The Profit

The Profit season 8, episode 6: What we learned from K9 Lifeline

The Profit season 8 returned to Utah this week when Marcus Lemonis invested in a portion of another pet-oriented business.

In “A New Leash of Life,” Marcus visited K9 Lifeline, which was actually two separate entities. There was Heather Beck’s dog training and boarding facility, and then the transitional leash that she was hoping to take to a national level. She applied to The Profit looking for an investment in the latter company, and got a huge surprise when Marcus brought along Gio and Lisa Senafe from Bentley’s Corner Barkery as fellow investors! But would Heather get with Marcus’ program?

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. Being number one means being the one.

Heather’s biggest stumbling block was not knowing the figures of her business. She wanted to be in control of the business but had to defer to someone else to get the numbers Marcus needed. Without Alex, she would have been unprepared. That conveyed an important requirement to The Profit viewers: if you want to be the leader and have all the power, then you need to also assume all of the responsibility—not just the creative and fun part.

To paraphrase a line from Kitchen Nightmares, people can be great at the individual thing they do and terrible at running their actual business. This was one of those situations. Heather was an innovator and super-creative but she didn’t know how to build the business and was content to let someone else do that work. Unfortunately, it’s not really an either-or situation if you want your company to be successful. Especially when you’re talking about millions of dollars—she came to the show with a $1.2 million valuation—that commitment includes all the nuts and bolts.

It doesn’t mean you have to be an immediate expert, either. Marcus was happy with Heather having to look up her numbers on a piece of paper (more on that later); he just wanted her to be aware of them. Lots of people come up with great ideas. That’s how we’ve had so many seasons of Shark Tank. But the best entrepreneurs are able to play both sides.

002. What’s in a name?

Heather and Lisa got into a somewhat heated argument when it was proposed that they change the name of the leash from K9 Lifeline to something else. Lisa felt that K9 Lifeline sounded very medical and wanted something more accessible, and Heather was vehemently opposed. By the end of the episode, though, the product had been rebranded as Heather’s Heroes (but it still has the original name on the K9 Lifeline website).

Marcus and Lisa had to explain the various ways a name can affect a product. They spoke about something that would be more appealing to the consumer, and something that would help people differentiate between Heather’s retail product and her training business. Once they laid it out for her like that, she understood what they were getting at. But it shows another small detail that can make or break a business. A name might sound cool or a business owner may have an attachment to it, but ultimately it’s about what message that name sends to the person buying the product.

003. Numbers are still very relevant.

This was another The Profit episode where the owner didn’t know their numbers. Longtime viewers of the show know that this happens at least a few times every season. In this case, Heather continued to not be fully aware of her company’s numbers until near the end, when she pulled out what she called a “cheat sheet” (Marcus used the word “guide”) to break down product costs.

It’s kind of baffling that this keeps occurring. People who apply to The Profit obviously have at least heard of the show, and Marcus has repeated “know your numbers” or some variation of it enough times that CNBC sells a T-shirt with the phrase on it. As he reminded Heather this week, people know he’s coming, so why don’t they know their numbers? Numbers are to The Profit what risotto is to Hell’s Kitchen. People should be ready for it but they somehow never are.

Even if you’ve got to write it down in a guide, every person who appears on this show should have their numbers on hand when Marcus walks into their business. How much time would it save if he didn’t have to repeat himself in every other episode?

The Profit airs Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.

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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