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Serious lessons in small-business success

Published:Wednesday | March 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Glenford Smith, Career Writer

Years ago, I decided to spend as little time as possible watching commercial television.

Generally, I found that the few nuggets of value to be mined didn't justify the time. Neither was it worth the cost of subjecting my mind to an overwhelming diet of unavoidable ads and negative programming.

So, except for one weekly must-watch programme and the occasional current-affairs discussion, I'm usually clueless about what's happening in TV land.

You can, therefore, imagine my excitement on Sunday evening March 18, when I happened upon a locally produced television show called The Innovators, which aired on TVJ.

If you are serious about career and business success, it is a show worth watching, despite having to sit through its countless sponsorship ads.

Reminiscent somewhat of the American reality television show Shark Tank, the show focuses on entrepreneurial success.

In Shark Tank, ambitious entrepreneurs and inventors seek capital from a panel of wealthy investors called sharks.

The Innovators, which had a three-person panel, interviewed a small-business owner, with the view of helping her improve business profitability.

The episode I saw featured an engaging, confident and smart female owner of a bar and restaurant business.

The panel deliberated on the feasibility of the venture, based upon their conversation with the business owner.

I found the panellists' discussion highly educational, practically useful, and based upon sound principles of business success in the real world.

Having decided that the business had bright prospects, the panellists proceeded to help the business owner in achieving the main goal: making more money. They brought in a trainer to expand the range of drinks offered. One panellist also visited the establishment and offered suggestions for improving the ambience as well as the business operations.

From what I saw of the programme, I think that, as a business person or professional, you will benefit enormously from watching it and taking good notes from it.

Like the entrepreneur featured on the show, many small-business owners just started a business out of necessity or because they have experience in a particular field.

They usually don't have the formal business training or background necessary to start and grow a successful business. Consequently, many end up disillusioned, devastated and thousands of dollars in debt because of a failed business.

The Innovators can help you bridge the business-education gap, if you're a smart viewer.

The lessons from the episode I stumbled upon included:

  • The importance of having a business plan before starting out;
  • How to integrate social media into your marketing;
  • Being decisive and action-oriented to grasp opportunities;
  • Working on your business, not just in it;
  • Being open to criticism and acting upon what you learn;
  • Suggestions on getting customer feedback;
  • The importance of mentorship;
  • How to focus, market and staff your business for growth and profit;

The importance of self-confidence and determination for business success.

If you are interested in business success, you should watch The Innovators. This positive and useful programme will help you succeed as a small-business operator by providing sound business tips, for free.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of a new book 'From Problems to Power: How to Win Over Worry and Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities'. Send feedback to