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StrategyDriven Recommended Resources Article

The Top 15 Shows That Every Aspiring Entrepreneur Should Watch

Whilst starting your own business is both exciting and fulfilling, it can also be exhausting. Never ending work hours and a lack of weekends can mean at times, all you fancy doing is sitting back, relaxing and watching your favorite box set on TV. If you’re interested in maximizing your downtime however, we’ve found the best TV shows that every entrepreneur should watch, to make sure that down time is not only guilt free, but invaluable.

1. Dragons Den

If pitching for investment isn’t already nerve-wracking enough, imagine doing in front of some of the countries most successful business people and on TV. That’s what the brave entrepreneurs on Dragons Den have to do. The current panel includes business greats such as Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Jenny Campbell.  Watching Dragon’s Den is great for getting tips on how to pitch, an insight into what kind of questions you may get asked and probably most importantly- what not to do. Think you can take on the dragons? The show is open to applicants- enter the den if you dare!

2. Girl Boss

Inspired by the bestselling book ‘#GirlBoss’ by Sophia Amoruso and based on her start-up story, this Netflix original shows how Sophia went from broke to running the multi-million dollar fashion empire, Nasty Gal. Sophia starts by selling vintage clothes, but as her business starts to grown, she learns about all the ups (and downs) of running your own business.

3. Billions

If you want a lesson in power struggles, Billions is the one of you. Set in New York, it tells the story of the U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades, who boasts the title of never having lost an insider trading case. In Billions, he is taking on Axelrod, a (corrupt) hedge fun tycoon. What follows is a battle of intelligence, ambition, influence and ultimately power.

4. I Give It a Year

In this show, Baroness Karren Brady (who you may remember as one of Lord Sugar’s advisers on ‘The Apprentice’) meets with entrepreneurs who have just taken the leap and decided to start their own business. One year later she goes back and revisits them, to see how far they may (or may not) have come. The types of businesses vary from episode to episode- one of our favorite episodes involves one entrepreneur tackling the constant battle of trying to keep your cup of tea warm. A dilemma indeed!

5. Undercover Boss

Ever felt like your previous management was a little ‘out of touch’ when it came to the day-to-day running of the company? In Undercover Boss, the company leaders go undercover in the guise of a new employee within their own company. With the change of perspective, problems are uncovered they hadn’t realised were occurring and relationships with workers are both forged and strengthened. A great programme to help you change your own perspective on how to run your company, as well as proof of why you should always maintain a working knowledge of every aspect of your business.

6. Empire

Empire is a fictional drama, focused on the company ‘Empire Entertainment’ and it’s CEO, Lucious Lyon. When Lucious learns his life may be cut short due to health issues, Lucious must pick between his sons to decide who should take over his multi-million dollar company. With an ex-wife adding more drama to the mix, Empire shows the potential consequences of mixing family and big business.

7. How It’s Made

Ever looked at something and wonder how on earth they made it? How It’s Made has the answer, by looking at how everyday items are created and manufactured, covering everything from foil to chewing gum. It gives you a great insight into what is required for different items and may help you uncover the secret as to how to take your prototype to the next level. Or perhaps you have a better idea when it comes to how something is currently made… Either way, you’ll be inspired (and sometimes in awe) of the manufacturing processes that goes into those things we take for granted everyday. This show is also great for getting to grips with supply chain management as well as the basics of product design.

8. The Profit

The Profit follows Marcus Lemonis (Camping World CEO) as he invests $2 million dollars of his money into companies that are struggling to stay afloat, with them giving him a percentage of their future profits in return. Instead of giving them the money and expecting them to go it alone, Marcus offers his experience, expertise and knowledge, to help the businesses get back onto the right track for a fruitful future. Some will thrive and some won’t survive, but you can learn valuable lessons along the way by watching their journeys.

9. Mad Men

Set in New York in the 1960’s, Mad Men follows Don Draper’s power struggles at his Madison Avenue advertising firm and how he balances his position at work with his home life. A great insight into how the advertising industry operates combined with enough fictional drama to keep you binge watching those episodes. If you’re getting stuck on finding a name for your company, you can find out more here. Investing in company branding and advertising only to find your name is already taken is a costly mistake to make!

10. Shark Tank

A spin off from Dragons Den, this American reality TV programme shows entrepreneurs pitching for cash from successful millionaire entrepreneurs in exchange for equity. The sharks do not hold back in their assessment of the contestants businesses, with their harsh questioning sometimes bordering on brutal. The sharks include Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John. However, if the sharks like the sound of the business pitching, deals can be made then and there. A dramatic cut down of a longer pitch, it still captures the intensity of pitching for investment and is a must for any entrepreneur.

11. The Apprentice

This British reality TV show follows multiple hopeful entrepreneurs competing against each other for an investment in their business idea. The contestants are given weekly business challenges in which they work in teams, with one contestant being fired each week from the losing team. The final winner gets £250,000 and Lord Sugar as a 50% owner of their new venture. The weekly challenges vary and show not only the talents of the candidates, but also the importance of team-work when striving to reach goals.

12. Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares

In this reality TV series, Gordon Ramsey takes his foul mouth and flaring temper to various restaurants that are struggling to stay afloat. After uncovering what is going wrong in the business, Gordon tries to help turn it around. From awful food and stubborn management, to shabby interiors, Gordon often ruffles a few feathers in his bid to create a viable restaurant business for the owners. Not only great dramatic viewing, it shows the importance of customer experience and being open to feedback.

13. House Hunters

House Hunters is a US show that follows the journey of people looking for a new home. With the realtor working hard to make their customers dreams comes true, this show is a lesson in knowing what your customers wants, and shows how emotional reasons can overtake financial sense when it comes to consumer purchases.

14. Silicon Valley

Despite being a fictional comedy show, Silicon Valley was influenced by the experiences of it’s co-creator (Mike Judge) during his time working in Silicon Valley. The show is the story of Richard- a computer programmer who works alongside his intelligent friends to try and tap into the booming tech industry with their start up Pied Piper. Living in the home of the leader of their start up incubator, this show will help you laugh and unwind whilst getting an insight into the lives of those living in Silicon Valley.

15. How I Made My Millions 

When you start your own business, you trade in huge risk for potentially huge reward. This programme tells the story of individuals who took exactly this risk and for whom it has paid off, creating million dollar businesses. Instead of showing the journey as all roses, this programme shows the reality and the hard work that goes behind creating a successful business. A great one to keep you inspired during those scarier moments in your entrepreneurial journey.

StrategyDriven Recommended Resources Article

Recommended Resources – Whole Business Thinking

StrategyDriven Recommended ResourcesWhole Business Thinking – A Guide To Exceptional Business Performance
by Robert S. Block

About the Book

Whole Business Thinking by Robert S. Block provides operational executives and managers with the insight needed to relate ‘shop floor’ decisions and activities with the organization’s financial future. Robert reveals how to connect the decisions and actions of today with the financial consequences they will have on the organization and how these results will be portrayed with the company’s several financial statements.

Some of the specific topics addressed within Whole Business Thinking include:

  • Financial Statements
  • Business Metrics
  • Strategy Management

Robert concludes Whole Business Thinking with a comprehensive list of business terms and performance indicators.

Benefits of Reading this Book

In order for an organization to be successful, executives and managers must understand how their decisions and employee actions affect the achievement of established mission goals. As financial returns are a key component of every for-profit company’s success, leaders must be particularly aware of the relationships between long-term and day-to-day activities and the bottom line.

StrategyDriven Contributors like Whole Business Thinking because it clearly illustrates the relationship between decisions, actions, and financial outcomes. Throughout his book, Robert places the reader in common business situations and in plain language conveys how various decisions influence financial results. Robert goes a step further by translating those results into the several key financial indicators (performance metrics, balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement) used by board members, executives, and investors to measure the health of the company.

Whole Business Thinking promotes the alignment of the organization’s mission and values with its decisions and actions. While acknowledging the non-financial contributors of organizational success, Robert’s book focuses primarily on those activities directly impacting financial performance drivers. In our opinion, the reader would benefit from additional case studies highlighting the application of Robert’s aligning principles and practices to non-financial performance contributors.

Whole Business Thinking reflects many of the organizational alignment, strategic planning, tactical execution, and decision-making principles recommended on the StrategyDriven website making it a StrategyDriven recommended read.

Special Offer

Robert has made a complimentary book sample available to StrategyDriven readers at www.wholebusinessthinking.com/video/.

Recommended Resources – FixnZip Product Review

FixnZip zipper slider replacement productFixnZip
A CTF Enterprise
www.fixnzip.com

About the Product

FixnZip is an easy-to-use replacement zipper slider that fits a range of zipper sizes and works with teeth and coil zippers that are either metal or plastic. The FixnZip slider comes in three sizes: small, medium and large and two colors: nickle (silver) and graphite (dark grey). It has a patented spring plate design consisting of two slider plates, a thumbscrew, and spring; all manufactured in the United States. The slider parts are made of zinc die cast and the spring and thumbscrew of stainless steel.

FixnZip can be used on open ended (such as a jacket) or closed ended zippers (such as a suitcase) and can be started anywhere on the zipper. In the event the zipper is missing some teeth, the FixnZip glides over these areas and realigns the remaining teeth; restoring the functionality of the zipper.

Why We Recommend This Product

FixnZip zipper slider replacement productStrategyDriven Contributors tested the FixnZip product and found it to be a very easy-to-use replacement for broken and/or missing zipper sliders. As frequent travelers, we often damage or lose zipper sliders from suitcases. FixnZip provides a durable replacement slider enabling on-the-go repair of the suitcase and alleviating the need to buy an expensive replacement case.

The FixnZip is light and compact, making it easy to take one or more of these repair kits when traveling. We found the FixnZip instructions easy to follow and the device easy-to-use. A quality product that is a must-have for business travelers, FixnZip is a StrategyDriven recommended product.

FixnZip replacement zipper sliders can be purchased by following the links below:

Nickle

Graphite

Recommended Resources – The 4 Disciplines of Execution

StrategyDriven Recommended ResourcesThe 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
by Jerry Weissman

About the Book

The 4 Disciplines of Execution provides the steps needed to repeatably translate one’s business strategy into the day-to-day activities instrumental to realizing organizational goals. These disciplines include:

  • Focus on the Wildly Important – Give your best effort to those few goals that really matter instead of giving mediocre effort to dozens of goals.
  • Act on the Lead Measures – Carefully track the lead measures and let the lag measures take care of themselves.
  • Keep a Compelling Scoreboard – Make sure everybody knows the score at all times so they can tell if they are winning or not.
  • Create a Cadence of Accountability – Hold frequent accountability sessions whose only purpose is to advance the Wildly Important Goals.

Benefits of Reading this Book

StrategyDriven Contributors like The 4 Disciplines of Execution for its methodical, repeatable method of translating corporate strategy into the day-to-day actions of organization members. We appreciate the adaptation of the book’s principles to both an organization and team-level implementation.

Chris, Sean, and Jim richly present their concepts with detailed illustrations and examples; making the disciplines both easy to understand and readily implementable. The 4 Disciplines of Execution is remarkably well aligned with the foundational principles upon which StrategyDriven, its products and services, is based. For its actionable principles of strategy execution while promoting organizational alignment and accountability, The 4 Disciplines of Execution is a StrategyDriven recommended read.

Recommended Resources – Look At More

StrategyDriven Recommended ResourcesLook at More: A Proven Approach to Innovation, Growth, and Change
by Andy Stefanovich

About the Book

Look at More by Andy Stefanovich details a framework for unleashing an organization’s creativity to develop new products, build brands and audiences, and grow market share. Andy’s framework specifically targets the liberation of the ‘5Ms’ of innovation:

  • Mood: attitudes, feelings, and emotions creating the context for creativity and innovation
  • Mindset: intellectual foundation of creativity, the baseline capacity each of us has for getting inspired, staying excited, and thinking differently
  • Mechanisms: tools and processes of creativity; helping individuals incorporate inspiration into the way they work and fostering innovative behaviors
  • Measurement: qualitative and quantitative assessments providing employees with direction and feedback
  • Momentum: active reinforcement of the creative behaviors supporting innovation

Benefits of Using this Book

StrategyDriven Contributors like Look At More for its immediately actionable framework that encourages and reinforces the behaviors unleashing an organization’s innovative creativity. Additionally, we appreciate the detailed examples Andy provides from his experience implementing the framework at world renown corporations.

Besides driving innovation, we believe organization implementing Andy’s methods will also experience an increased level of employee engagement that, in our experience, significantly enhances productivity and the bottom line.

Look At More prescribes an immediately actionable method for unleashing employee creativity to support achievement of organizational goals; making it a StrategyDriven recommended read.