I really enjoy The Profit on CNBC.
It's a reality show where entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis invests in struggling businesses. In each episode, Lemonis investigates a business and then tries to make a deal with the current owners to help them turn things around.
A recent episode featured a gourmet marshmallow company called 240sweet. Lemonis invested $100,000 in the business, but his relationship with the owners dissolved when he realized they were being dishonest with him.
One owner in particular came across as abrasive, egotistical, and unethical. I won't spoil the ending, but you can watch the full episode on CNBC.com for a limited time.
The fallout after the show aired was amazing.
The Profit takes viewers behind the scenes to see how businesses really work. Lemonis goes through the company's financials, their operations, and even their customer service.
If an ordinary investor was doing due diligence on a potential business acquisition, most of those moments would be private. On The Profit, everything is on camera.
What was shown on television was very unflattering.
240sweet was hit with an avalanche of 1-star reviews on Yelp and Google. Most of these viewers had never done business with 240sweet. They simply wanted to punish the company for what they had seen on television.
You may not have any plans to appear on a reality show, but you still need to beware of private moments when customers are watching.
The World is Watching
240sweet isn't the first business to look bad after their appearance on reality television. (Remember Amy's Baking Company?)
You may not recognize the name Anjali Ramkissoon, but you probably remember seeing this video of the Miami doctor going nuts on an Uber driver. Her employer certainly noticed as she was placed on administrative leave after the video went public.
Customers may still be watching even when employees aren't being recorded. Here are just a few examples:
- Employee break areas that are visible to the public
- Employees who commute to work in uniform
- Employees having private conversations in customer-facing areas
A friend of mine recently had an embarrassing moment on her way to work. She was annoyed by another driver and laid on her horn to share her displeasure.
The other driver turned out to be her boss.
These incidents are a reminder to all of us that we never know when a customer, a boss, or anyone with a camera might be watching.