Long day at work? Nothing a glass of wine and five hours of real housewives, Kardashians and Honey Boo-Boo can’t cure. Shameless American reality TV has entrepreneurs scoffing at the hours wasted in front of the tube, but you know better. You’re a savvy executive who realizes there’s a lot to learn from the exaggerated human lives portrayed on screen. Next time you’re ridiculed for your program choices, you can graciously share these lessons in success learned from your favorite reality shows.
Don’t give up. Pawn Stars’ Rick Harrison told Popwatch that he’d been pitching the idea of making a reality show for four years before he was contacted by business-minded Leftfield Pictures with the same idea. Always trust your gut feeling and never give up on an idea. Maybe it’s just not the right time to add that new product line, but in a few years something will occur and you’ll know that the timing is perfect.
Success is Rarely Overnight
The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop has been in business since the 1980s, and the Harrison’s have worked hard all those years to build up the shop with its 43 employees who keep the family business running seven-days a week. Don’t fret about the sweat equity that goes into build your business. You may never get national coverage, but by consistently providing a valuable service to your community, over time you’ll build up an excellent reputation. Do your homework. In an interview with Channel 4, dual-continent reality-star Gordon Ramsay says that the secret to creating a good local eatery is to know your customers well and cater to them. Sure, a 24-hour build-your-own-nacho plate joint might sound good, but it’s only serving a small portion of the total population. Invest the time into researching your ideas even though it might seem like a waste of time. You’d be better off “wasting” three weeks on finding the perfect idea than having to close up three months into your venture because it was a bad idea all along.
Organization Equals Efficiency
While you may not have a kitchen that needs to be kept spotless, keeping your work area tidy and clean will boost productivity, since you’ll no longer have to dig through a two-foot pile of papers to find your credit card statement. Also, by batch processing tasks like using your postage meter, making photocopies and paying bills, you’ll be more efficient since your mind is focused on a single task. Rather than going through a routine where you’re checking your bank account, paying a bill and checking it again two days later— multiple times a month— why not pay your bills on the same day so you spend less time on administrative tasks?
Learn to Negotiate
All but a lost art in the West, American’s have a lot to learn about this money-saving skill. Fortunately, Frank and Mike from American Pickers can show you how to haggle down prices just as good as housewives in Asian countries do at their local markets. An article from Entrepreneur says that building a relationship, smiling and knowing when to walk away are keys to a successful negotiation. Need to bargain down the rent increase on your storefront? Meet with your landlord over a cup of coffee, discuss the weather and then explain why you’ll need to move out if the rent increase goes into effect. Chances are, he’ll be willing to extend your lease at the current rate, or lower the increase, if you extend him common courtesy. But be willing to pack up and move shop if he can’t come down on the price.
So while others may turn up their nose when you tell them that you’re going to add “watching a reality show or two” to your to-do list, be confident that there are many golden nuggets hidden inside that you can learn from.
About the author: Ashley White is an entertainment writer from San Francisco.