TODAY

TODAY   |  July 30, 2013

CNBC host turned outdoor gear into $3 billion company

Marcus Lemonis turned his outdoor equipment business Camping World into a $3 billion company, and is now offering his entrepreneurial expertise and $2 million to struggling businesses on his show “The Profit.” He talks to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back at 8:38. some people see camping equipment as s'mores but marcus saw a gold mine . he turned his outdoor equipment businessing camping world into a $3 billion company and now he is offering his advice and money on the new cnbc show "the profit." it's good to see you.

>> good morning. this is a great set up.

>> you have camping gear where ever you go.

>> and s'mores.

>> we'll talk about the show in a moment but you have an incredible story. you didn't know anything about the camping business when you went into it?

>> no when i was 12 years old i started a lawn business and 10 or 20 years later i decided to get into the camping business. it's about understanding a good family oriented product.

>> he actually gave you good business advice.

>> i was in the car business at the time and he said to me you're going to be a very small fish in a very big pond . this rv and camping industry are going to be great. mothers love to take their kids camping. that's the right industry for you.

>> now you're taking the expertise, you have the show called "the profit" you're putting your own money on the line and looking for small businesses that have something. let me play a clip of the show.

>> great.

>> you're just right out of the gates said --

>> i said primary colors .

>> so this is okay because it's pastels.

>> i wouldn't say they were pastels but i feel like these primary colors are too extreme.

>> does that mean because it's not your idea. robin, i don't give a crap what it looks like. what i care about is it sells and that isn't selling.

>> that is a company called eco me. i guess you believe in tough love?

>> i believe in tough love but i believe in people and in that half episode i make about a half million dollar investment because i believe in here. tell me about women in business. they say there are nearly 8 million women that run their own businesses. we have seen almost a 60% increase in women owned businesses in the u.s. in the last ten years. when you look at how women run businesses versus how men run businesses, do you see differences and are there things we can learn from one another?

>> every time i have an employee that's a woman, they are better listeners and more sympathetic and have better ideas. it doesn't mean that men don't have good ideas but i saw a woman that put everything on the line to try to make it work. she started this business because her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer . she mortgaged her house, maxed out her credit cards but she was a good listener. that made the difference for me.

>> when you decide where to put your money in, are there common mistakes that businesses make. what's a common error people are making? because many of them fail.

>> for me it's a simple process. it's a people, process and product game but people are the absolute kind of thing that's consistent across all of them. what people make a mistake in is they don't focus enough on people.

>> it's great to talk to you. you can catch the premiere of the profit tonight at 10:00 eastern and pacific