7 Most Embarrassing Celebrity Business Plan Failures

Occasionally, a famous person will try their hand at a legitimate business venture. Some of these ventures prove successful, resulting in incredible wealth and a sense of personal achievement.

Others, not so much. Here are some examples of celebrities whose business plans failed, and the lessons we can learn from their defeats.

1) Kim Basinger

In 1989, Kim Basinger starred in Batman.  That was a good idea.  She also bought a town in Georgia with the hopes of turning it into a tourist attraction.  That was not a good idea. She would have been helped with our business plan template

Basinger listened to the advice of family members and purchased the town of Braselton, Georgia for $20 million.  She had aspirations of developing movie studios and hosting a film festival in the town.  Of course, it turns out celebrities and producers would rather hang out in Hollywood than Northeast Georgia, and Basinger sold the town in 1993 after encountering financial difficulties.  The experience caused a rift between Basinger and her family.

Your family might give great advice when it comes to break-ups and chicken soup recipes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their business advice is sound.

2) Heidi Fleiss

The Hollywood Madame was famously busted in 1997 for running a brothel in Los Angeles.  After serving a 21-month prison sentence, Fleiss decided to start some legal enterprises.  She opened a sex boutique in Hollywood, which was quickly closed.  She also started a publishing company called One Hour Entertainment, which she used to release her own coffee table book.  The book did sell tens of thousands of copies, yet the venture still failed thanks to its distributor, which went bankrupt.  Always the entrepreneur, Fleiss currently lives in Nevada and runs a laundromat called, wait for it, Dirty Laundry.

Persistence pays off, and coffee table books about illicit activities have a very slim chance of success.

3) Don Johnson

Don Johnson, of Miami Vice and Nash Bridges fame, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004 after his company, Timber Doodle Glade Equity Venture LLC, went under.  The company incurred significant debts, including $5,000 in unpaid grocery bills. After the bank sued for nearly $1 million, Johnson was forced to declare bankruptcy in an effort to save his home.  Our business plan consulting services could have helped Johnson big time!

4) Mark Twain

You would think the writer of some of the most memorable works in American history would be a pretty smart guy. But the fact is that he lost all his money in get-rich-quick schemes.  Though he earned an impressive income from his writing, Twain made many bad investments, and often fell victim to scams.

5) Tammy Wynette

Country music star Tammy Wynette, most famous for her hit “Stand By Your Man,” filed for bankruptcy in 1988 after her investments in a couple of Florida malls didn’t work out.  She also had some unfortunate health issues and was forced to put a lot of money towards medical bills.

6) Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds was an actress who achieved great success in the 1950s and 60s with films like Singin’ In The Rain and Skirts Ahoy!  Reynolds was not so fortunate in business, however.  Along with her husband, she purchased a hotel and casino in Las Vegas.  It ultimately failed, and Reynolds had to declare bankruptcy in 1997. She clearly could have used a growthink business plan review.

7) Jim McMahon

During his NFL career with the Bears, Jim McMahon opened a restaurant in Chicago named Jim McMahon’s. Creative.  It lasted a couple of years before being shut down in 1989.  Many blamed the closing on the fact that McMahon rarely appeared at the restaurant, and was hardly involved in any of its operations.  It wasn’t entirely McMahon’s fault; in ’89, he was traded to the San Diego Chargers, which made it tough to eat out in Chicago.

One expert added, Aside from McMahon’s fading popularity, the place suffered from too much debt, a bad location, parking problems, poor space layout, and a lack of signature food items.