Can you learn anything about business by watching television? Of course, the first step in climbing the ladder of success comes when you get off the sofa. But if you’re sitting around watching TV and you’re interested in entrepreneurship, you could do much worse than ABC’s Shark Tank. The New York Post’s excellent columnist Naomi Schaeffer Riley recently interviewed me about the show. Here’s the test I suggested:
Take two people who have an idea to start a business – people with similar education, background and networking capabilities. If one of them watches Shark Tank for six months and the other watches American Idol, the Shark-watcher will have a clear advantage. Eager entrepreneurs who tune in to the show are forced to confront questions they might not have thought about – including reach, profitability and potential partners.
Many will realize that their schemes are hare-brained. Just because everyone’s told you you make the best ice cream in Cleveland, doesn’t mean you’ll knock Baskin Robbins off the shelf.
Of course, if you’d rather hear endless diva-like vocal runs, tune in to American Idol. Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, who stars on Shark Tank, is more interested in barking biz advice than showing off his baritone.