The Profit

The Profit season 8: What we learned from Harvest Lane Honey

The Profit made its return to CNBC this week as Marcus Lemonis ventured out to help another group of small businesses, and Tuesday’s season 8 premiere featured the most unique company that’s been on the show yet.

“Mo Honey, Mo Problems” centered on Harvest Lane Honey, a Utah-based company that handles every aspect of beekeeping, from importing bees to selling everything a beekeeper needs for their hive. But while the business sounded sweet, their bottom line was going sour thanks to an enormous amount of debt, and Marcus Lemonis arrived in town hoping to get them out of a sticky situation.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers from Tuesday’s latest The Profit season 8 episode.

Here are the business lessons we learned from this week’s installment of The Profit:

001. It’s not always writing a check.

One big danger of reality TV shows is that they fall into a formula. Especially as series go on for several years, the audience knows what to expect and starts to watch more passively. With The Profit there’s the general idea of Marcus showing up, making a deal, revamping the business and going home. There are episodes where that doesn’t happen, but that’s uncommon.

This is one of those episodes. Marcus didn’t make an offer to invest in Harvest Lane Honey until the final third of the installment. He spent the whole first half of the hour laying out the company’s $8 million debt (one of the biggest numbers ever seen on The Profit) and working with the company to break that down.

It was refreshing, because audiences got a mini-class on debt restructuring and figuring out how to handle all of those different liabilities. It was also a reminder to the audience that Marcus doesn’t just show up and write a check like some kind of fairy godfather. He has to make sure the investment is right for him and his money, and so we also learned more about how to evaluate a business before jumping in.

Ultimately Harvest Lane Honey wasn’t able to reach the debt restructuring goal that Marcus had set when they made their deal, and the episode ended with him negotiating a new agreement on the spot that was better for him and the business. That’s not normal on this show either. But there is no one right formula for business, and no one formula for The Profit either.

002. This is how cross-promotion is done.

Kudos to CNBC’s marketing department for their work in this episode. Cross-promotion is something every network tries to do; it’s why you see ads for other shows, and Wal-Mart logos popping up on series like Chicago PD. The Profit is no exception as Marcus and T-Mobile joined forces back in 2016.

Most of the time, cross-promotion is heavy-handed and annoying, but CNBC is in a unique position because it’s a network about business and finance. The mission of the network and the theme of their shows is the same thing. They should absolutely be leaning on their resources to supplement their programming, and “Mo Honey, Mo Problems” did that perfectly.

Marcus mentions ZipRecruiter at the beginning of the episode, and then there’s a ZipRecruiter ad—but not only that, the ad featured an entrepreneur from The Profit, Barb Batiste from B Sweet. This isn’t just name-dropping; it’s tying the commercial back into the show’s brand, and a nice little mention for B Sweet as well. Let’s hope we continue to see spots like this in the future to promote the show and its businesses, instead of just trying to sell the audience.

003. Lead by example.

This episode of The Profit taught viewers that Marcus Lemonis does not like bees. But Marcus pointed out that if he’s going to ask the business owners to do things that they’re afraid of, he also has to do things that he’s afraid of. Thus viewers were treated to Marcus getting very uncomfortable around a lot of bees.

Chuckles aside, this speaks to the kind of leader that Marcus is and that everyone should strive to be. He’s not going to expect someone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. This is a major reason why the show has lasted eight seasons. We never see Marcus treat himself differently than anyone else. He approaches each business as joining a team and is willing to step out of his comfort zone.

On top of that, this is another episode where he’s getting hands-on with the product and understanding it, not just the inner workings of the company. That’s critical information because it’s the product that obviously drives the business. You can know all your numbers and have a great process, but how can you sell a product if you don’t grasp what it is, how it works, or why people would want it? You have to do the small things before you can look toward the big outcomes.

The Profit airs Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC. Full episodes are streaming on Peacock and can be watched on CNBC on Demand, Amazon Video and iTunes.

Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.

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