It might not seem like it but entrepreneurs can learn a lot about business from watching TV shows. Whether they are reality based or fictional, there’s a lot to be said for series that focus on businesses and start-ups.

Whilst these shows might offer advice and warnings in extreme settings, (they’re entertainment shows, after all), you can still learn some vital lessons about running your own company.

Television and two people discussing business

Dragons’ Den

A classic entrepreneurial show, Dragons’ Den does more than just humiliate small business owners who don’t have a clue what they’re doing. During the show, small business hopefuls pitch their ideas in front of five venture capitalists called Dragons, who then have to decide whether an idea is worth investing in. If the entrepreneur succeeds, they’ll get a sum of money and have to hand over a small stake in their business. If they lose, they go away with hurt pride but also some valuable pitching advice.

This show is great for those who are considering pitching for cash to grow their start up as you get to see what real investors are looking for. You see some really great do’s and some even worse don’ts by watching the show.

Alongside this, a huge emphasis is placed on knowing your company’s growth predictions and numbers – so that’s something to take away from it before you even get started.

Mad Men

Mad Men is a fictional show about a group of guys running their own advertising agency in the 1960’s. Over the six series, you get to see the character’s fierce battles for business, their growth and their downfalls.

As it’s fictional, there are of course many exaggerated plot twists and drama but the show does hint at many of the problems and successes faced by entrepreneurs of all sizes. Whilst your own entrepreneurial journey may not be quite as glamorous, there are many parts of the show that will definitely hit home and get you excited about running your business.

Kitchen Nightmares (UK Version)

If you’ve never heard of this show before, you might be a little confused as to why it’s on this list. The entire premise of the show is that Chef Gordon Ramsey goes into failing restaurants, tells them what they are doing wrong, shows them how to do it right and then leaves.

After identifying the restaurant’s problems, Gordon teaches the owners how to motivate staff, manage costs and generally anything else that’s needed to keep a business up and running. You might not be trying to run a restaurant but many of the skills he teaches are transferable to any start-up.

Whilst the UK version of the show actually teaches you how to run your own business, the same can’t necessarily be said for the US version, which contains a lot more filler and OTT drama. Kitchen Nightmares is a little out there but it’s definitely worth a watch for some entrepreneurial motivation and inspiration.