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Reality TV ‘good for business’ say UK bosses

Four out of 10 UK bosses (41%) believe TV shows like The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den are inspiring a new wave of entrepreneurs who think they have what it takes to succeed, according to new research published today.

But while the survey, commissioned by specialist business finance provider Bibby Financial Services, shows the majority of owners and managers attribute the trend of increased workplace ambition to business reality TV shows (46%), almost a quarter (24%) claim the format is ‘demeaning business for the sake of entertainment’.

This echoes sentiments expressed by ex-CBI director general Sir Digby Jones, who openly criticised The Apprentice’s upfront approach, saying the show ‘does a great disservice’ to business and that Alan Sugar could be ‘turning young people off’ business because of his confrontational approach.

Good or bad, entrepreneurs widely agree that business reality TV is having an impact on the culture of business in the UK, with just 10% saying such programmes have no effect on the business landscape. More than a third (36%) of owners and managers believe the shows are creating a culture of ‘armchair entrepreneurs’, by bringing the world of the boardroom to prime time television and making it accessible to new audiences, stimulating a real buzz around business.

David Robertson, chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, said: “UK businesses are thriving and it seems that bringing the world of trade to a wider audience is acknowledged by the business community as largely a good thing. However, for those not lucky enough to be given a big break, getting a business off the ground can be one of the most complex, expensive and stressful challenges they will ever face.

“Despite this, running a successful business can be a fantastically rewarding experience, and not just in financial terms. The most important things to remember are to concentrate on something you’re passionate about, research whether there’s sufficient demand for the product or service you’re hoping to sell and investigate all the funding options available to you before taking the plunge and risk putting yourself in financial difficulties.”

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Notes to the editor:

Research conducted by Continental Research based on a nationally representative sample of 300 interviews with managing directors, financial directors and other senior managers of businesses (PLCs and private companies) with an annual turnover of £50,000 to £1m. Quotas were applied by turnover, region and industry type. Weighting was applied to make the sample representative of the 1,095,000 companies with a turnover between £50,000 and £1m as estimated by the DTI.

Bibby Financial Services

Voted Best Factor and Invoice Discounter of the Year in 2002, 2003 and 2005 and Best Lessor of the year 2004 at the Business Finance/NACFB Awards, Bibby Financial Services is a market-leading specialist in the provision of a range of business cash flow solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises. Its product portfolio includes invoice finance, export finance, trade services, asset and leasing finance, recruitment finance, construction finance, bodyshop finance and a range of business support solutions across a wide range of industry sectors.

As a global services provider, Bibby Financial Services has a network of 16 operating units throughout the UK and Ireland, and overseas companies in, Poland, France, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, The USA, Canada and Australia offering a local, fast and flexible approach to servicing clients.

Bibby Financial Services is wholly owned by the Bibby Line Group, a 200 year business-to-business services group with interests in ship owning and operation, shallow water accommodation, oil field services, contract logistics and business finance.

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