The new entrepreneurs show on CNBC with Marcus Lemonis “The Profit”

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The Profit - Season 1

At last, an alternative to The Donald.

First a disclaimer:  I’m not a fan of Donald Trump.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in New York City and have had to listen to his BS since the 1980s (decades longer than “Apprentice” watchers.)

Maybe it’s because I know his dad bankrolled him to the tune of $200 million and had to repeatedly bail him out deep into his adulthood. Maybe it’s because I know too many people who’ve owned Trump properties and heard their nightmare stories.

But most of all, it’s because I’m not a fan of “The Apprentice.”

What’s the show about really at the end of the day?

Made up business ventures operated by celebrities like Bret Michaels…Gary Busey…Lil Jon…Omarosa.

Really?

Then the spectacle of watching them endlessly kiss Trump’s rump, simultaneously turning on each other like rats on a sinking ship while they squirm in their seats hoping not to get fired.

What does this have to do with business?

The big problem 

I’ve long noted that entrepreneurs are seriously shortchanged when it comes to education.

Mass media portrayals of business success are total nonsense.  The real – and hard and sometimes boring – stuff is always left out giving people a completely distorted view of what it takes to make and keep a business successful.

Academic programs are worse than useless. Courses for entrepreneurs run by professors who have never created, let alone operated, a business. That’s a great idea, isn’t it?

Then there’s the late night infomercials promising easy riches from “flipping houses” and other blatant nonsense.

If you’re an entrepreneur you’ve got three good sources of “how to” info (none of them mutually exclusive): the school of hard knocks, creating a network of mentors and colleagues, and getting info where ever and however you can find it.

It ain’t easy and anyone who can figure it out has my utmost respect.

A good one

I watched the first episode of the Marcus Lemonis show “The Profit”, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

CNBC is not exactly known for portraying financial reality very well.

But good news…this show is the real deal.

Why?

Because, lo and behold, it’s not about celebrities. It’s not a dramatized corporate press release. It’s not CEO worship. It’s about a guy who goes into businesses, figures out how they work, and rolls up his sleeves and makes them more profitable.

What a concept! I don’t know why it took so long for something like this to hit the tube, but better late than never and I’m grateful for it.

Watch the show

Watch the show – it’s called “The Profit” and it’s on CNBC – but meanwhile, here’s a Cliff Notes version you can apply right now.

Lemonis says he focuses on three things: People, processes and products.

On the people side, he appears to have a simple policy: He expects respect, he gives respect and he expects everyone on the staff to do the same. No nonsense and no posturing.

On the process side, he experiences the business step-by-step from the point of view of the customer and methodically identifies and smooths out all the rough edges (Sound familiar? System 101.)

On the product side, he makes sure the product or service offered is top notch.

He can also count…

To me, the best thing about the show is that it reveals what strangely enough appears to be the biggest and best kept secret about business: arithmetic.

I’m not being facetious.

I can’t tell you the number of business owners, business managers, and would be owners, who can’t answer the simplest questions about the plain vanilla arithmetic of their businesses.

Questions like: How much does it cost to get a prospect in the door? What percentage of prospects become customers? What’s your profit per transaction? Where is the rest of the profit going?

I know these questions are not rocket science, but they might as well be as far as most business reporting is concerned.

In contrast, Lemonis flashes these numbers on the screen so you can’t possibly miss their significance and then demonstrates the System credo:

If you know your numbers, you can improve you numbers, and, surprisingly often, you can improve you numbers a lot more that you can imagine.

In the first episode,  Lemonis demonstrated that he could increase the profit-per-transaction of the subject company from $500 to around $3,500 – and here’s the important point – without diminishing the product or reducing the customer experience.

There is no one secret to creating wealth, but the surest way I know of doing it is to know your arithmetic and make it work better.

Lemonis gets it.

Why it took until 2013 for something like this to appear on TV screen is a mystery to me, but it’s a good thing.

Will “American Idol”-addled audiences like it?

I have no idea. But people who want to make money will love it.

I can’t wait for the next episode.

– Ken McCarthy

P.S. Hey, I wrote this book. It’s good. Take a look. Details here

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