TV show: Business Model Makeovers

I want to launch a new reality TV show: Business Model Makeovers. I actually pitched the idea to Sudhir Syal at ET Now – he listened politely. But really, I can’t let this die. It’s too good.

Imagine: a bedraggled entrepreneur, bags under eyes, opens the door to a group of Startup Angels, with light streaming all around them. Perhaps they’re all dressed in white. Perhaps wearing stylish little wings.  

The Angels swoop down upon the business, and miraculously, within 2 days, the entrepreneur looks well-rested, her customers are full of compliments and referrals, and banks have competed to provide low-interest loans.

Voila: A Business Model Makeover.

Yeah, I confess: I stole the idea from all those Nanny-Makeover and Disaster-Home-Makeover shows. Have you ever seen them? They’re awesome.

I especially loved one episode where a Miracle Nanny, in crisp uniform, shows up at a house to find one kid stuffing a shoe in the dog’s mouth, another wrestling his Mom for the car keys, and the teenager in the backyard doing drugs. Within 24 hours, she has the kids in matching outfits, singing the score to Sound of Music, while vacuuming and dusting the house. I exaggerate only slightly.

So, who would get a Business Model Makeover? Well, we’d have to be very strict about what type of business could participate. Criteria would include:

  • Has customers.
  • Has great service or product.
  • Has more people who want to be customers.
  • Every time they add a customer, it’s bad news: either they lose more money, or they get closer to having a nervous breakdown.

There’s a company like this in my neighbourhood. Fabulous croissants. Amazing brioche. And every time she adds a customer, the entrepreneur’s stress level increases, and the mistakes in the services increase as well. It’s gotten to the point where we, her existing customers, ration our word-of-mouth referrals. “Yum!” a friends munches, “where did you get this bread?” “Sorry, I can’t tell you.” I’m not kidding!

Clearly, this bakery needs a Business Model Makeover: some help understanding what needs to change in the operations in order to allow for good service, reasonable scale, and a (relatively) stress-free life for the entrepreneur.

It might require a change in the way she accepts orders, or prices her goods, or mans the baking, procures supplies, or in the way they make their deliveries – I don’t know. She’s given some hints to me about her business. But every time I stand outside her bakery, starting to quiz her, she seems to get a bit nervous. Maybe I shouldn’t have waved the baguette with such vigour.

But see? If there were a TV show, we could get the Startup Angels to help her out – officially. And we would ensure ourselves an endless supply of absolutely fabulous chocolate croissants.



Filed under Business model

13 responses to “TV show: Business Model Makeovers

  1. This is an interesting project and as a netizen, I’d be really looking forward to this. However, isn’t our generation leading to the death of television? Use the internet medium and this could probably have been more great.

  2. Vinod Shastri

    The writing is amazing and the idea more so!

    Am sure there are any number of start-ups going through this heart-wrenching phase.

    Would love to see the dream come true.

  3. hi laura, just found your blog. thanks for putting me on the blogroll. look forward to some interesting posts.

  4. Shubha

    Great idea, Laura. I am sure startups can do with some glamour and a small miracle. I can almost see bedraggled entrepreneurs waiting at their doorstep, hoping for an angel to drop by. Would you volunteer? 😉

  5. This makeover thing could actually work. Strange ET Now didn’t lap it up. Great for TRPs.

  6. Haha…maybe ‘ET NOW’ is looking at ‘lapping’ it up in the near future. Wonder if the ‘lapping up’ was in reference to the Chocolate Croissants.

    Thanks Laura for this…and yes it sounds like a great idea…when we do execute it make no mistake you will be one of those Startup Angels 🙂

  7. sweet jesus…reality tv for entrepreneurs and startups now…et now should pull this in..students trying hard could definitely do with this…

    @sudhir you listening? run it parallel to “starting up”!

  8. Thiam Hao

    I just came across your blog after reading your email. In Singapore, there’s a Chinese reality show with similar idea.

    Owners of food stalls which are having poor business will call the team of a television program. The team will provide award winning chefs to coach him or her.

    Viola! The owner, having improved his skills, starts to receive a steady stream of customers again. The whole program was rather successful.

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