Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Small-business lessons learned in reality TV limelight

Published on Sep 25, 2013


Read 'Small-business lessons learned in reality TV limelight' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Over the past decade, reality TV has seen a dramatic rise in popularity and with that, a colorful range of cultural topics have since emerged -- from documenting the lives of housewives to teen moms. The genre now encompasses unscripted dramas, makeover sagas, celebrity exposés, lifestyle-change shows, dating shows, talent extravaganzas and just about any kind of competition you can think of. Currently, there are more than a dozen reality shows in prime-time slots on major networks and cable channels. Reality TV Lessons But this field of entertainment isn’t just pleasing network executives via ratings or giving viewers an excuse to stay up an hour later during the week. Reality TV has affected hundreds of small business corporations. And as their success stories demonstrate, even the briefest of stints on the national stage can have considerable impact and teach lessons to seasoned and newbie business tycoons alike. Whether you get your entrepreneurial start after joining a reality TV cast, or it’s your pre-existing business that is the reason for your broadcast exposure, reality TV has opened our eyes to some universal truths about business ownership. 1.       A strong social media presence pays off To be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to understand the rules of the game, as well as when to break those rules and how to get along with competitors—not to mention a heavy dose of self-awareness. ABC’s “The Bachelor” teaches it all. But the cast doesn’t stop when the cameras do. Instead, they leverage their “fifteen minutes of fame” via social media to continue building their personal brands. Engaging with each other, as a sub-Bachelor community on Twitter, the former cast mates stir conversations about pop culture, the current Bachelor season, and anything else relevant to their young professional demographic. As a result, many of the men and women once searching for love on a reality TV show, build a following similar to that of Hollywood A-listers, enabling them to promote current projects and establish a place in the niche marketplace of their choice.   2. Find your niche A reality show on Bravo’s network titled “Millionaire Matchmaker” introduces a concept of a Beverly Hills-based "Millionaire's Club" dating service, that matches single wealthy people with closely compatible dates. It might seem silly, but the truth is that the show is about entrepreneurs and their often strange personality traits that prevent them from finding love, despite all of the resources available to them. It takes an entrepreneur to understand another entrepreneur, so something about putting the show’s host and resident love guru, Patti Stanger, in charge of countless business savvy singles’ love lives adds up. It’s a great example of how expertise in a niche can skyrocket a personal brand and business incorporation.   3. Learn From the Competition Another important takeaway for business corporation owners from reality show hosts such as Bravo’s Gordon Ramsay and Tabatha Coffey is paying attention to what the competition is doing. Ramsay and Coffey mentor business owners to embrace rather than retreat from competition. They encourage business owners to take a hard look at what they think they are doing wrong or could do better in the context of what the competition is doing. This involves refining their incorporation goals and finding ways to connect with their target market. Demonstrating value, customer service and leadership in a niche are proven techniques that work time and time again. And sometimes it isn’t only about differentiating yourself from competitors, but taking note of what has given them success and how their strategy can be spun for your own entrepreneurial efforts.   4. Be your own ambassador Do you keep up with the Kardashians? If you do, you know that the famous K-family’s reality show is a perfect example of how a great personal/company brand can make you money, no matter what your product is. The sister trio of Kim, Kourtney and Khloe started their entrepreneurial journey via a southern California clothing boutique coined “DASH.” But after signing on to a reality show that has aired on E’s network for the past six years, they have expanded their business into a nationwide brand, with a Kardashian clothing line sold in all Sears department stores, countless endorsement deals, and significant revenue from 140 characters or less Tweets to their millions of followers promoting a client's business or venture.