast-food tycoon Ray Kroc, ‘the Founder’, tells the story of Mcdonald’s creation in the 1950s. Granted, the film won’t necessarily leave you rooting for the protagonist, as Kroc acts with limited morals during negotiations with the original McDonald brothers, but it will demonstrate how a simple idea for a fair-priced product can explode with popularity and the persistence of getting others to share your vision.

Entrepreneurs will relate to Kroc’s story as a failing businessman before he finds a gap in the marketplace and achieves success through extreme persistence. It’s a lesson that pandemic hit entrepreneurs would do well to remember. Whilst Covid has created an array of unforeseen difficulties, successful leaders will use the current economic situation as an opportunity to look inwards, consolidate and streamline their business for the future.

The reality is that even in times of crisis, the foundations of the economy remain unchanged. The public still have the wants, needs and desires, the key is in assessing how these look now compared to pre-pandemic trading and there’s nothing stopping entrepreneurs meeting these if they are willing to adapt to the times.

Lead from the front: Secret Millionaire and Undercover Boss

In The Secret Millionaire, successful business leaders go undercover in poor communities and work with locals on a limited budget. At the end of their volunteering, these millionaires reveal their true identity and surprise new unassuming colleagues with significant sums of money to improve their financial status.

Undercover boss  also works on a similar premise, with millionaire business owners working undercover as juniors in their own companies to investigate how the internal workings of their firms can be improved. At the end of the series, hard-working employees are rewarded with promotions or financial rewards and poor performing employees are exposed and often sent for re-training.  In the process, CEOS are reminded of how day-to-day decisions can affect the quality of the finished product and customer experience. 

Both these shows highlight the importance of staying connected to staff, customers and the local community whilst remaining grounded and appreciative of the journey of growth. Undercover Boss specifically highlights the need for business owners to communicate the company’s mission, values, and priorities to all employees and also demonstrates the importance of implementing support systems for employees of all backgrounds to address personal problems and facilitate their growth whilst The Secret Millionaire is a journey of reconnecting with the importance of assisting others through leveraging your success and growth.

Neil Debenham
Neil Debenham

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