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Hello fellow small business owner!  I have an exercise for you to try this weekend.  And it involves watching TV, of all things.

The Profit

If you haven’t seen the CNBC show The Profit yet, you need to.  I highly recommend this show.  As a person, it is entertaining.  But as a business owner it’s engaging, educational, and eye-opening.

Each week on The Profit, successful business owner and multimillionaire Marcus Lemonis analyzes and (usually) invests in a failing business.  Marcus fascinates me.  His highly developed ability to look at a business and immediately assess its flaws is amazing.  With his marketing and operational business knowledge he instantly identifies the problems and clarifies the right solution.

Marcus preaches three keys to a successful business:  People, Process, and Product.  In each episode he goes into the business and identifies any issues with these three core ingredients.  Is the Product a quality product that can be sold?  Are the processes efficient and correct, or is something broken or wastefully operated?  Lastly, are the right People in the right place, based on their skills and the needs of the business?

Weekend Business Exercise

Which brings us to our simple 1-hour weekend small business exercise.  (I’ll be doing this exercise myself this weekend.)  First, if you haven’t seen The Profit yet, take 45 minutes and watch an episode.  You can catch reruns on cable or watch a recent episode online.  Pick any one that interests you and just watch it.  Next, grab a notepad & pencil and go sit somewhere quiet.  Take another 20 – 30 minutes and apply the principle of People, Process, and Product to your business.  Write three large headings on the page and work through each one, writing down your thoughts and decisions.

People

Think about each person on your team.  Are they passionate about what your business does?  Do they show excellence in accomplishing their role?  Do you need to let a whiner free, promote a go-getter, or fire a loving but ineffectual family member?

Process

Have you ever walked through your business as though you were a customer?  Do you have the systems in place to produce efficiently?  Are your employees equipped with the proper tools to perform at a high level?  Can you quickly scale up to respond to increased demand?

Product

How is the quality of your product?  Is it packaged and marketed based on consumer feedback?  Have you expanded too far with knick-knacks and off-topic items?  Or, is there an obvious product variation that the market would love to see?

Lastly, think carefully abput the specific episode you watched.  Identify and apply 3 – 6 questions from that episode to your own business.  For retail centered companies I recommend the Key Lime Pie episode.  For production-based companies I recommend the Trailer Maker episode.

What do you think of the show?