By Evan Cartwright
When someone asks you to think of the best entrepreneur-focused TV shows, programs like “Shark Tank” or “The Apprentice” immediately come to mind, based on their specific business-minded premises. However, entrepreneurial traits can be found in the unlikeliest of places, especially in programs that exist completely outside of a business setting.
Here are our top 6 favorite entrepreneur shows in pop culture (and what we can learn from them):
Everyone’s favorite on-the-fly inventor, Agnus MacGyver’s adaptability and ingenuity in intense situations demonstrates the need for entrepreneurs to be creative and use whatever resources at their disposal to solve their problems.
- Parks and Recreation
Running a government department is similar to managing a business—both have to maintain a budget, deal with competition, handle the irascible public, etc. As the optimistic Leslie Knope and the rest of the Pawnee, Indiana team shows us, there are multiple ways to approach situations, but it always pays to have a positive attitude and a tight-knit support group that you can trust. Plus, Tom Haverford perfectly embodies the entrepreneurial spirit—he’s ambitious and a wellspring of creativity. While not all of his business propositions are successful, Haverford never lets temporary setbacks keep him down, and he’s always looking to the future.
- Game of Thrones
Although this show is known more for its political machinations, bloody violence and graphic sexuality, Game of Thrones also offers an insightful look at management strategies. Comparing the ruling styles of the various houses and the differing levels of loyalty they inspire in their subjects demonstrate what to and what not to do in a team setting.
- Sanford and Son
While Fred and Lamont’s get-rich-quick schemes on “Sanford and Son” were motivated by less-than-honorable impulses and frequently backfired, you have to admire their entrepreneurial spirit. Just like the two junk dealers, entrepreneurs need to be able to think outside the box, anticipate market changes and always have new ideas on the back-burner.
- Breaking Bad
While Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s illicit actions shouldn’t be emulated, aspiring entrepreneurs can learn a few things from teacher-turned-drug kingpin Heisenberg. As a scientist, Walt is extremely concerned with maintaining the purity of his product; his meticulousness shows that it pays to be detail-oriented, as it helps you stand apart from the competition. He also wisely invests in multiple income streams, and works to expand his business connections. Finally, Mr. White wisely seeks out legal advice prior to most major business decisions.
- Gilmore Girls
As a great shout-out to female entrepreneurs, Lorelai Gilmore is one of the most versatile (and talkative) examples on this list. With her can-do attitude and personable nature, Ms. Gilmore exemplifies the benefits of networking; maintaining a close relationship with every resident of Stars Hollow and always willing to lend a hand, Lorelai created a built-in market for her brand in the Stars Hollow community. She also demonstrates the value of hard work, as she’s promoted to a management position after many years spent at Independence Inn, and eventually leverages her experience into opening her own venture. Most importantly, Lorelai demonstrates the need for balance in an entrepreneur’s life, managing her busy work life while still providing loving support and guidance to her daughter.
What did you think of our pop culture choices? Did we miss any of your favorite programs? Leave us a comment about what TV shows you think best show the entrepreneurial spirit!