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Running a business is exhausting. Gaining customers, keeping customers, managing employees, planning for the future, putting out fires...it's no wonder that so few people have the stamina to run a successful business. We all need a little time to rest and relax. Personally, I like to have an hour, just before I sleep, to turn on the television and just let myself zone out from my day.

That hour of zoning out has actually become an hour of inspiration thanks to the selection of engaging shows on television involving small business owners and their struggles for success. You may heard of some or even been watching them already (I mostly binge them on Hulu/NetFlix over the weekends). Here's my list of three great business television shows and how each one has helped me grow my businesses:

The show: "The Profit"

A successful business investor, Marcus, finds small businesses in need of help, invests his own money and helps put them on the path to success.

My takeaway:

There are so many great things here, but the key is Marcus' laser focus on People, Processes and Product. Typically a small business will have a strong Product/Service, good People, but little in the way of Process. Establishing successful Processes just makes the efforts of the People to sell their Product much more successful.

The show: "Shark Tank"
A group of wealthy investors hear business pitches and decide where to invest their own money.

My takeaway:

Understanding how to be objective about your business, as well as knowing your numbers inside and out, is the key to getting interest from the best of the best. At the end of the day, these folks really invest in the entrepreneur as much as the business. Some key questions come up every time: "What are your sales?"; "What are your margins?"; "What would you do with more money?"; "How well do you know your market?"; "How are you different than your competitors?" If you can't answer these questions, you aren't ready for the big time.

The show: "Restaurant Impossible"

A small team takes $10,000 and 48 hours to makeover a failing restaurant.

My takeaway:

It is AMAZING what can be done with some knowledge, incredible focus, a good plan and fairly minimal investment. In two days time, these businesses essentially become brand new and get an amazing amount of energy. However, the real key always comes down to the people in charge. If they can learn to lead their business intelligently and with discipline, they can succeed.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from each episode, but the real value of watching these shows is the reminder that we are not alone. Tens of thousands of small businesses are struggling every day in this country to achieve their dream. Success is not easy, but it certainly is possible.

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