What are the top 12 business shows for entrepreneurs to watch?

Although the life of an entrepreneur can often involve a lot less free time to relax on the sofa, there are still a lot of lessons of what to do (and what not to do) from business shows on television.

For this week’s Business Leader Top 12, we’ve profiled the top 12 TV shows for CEOs, MDs, innovators and entrepreneurs to watch and learn from. However, if you think there’s a show that we missed, please feel free to get in touch with us via the comments below.

This list is in no particular order.

The Office (UK & US)

Whether you prefer the comedy of Ricky Gervais (UK Office) or Steve Carrell (US Office), who each play the boss in their respective versions of The Office, one thing you can be certain about is that no one who runs an office should ever aspire to follow in their footsteps.

Both are so incompetent and insensitive at times that you’re bound to think of a previous boss of your own, and each are supported by a collection of weird and wonderful employees, which might help you decide who you do and do not want on your staff.

The Apprentice

This reality game show brings together a group of real businesspeople who are set different business-related challenges each week by business magnate Alan Sugar.

Sugar is assisted by Vice-Chairman of West-Ham United, Karren Brady, and former Viglen Chairman, Claude Littner, who all provide feedback to the contestants about their performance each week, with contestants being fired by Alan Sugar as the weeks progress until eventually a winner is crowned, receiving a £250,000 investment for this business from the billionaire.

Dragons’ Den/Shark Tank

Dragons Den follows several budding entrepreneurs who pitch business ideas that they feel are viable and profitable but lacking funding to the Dragons, a panel of multimillionaire businessmen and women.

They start with asking the Dragons how much money they require and what percentage of equity they are offering in exchange for funding and then get a few minutes to convince Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Sara Davies, Tej Lalvani and Touker Suleyman that their business is an excellent investment opportunity.

Startup

With cryptocurrencies being a hot topic right now, you might have wondered whether it’s worth investing in them and if so, what cryptocurrency should you be investing in? If this sound like you, web drama series Startup might be right up your street.

The show follows the emergence of a controversial cryptocurrency, Gencoin, and its cast includes Martin Freeman, Edi Gathegi, Adam Brody, and Academy Award Winner Mira Sorvino. It was made available on Netflix the May the 4th 2021.

Undercover boss

Another business reality show, each episode of Undercover Boss depicts different high-positioned executives and owners of a major business as they go undercover as an entry-level employee.

The idea behind this is so they can discover faults in the company and implement positive changes. A great lesson in the value of listening to your employees at every level in the company, since starting on Channel 4 in 2009, localised versions of the show have been made all over the world.

Breaking Bad (Better Call Saul)

Whilst the ‘entrepreneurs’ – and we use that term loosely – in Breaking Bad consist largely of major drug dealers and organised crime bosses, you can learn a lot about how to maintain a monopoly and get ahead of your competition by watching Breaking Bad.

The acting performance of Bryan Cranston alone makes it must-watch TV, whilst its spin-off, Better Call Saul, provides an insight into the darker dealings of the legal system, which might prove invaluable if corporate crime ever becomes a part of your own business plan. Although, we hope it doesn’t.

The Profit (UK)

US hit reality show The Profit follows Marcus Lemonis, the current CEO of Camping World, Good Sam Enterprises and Gander Outdoor, as he offers a capital investment and expertise to struggling small businesses in exchange for an ownership stake in the company.

Channel 4 announced earlier in the year that they were going to make a UK version of the hit show, which will follow Eric Collins, CEO of venture capital firm Impact X Capital Partners, as he spends time with four struggling UK businesses.

Ballers

Critically acclaimed show Ballers stars former professional wrestler and Hollywood movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who has been praised for his performance, as a retired American Football player who has recently started a new career as the financial manager of other American Football players. This comedy-drama series has five series and 47 episodes, offering a humorous look into the trials and tribulations of financial management.

Empire

Drama series Empire follows the story of fictional hip hop music and entertainment company Empire Entertainment. Currently available on Amazon Prime in the UK, across six seasons we see the different members of the Lyon family (the family that owns Empire Entertainment) fight for control over the company and the controversy that occurs because of this.

Dirty Money

Created by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, each episode of Dirty Money follows an example of corporate corruption and features interview with some of the key players from each scandal.

The series provides a darker insight into the corporate world with corruption stories covering a range of topics, including the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist and even Donald Trump.

Kitchen Nightmares

For anyone in the restaurant business, Kitchen Nightmares can be more than enough to make your stomach turn. This reality show follows failing restaurants who invite celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey to spend a week with them in the hope he can turn their fortunes around.

Whilst the show offers great insight into the dos and don’ts for restaurant owners and those working in food establishments, it’s also hilarious to watch Ramsey struggle to contain his rage as he deals with varying levels of incompetence throughout the series.

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is a comical take on the challenge facing new entrepreneurs as they try to make an impact in Silicon Valley, the home of Apple, Google, Facebook and many other start-up and global tech companies.
Must-watch TV for any entrepreneurs who are bound to relate to the struggles facing new entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley is critically acclaimed and boasts of an excellent ensemble cast.

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