The top 5 TV shows to inspire your business

There are hundreds of TV shows to pick, but what business skills can you learn from your TV?

TV shows such as Dragons Den and their panel of business giants are inspiring a new generation of job seekers.

A survey of 2,012 British adults published in the Careers on the Box report by Fletchers Solicitors reveals that more than one in four millennials have considered starting a business as a result of watching a TV shows or films.

A third of those aged 18 to 30 confessed to taking inspiration for their career path from their favourite TV shows and box sets, with business and law among the top careers to pursue as a result.

The business-based TV stars that are inspiring Brits’ career choices include the Dragons Den personalities such as Peter Jones, Duncan Bannatyne, Theo Paphitis, and Deborah Meaden.

Applications for university business degrees have increased more than 10 per cent over the past five years according to the latest UCAS figures, in further proof that Britons’ best-loved TV shows and characters are shaping their job choice.

However, despite nearly two thirds of people saying they have researched a job or career path they have seen on the telly, for 38 per cent, the reality of working life and setting up a business differed from the silver screen, as they felt the television made their job look better than it is.

With that in mind, we round up top five shows to inspire you.

1.Dragons’ Den

Source: BBC Two

The cut-throat conveyor belt of Dragons’ Den has given audiences a lot of insight into what works (and what doesn’t work) when pitching business plans to potential investors.

There is a great deal of entertainment to be found watching desperately under-prepared aspiring business owners squirm under the scrutiny of the dragons’ panel, but budding entrepreneurs can learn a lot from this show.

Critiquing the pitches yourself and learning from their mistakes can be an excellent educational tool for you to take into the next pitch, giving you some great insider knowledge on the process.

It is also a good way to find new ideas for your own business plans, as the show seemingly accepts the weird and wonderful business ideas amongst the useful and progressive.

2. The Apprentice

Source: BBC One

Sir Alan Sugars extended business partner interview is a gauntlet of trials and tasks designed to stretch some of the countries most promising young business people in an attempt to find the next Apprentice. Or it would be if they picked contestants that were actually competent.

While the show has fallen into the habit of picking candidates based on their entertainment factor rather than their actual acumen, the show can give you an opportunity to discover a wide range of skills that the modern business owner will need to be successful.

The show does an excellent job of highlighting business across most industries and it can really help you discover an opportunity to sell into an industry you perhaps hadn’t thought of before and the best way to target that audience.

3. Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmare

Source: Channel 4

For those who may be considering opening up a restaurant, this show should be number one on your watch list. Chef Ramsey’s aggressive approach and no-nonsense attitude is an excellent example of how a forward and dominating demeanour can be successful in business leaders, but this show is excellent at highlighting the pitfalls and failures of the food industry and how you can get around them.

Ramsey nurtures and educates owners on how to give the best customer experience and the tools to improve their business, something that all entrepreneurs can learn across any industry.

4. Mad Men

Source: AMC

The New York advertising executives spend all their efforts trying to catch the attention of their audience, dedicating themselves to the brand and getting ahead in the business world. Don Draper is a high flying king of advertising and the show, although set in a different time, can give entrepreneurs insight into the life of the mega-successful, giving no ground and taking advantage of every opportunity that arrises for them.

Mad Men is particularly prudent now as some of its main themes focus around gender inequality and women overcoming the barriers in their way to success. For example, a major plot line focusses on Peggy’s rise from secretary to copywriter by not taking no for an answer.

There is plenty of political commentary to be made from this show that could help women today champion gender inequality in business.

5. Suits

Source: USA Network

The importance of strong corporate legal protection is heavily focussed on in the legal power show, Suits. While most of us don’t have a photographic memory like Mike Ross, many of us can learn from his work ethic and compassion when dealing with clients.

Many relationships explored in the show are cultivated through his caring nature and business leaders can learn the benefits of this approach.

Meanwhile, other characters like the obnoxious but likeable rival, Louis Litt, and their headstrong and no-nonsense boss, Jessica Pearson add more depth to the business archetypes we usually encounter.

On the opposite side, the cocky, brash and straight talking Harvey Spectre is the epitome of success in the business world. Viewers can learn how to close the deal from the very best in the business and also pick out some fashion tips on which three-piece suit to purchase.

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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