Marcus Lemonis is very willing to share his business knowledge as evident with his new CNBC series “The Profit,” set to debut as 7 p.m. Tuesday. When the business entrepreneur, whose companies includes Camping World, needs some help with a business deal, he thinks of only one person — his mother.
“I do have this very simple philosophy. I do business with one thing in mind. I always think about what my mother would say about how I did business,” Lemonis says during an interview at the TV Critics tour currently going on in Los Angeles. “It seems overly simplistic, but if my mother would be OK with how I did the deal, I’m good.
“If she would kind of raise her eyebrows and think it was a little shady, then I would know I’m not doing it the right way.”
His mother died two weeks ago, but her influence lives on in the man who went from living in a Beirut orphanage when he was 9 months old to owning his own lawn business by age 12. Now at 39, he’s involved with numerous companies, many connections made through his new cable series.
The networks and cable channels are filled with programs where an “expert” will come into a business — restaurant, hotel, bar, beauty parlor, etc. — and proceed to fix the problems. In the end, there’s not that much tension because the expert only has a few hours invested in the business. Even the business sharks on “Shark Tank” can pass on a deal if there seems to be any problems.
Lemonis, host of he is changing that. The self-made millionaire is putting up his own money when it goes into struggling businesses. If his changes work, he gets his money back and possible a profit. Failure means he’s out the investment. In one show, Lemonis was so determined to make one change he was willing to walk away from a company where he’d invested big bucks.
“The thing that makes me different and the thing that makes this show different is that I put up $2 million of my own money, not someone else’s money, not a bank’s money, and in some cases I make money, and in some cases I lose it. I don’t plan on it, but it’s real and it’s raw. And what makes this show different is we take you behind the curtain so you can see what actually happens.
“I have a love for business, and that’s what led me to CNBC.”
Lemonis will share his knowledge with a variety of different companies. You’ll never see him helping a company associated with alcohol. He prefers to be involved with more family oriented companies. Marcus has raised millions of dollars for charities such as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and New Journeys.
His business formula is rather simple: people, process and product. He says if you two of those are missing, he won’t do the deal. Most time the deal is killed by people, the one area Lemonis finds the hardest to fix. To make sure that he’s never a people problem with any business, Lemonis has a strict business ethic. He gets 150 emails every hour and the business tycoon, who has no assistant, answers each himself.
He laughs and says that because many of those electronic responses are made late at night, his “love life is terrible.”