How not to go about investing in a business

The Apprentice is back on our TV screens in two weeks thanks to the BBC. I won’t be watching it.

Reality television has become an unbearable fixture on the annual TV schedule.

Even once-great channels like Discovery and History Channel have become overtly rubbish at providing meaningful reality TV.

Many shows are so scripted it’s a wonder the subjects aren’t considered actors. Ever wonder how that car gets taken apart and put back together just in time to leave you happy as it cuts to the titles? Scripted.

In recent years this genre has somehow managed to wrangle its way into business and one of the great offenders is The Apprentice.

Whether you watch it in the United States, UK or (used) to watch here in Ireland, it is a travesty of a programme.

If you want to go into to business with someone you don’t make them jump through hoops.

When you invest in a business you invest in a package, the product, the person and the whole package.

If somebody said they were going to invest in your business you may be pretty excited.

If they then turned around and asked you to prove yourself worthy of their investment by doing a set of tasks more ridiculous then the last I would imagine you’d revisit your positive attitude.

Making good TV is about ratings, not people. Great shows are a byproduct of ratings chasing.

Breaking Bad was on for five seasons, great show. Keeping up with the Kardashians is passing 10 seasons, not a great show.

It’s a TV show and they get great people for TV. That means you go out and find the range of interesting characters who will provide you with ratings.

The show does not show how you should do business.

Investment of any kind is two-way street. It is not the army.

You shouldn’t need to break somebody into submission so you can mould them into the person you want.

If they are not what you want in the first place, why do you want to do business with them?

Being a successful business person does not mean they you are a successful person.

They are two very different things.

In business and in investment you are investing as much in the person behind it as you are with your money. That goes for both parties.

Donald Trump is a very successful business person, but not a successful person.

Ask anybody who has invested in a business.

I doubt they’ll tell you a story about how they made people jump through hoops of fire just to make them think about investing in them.

They’ll say that they sat down and met the people behind the business, had meetings, and crunched the numbers.

They looked at markets and competitors and determined whether the owners have what it takes to drive the business to next level of success. It’s a fact-finding mission, not a witch hunt.

The reality of investing in an idea is very different.

It’s not sexy and it doesn’t make for great television.

It takes time and it takes careful consideration away from hysteria and spotlights. It’s an investment, it’s your money and their business. Treating it like a circus means you’ll get circus.

Unless your Fossett’s, that ain’t good for business.

The Apprentice shows how not to do business. It is a false impression of what creating, building and investing in a company is and should be.

Reality TV? No, just bad television.


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