Watching “The Profit” In Las Vegas

While attending the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, my roommate and I had a role reversal between what we do in our off hours. After I come home from my tech job, I’m writing on the computer and he’s flipping through the TV channels with the remote. After arriving at our hotel room, I found myself flipping through the TV channels with the remote and he’s connecting with his Facebook friends at the convention on his iPad. A brand new reality TV show called “The Profit” on CNBC caught my attention.

Marcus Lemonis, a self-made multimillionaire, invests his own money to help owners turn around their struggling business by taking full control for a week and making practical changes in exchange for a percentage of the profits. He focuses on the Three P’s: People, Process and Product. A business needs two out of three to survive, but having all three working together creates more profit for the business.

The second episode of a six-episode season featured Jacob Maarse Flowers, a second-generation family owned florist business in Pasadena that the son, Hank, inherited after his father passed away. He proves himself early on as being a weasel more interested in sitting on his ass, collecting a paycheck and letting his mommy write the checks to bail out the business. When Marcus asked him why he doesn’t have the store phone number on the delivery vans, he doesn’t want to have customers calling because that means more work and buying more flowers. Not realizing that having too much business is a better problem than not having enough business.

Despite cleaning up the store, installing security cameras, equipping the vans with GPS and a wraparound graphic with the store phone number, Hank goes home before the re-opening party and doesn’t see how these changes will make a difference. He tries to reneges on a $150,000 USD investment for 25% of the profits and behaves like a spoiled brat when Marcus calls his mother on the speakerphone to demand his money back. The episode ends with Marcus planning to file a lien against the store building to get his money back. Later, while being interviewed on a different CNBC financial show, Marcus reports that the mother later returned his money.

Unlike the similar “Restaurant Impossible” with Robert Irvine on Food Network, where Robert often threatens to pull out if the owners refuse to change but somehow manages to reopen the renovated restaurant, “The Profit” doesn’t always have a happy ending because Marcus isn’t afraid to walk away from a bad deal. I find this refreshing for a reality TV show. Every business is different, few owners are willing to give up control and even the best deals can fall apart at the last minute.

After being a short story writer for seven years and an ebook publisher for three years, I’m in the process of reinventing myself and my business. “The Profit” is a very informative TV show that touches many of the issues that I’m facing as a business owner. I look forward to seeing the other episodes and the full season next year.