Business As Unusual

Business as unusual is a documentary series that follows eight small companies through some of the biggest challenges in modern times. The business owners are guided by their own expert coaches, on a journey through COVID lockdowns, reopenings, and the everyday challenges faced while trying to build a successful business in the UK.


Business As Unusual

Business As Unusual

What’s it all about?

Prime Video’s documentary series Business As Unusual follows the stories of a number of people and businesses across the UK. In the series, they try to navigate through one of the most unpredictable periods in modern history as COVID-19 emerged. The businesses are guided by their own expert coaches, whose role is to advise, guide, and help these companies grow through one of the most turbulent periods in modern history.

The 8 different businesses are all from different industries and have rapidly different challenges. One of the small companies that the documentary follows sells women’s clothes. The difficulties they had are completely different from the Animal sanctuary that’s also followed throughout the series.

And just to add to an already intriguing cocktail, the business coaches that guide the companies through these unprecedented times have their own challenges going on throughout.

Approaching COVID-19

Filming started for this documentary just before COVID-19 hit our shores in the UK. Originally designed to give viewers a feel for what it’s like being a small business owner. After all, most business programmes on TV are about bigger businesses. Programmes like “The Apprentice” or “Inside Bills Brain” often make good viewing on Netflix but most of our economy is supported by small businesses.

However, once COVID hit and we were forced into a lockdown, how small business usually works in the UK changed dramatically. It was no longer business as usual. Therefore the documentary team changed direction with the series and decided to show what it was like for small business owners as we entered lockdown.

The film crew captured the small businesses before COVID, during COVID, and then even after COVID. It gives us a refreshingly honest view of the trials and tribulations of being a small business owner. There’s honesty, there’s vulnerability and there are lots of tears. It didn’t end perfectly for every business, we saw some businesses separate and we saw others struggle on by the skin of their teeth.

Business As Unusual – It’s good for…

You should watch this docu-series if you are interested in business in any way. Every business on the planet started out as a small business and this documentary gives an honest and transparent look into what being in business is all about.

It’s also worth watching this series if you are already a business owner. There are some useful and educational takeaways from the business coaches as they work with and guide the business owners through the crisis.

Finally, it’s worth watching if you are interested in people. After all, the key to success in any business is the people that make it work. You’ll see the brave business owners involved put their whole life on the line as they attempt to survive the pandemic.

Episode Breakdown

Episode 1 is all about having a plan. Without a plan, it can be tough to avoid drifting. And as the old saying goes “if you don’t know where you want to be in 90 days, where are you likely to be? Where you are now.”

The 2nd episode is called “change.” The pandemic is here, and each business has had the rugged pulled from under them. The coaches need to level up and guide their businesses through one of the most uncertain and emotionally-trying times in modern history.

Episode 3 is filmed as we started to open back up. Re-emerging after a lengthy lockdown, our businesses and their coaches must find their feet in the post-pandemic world.

Episode 4 is about survival. Expansion is on the horizon as our businesses, guided by their coaches, search for new opportunities. However, for one, sudden developments put a once successful business into a huge crisis.

The final episode is focused on thriving. Business is booming as our intrepid entrepreneurs expand their offerings, take on new clients and look to cement their futures and legacies. One of them in particular looks to establish a completely new beginning.

What is the documentary not good for?

You shouldn’t watch this if you’re not fascinated by business, COVID, or people. If you want action, thrill-seeking chases then this documentary is not going to be your thing.

The same is true if you want horror (although some of the business owners that were filmed would disagree). And finally, if you’re looking for a romcom this isn’t for you either.

How long is the series?

The series is made up of 5-episodes that all last approximately 45 minutes each. If you sit and binge, you can even get through them all in one night. However, we’d recommend watching one a day over a week or two.

What will I learn from watching this docu-series?

You’ll learn what it’s really like to run a small business. Often the business owner is the primary contact for everybody. If the customers have a problem, they go to the business owner. If the team has a problem, they often go to the business owner. It can often feel like all roads lead to the head of the company.

Many of the owners filmed in the documentary faced the same challenges, so you’ll learn how they dealt with it.

There are other key learnings. One of the companies involved named Ruby and Daisy was focused on selling their highest-margin products. They reviewed the items that sold best and then found out which had the best margins. By doing this they improved their profit dramatically.

You’ll pick up ideas that will help you deal with suppliers, and customers that are upset, how to manage a great team, and even how to boost sales. All whilst sitting on the edge of your pants while the people involved bob and weave through various difficulties and extremities.

When was it filmed?

Filming took place from late 2019 (a few months before COVID) up until 2022. That’s not made clear in the documentary but the narrative is very clear as the companies head into COVID in March 2020.

Is there a trailer?

Yes, you can watch the 45-second trailer below.

Where can I watch it?

You can watch it on Amazon’s “Prime Video” by clicking here. Alternatively, just go to Prime Video and enter “business as unusual” in the search bar.