NBC’s hit TV show The Celebrity Apprentice is more than just an entertaining television series that raises a lot of money for some amazing charities -- it is also a great source of lessons that every entrepreneur can benefit from. In the show, Donald Trump challenges teams of celebrities with different tasks, awarding the winning team’s project manager money for his or her charity while someone is fired from the losing team.
Current cast member Brandi Glanville is most recognized for her role on Bravo’s series The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but don’t let that fool you -- she is a successful entrepreneur with a mobile app and new wine venture in addition to being an author that hit the New York Best Seller list twice.
Here are eight entrepreneurial lessons we feel the show emphasizes.
1. You are only as good as the team around you.
If you surround yourself with a great team you are naturally going to win, whether we are talking about a sporting event, building a business or competing on The Celebrity Apprentice. Weak and unmotivated team members are dead weight and will always hold you back.
Someone once said you are the company you keep, and this is true in life as well as in business. The business team you put together is a reflection of you, the team leader, and you are only as strong as your weakest player.
2. A strong leader is essential for success.
A company will never reach its goals or full potential with a weak-minded leader that isn’t fully committed to the task at hand. On The Celebrity Apprentice, the majority of losses are due to a weak project manager. Likewise, the majority of victories on the show are due to a very determined and committed project manager.
If you don't believe in the person leading you, it’s time to take charge yourself. Never throw in the towel.
3. Social networking is a powerful vehicle to deliver your message.
Social media is a powerful tool, and some of the fundraising tasks on The Celebrity Apprentice just further amplify that fact, as the teams have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, often using social media to announce event locations and request donations. When you build up a loyal social following you have a group of individuals that will go out of their way to help when you ask, whether that is re-tweeting a message or participating in an event.
Social media is an important weapon -- a strong social-media following can be used to promote, sell and market almost anything.
4. Lack of communication creates unnecessary conflicts.
When teams don’t communicate effectively, it leads to a lot of he-said-she-said bickering and conflict. This just slows down progress -- so don’t be afraid to communicate how you feel. Even if everyone doesn’t agree you can quickly come to a resolution and then move forward.
Business relationships are just that -- ‘relationships’ -- and everyone knows the only way to have a successful relationship is by keeping the lines of communication open. Think of it as a marriage of sorts.
5. Fully understand tasks before you attempt to tackle them.
If you start a project without having a full understanding of the task at hand, it can come back to bite you. At a certain point you can’t backtrack or press the reset button. When you fully understand what you need to get accomplished you can create a solid plan and follow it until the end.
Take your time and ask as many questions as you can think of. If you’re not informed then you’re not prepared.
6. Stand up for your beliefs.
If you feel strongly about something, don’t be afraid to back down, even if you are outnumbered at first. Take the time to explain why you feel the way you do -- your gut feeling is often right. The last thing you want to do is keep quiet and then regret your decision after the fact.
In last week's episode, Glanville was the project manager for her team and wasn’t feeling the direction they were going. She made a decision that wasn’t popular among her teammates at first, but had she not made that decision her team would have most likely lost the challenge. Instead, they were victorious and she was able to win a lot of money for her charity, Make-A-Wish.
Follow your instincts! Majority rules is not always the way to go. Talk it out with your teammates, get the opinion of everyone and then make your decision -- never forgetting that it's your decision.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.
Asking your team, “What do you think about this?” is something that sounds so simple, yet isn’t done nearly enough. There have been several instances on The Celebrity Apprentice where the project manager just ran with what he or she believed was the right direction for the particular task without asking for feedback. If you make decisions without asking for feedback and things go sour you have nobody to blame but yourself.
It’s very important to have every team members' feedback before making decisions. The best businessmen are usually the best listeners.
8. Take responsibility for your mistakes.
When Lorenzo Lamas was project manager earlier this season, his team lost and he took full responsibility for the loss. He could have tried to throw someone else under the bus and blame them for the loss, but he understood that it was his leadership and decisions that ultimately lead to the loss. If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to own up to it.
If I make a decision within my business that ends up being a mistake, I have to take complete responsibility -- it’s nobody’s fault but my own.
At the end of the day The Celebrity Apprentice is a competition and I don’t think it is always the best representation of people taking responsibility for their mistakes, however it is how I do business in my real daily life.
What other lessons can entrepreneurs learn from watching the show? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.