4 Startup Tips from ‘2 Broke Girls’

For those of you unfamiliar with CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, the show follows the typical sitcom mishaps of, shockingly, two broke girls. Max, a scrappy Brooklynite, and Caroline, an heiress who lost everything, meet while working at the local diner. Over the course of the first episode, we learn that Max makes some killer cupcakes and that Caroline graduated from a prestigious business school.

Max resists change, but Caroline insists that with their combined skills, they can open and run a successful cupcake business. Whether you love or hate the show, there are definitely some solid takeaways from their budding startup.

Max Kat Dennings 2 Broke Girls CBS

Max’s cupcakes help kickstart the business…

1. Reach out to your friends and family. Max already sells her cupcakes in the diner where she works. But when Caroline decides that it’s time to get serious about their cupcake business, she encourages Max to pass along their business card to Max’s other employer.

New businesses hear this all the time, but it’s worth repeating. Landing business from the leading innovator in your niche sounds amazing, but it’s not going to happen on the first day. Keep your business afloat and start brand awareness by getting your friends on board.

2. Get the best for your business. Even though they are aggressively saving their pennies, Max and Caroline admit that they can’t run a cupcake business when the pilot light on their stove doesn’t ignite. They end up raising money to buy a state of the art oven. And when they realize that their cupcake decorating skills are lacking, they take a class at a local bakery.

I don’t mean that you should run your business into the ground with elaborate purchases, but you will need to spend money to get the tools you need. Invest in good accounting software, equipment, personnel, etc. The cliché is right: you have to spend money to make money.

Caroline Beth Behrs 2 Broke Girls CBS

…but Caroline’s can-do attitude will really help them succeed.

3. Jump on every single opportunity you can. Caroline manages to sweet talk the owner of a local coffee shop into selling their cupcakes. Max isn’t a big fan of the clientele (she’s a hipster-hater) and resists the idea. The two girls also end up serving their cupcakes at an art gallery instead of just dropping them off and collecting their check.

Your first couple clients might not be your dream clients, but everyone needs to start somewhere. Don’t put yourself in uncomfortable situations, but dealing with idiosyncrasies is a necessary evil of starting out. You can get picky with your clientele once your business is booming.

4. Keep your eyes on the prize! Max gets discouraged each and every time that the two girls have a minor financial setback. But Caroline always manages to motivate her business partner into sticking with their dream.

Setbacks will be frequent while you’re starting out: even the most detailed of business plans can be derailed. You will most likely be rejected more times than you are accepted. The important thing is to bounce back, take those risks, and make sure that your end goal is at the forefront of your mind.

Are there any other valuable startup tips from 2 Broke Girls’ playbook? For viewers, do you think the sex jokes will ever subside so we can dig out more business insight?


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on


  1. Alex Brodsky

    As much as I detest this show (overly-stereotypical characters, unfunny jokes with audience laughter boosted as high as possible, and the people writing it obviously have no idea what a ‘hipster’ really is), from what you’ve pointed out, there are some good tips for people trying to start their own business.

    All 4 of these steps are 100% necessary when building your own successful start-up company. Especially the handling of setbacks, since every business plan will have them, regardless of how sound your business model seems at the beginning.

    For the sake of my sanity, I hope these things help the characters start their store and end the show as soon as possible.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I’m generally angry at myself that I’m still watching this show. But even with its shortcomings, I still find it mindlessly entertaining. And you’re right, the writers have absolutely no idea what a hipster is.

      I do appreciate like that even for being a total ditz about some things, Caroline still has the smarts to keep them going.

      As for that store…they want $250,000. They’re sitting at just under $900.

      It may take some time. :/

  2. Jaimie Smith

    This was some good advice, Mandy! It def is true that you have to spend money to make money. You just have to make sure you spend it on the appropriate things. Like how they needed their oven for example. That is obviously necessary. But if they went out spending their money on things they do not particulary need right now then that is when their Setbacks will come in play.
    I really enjoyed this post, Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I’m glad that you liked it, Jaimie!

      Max and Caroline have sometimes broken down and bought unnecessary things – but I assure you that it always comes back to haunt them. They do the right thing in the end. 🙂

  3. Joseph Giorgi

    I’d imagine that “keeping your eyes on the prize” is probably one of the toughest parts of running a start-up. Taking the initiative to do it is one thing, but being able to follow through on the effort is something else entirely. Things won’t always go according to plan, but being able to weather an unforeseen storm is key in growing a business.

    Your tips are spot-on, Mandy. Great post!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Joe!

      You definitely have to have a ton of motivation and persistence to start a business, and then even more to keep it going. I don’t know if I’d have the chops for it. I think I’m better off jumping on the bandwagon once they’ve gained a little traction. 😉

  4. Amy Swanson

    You found some great tips from this show, Mandy! I especially liked the one concerning the fact that your first customers may not be your “ideal” customers. They probably won’t buy as much you’d like or they’ll offer their opinion and advice at every turn. However, they could turn out to be your most loyal customers and will tell their family and friends about your business. You can’t expect success overnight, sometimes you just have to be patient and wait.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Precisely! You have absolutely no idea where your next lead or client is coming from, so you definitely don’t want to burn any bridges. And since most starting business is gained through word-of-mouth from other customers, you really want to hang on to them!

  5. Rachel

    Great post, Mandy! I think sometimes the most difficult suggestion to follow here is to “spend money to make money,” because that can be quite a big risk if it doesn’t pan out well. Makes sense that the girls bought a good oven for their baking business, though; that’s a practical choice and worth the money, I’d say. But not all buying decisions are going to be that easy. The nonprofit I volunteer for, for instance, recently had to decide if buying a laptop and some expensive design software was worth it. In the end, I think it was the right decision, but it was definitely a tough one, since we’re very tight on money and can’t really measure the usefulness of the computer in profits coming in. Just one of many hard decisions a startup business has to make. 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      You make an excellent point. It’s hard to make choices on investments – especially if you can’t immediately measure the right return. I definitely glossed over the struggles of making said decisions; it’s up to each and every company to valuate what they need, and you’re right, it won’t be easy.

      That being said, I hope that your non-profit’s new laptop and design software make your product extra-pretty. 🙂

  6. Jill Tooley

    I’ve never seen this show, but I love the tips you’ve taken away from it! Your last point mentioned that Max is frequently discouraged by financial setbacks — this is one of the biggest deterrents for wannabe entrepreneurs. In many cases, new businesses fail even after that initial financial hump, which is even scarier. You’ve gotta be one motivated mofo to stick with your business to the very end!

    I hope the writers of this show don’t throw a predictable plot point in there, like winning the lottery or getting a big inheritance. I’m curious to see if these two broke girls actually do make it in business, and to find out how they got there realistically! 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Yeah, that’s definitely scary. You need to have a strong entrepreneurial spirit to succeed. I don’t have one. Not even a little bit. So I have major respect for those that do!

      I’d also like to see the girls succeed with their business without a predictable plot point. If they really want to throw a lottery win in there, hopefully it’s only like $500. Though if they take Alex on as a writer, I have a feeling he’d throw all the easy money plot points in just to get that show over with. 😉

  7. david k waltz


    I have seen the show because it is on right before another one we watch (two and a half men maybe?). Nice way to get business tips!

    One thought is to get business tips from all the other shows that night as well, then do a massive blog on “What we can learn from the Monday Night Lineup”! Or guest post it on CBS!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Funny you should mention the other Monday night comedies on CBS. I’m in the process of writing a blog about personal branding. It’s going to be related to one of the characters from How I Met Your Mother and it’s going to be legendary. 🙂

  8. Jen

    I have seen half an episode of this show, when Max and Caroline were trying to get their cupcakes into the “hipster coffee shop” but they just weren’t decorated pretty enough. I didn’t finish watching though, the forced “raunchy” jokes were just stupid and unfunny, I couldn’t stand it anymore.

    The only good thing, in my opinion, to come out of this show are the great tips and advice for start up businesses. I think the best thing you mentioned to help your business is to “Jump on every single opportunity you can”. If you don’t put your products or services out there, you’re bound to fail. Great post Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      You’re not the only one that only lasted half an episode. Even though I still watch the show, there are many times when the raunchy jokes get tiring.

      That being said, I still like that they show (more or less) a depiction of trying to startup when you have nothing. Honestly, if they can do it, so can you.

  9. Jenna Markowski

    I love all of the tips you gathered, Mandy! I’m so glad that this blog finally came to fruition! I think “keeping your eyes on the prize” is one of the most important tips here, and one that the girls struggle with often (mainly Max). Caroline tries to help keep them on track with their “dream board,” which I think is an awesome idea.

    Maybe I have too immature of a sense of humor, but I love this show. I can understand why many people don’t, but after a long day of school and work I can totally get behind melting my brain with a few “predictable” characters and some sex and/or poop jokes. Plus, I’m not even going to front, Kat Dennings is a total babe.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      You gotta give it to Caroline – even though Max resists her at every turn, she continues to keep them motivated. That’s the kind of person you need to have on your team if you ever start your own business!

      As I said to Alex, I definitely find the show mindlessly entertaining. If I want a super-amazing, deep-thinking, incredible sitcom, I look to Community.

  10. Candice J.

    I think i’d have to agree with everyone on the idea that “keeping your eye on the prize” is the most important tip. It is so easy to get distracted no matter if you’re young or old. In this day and age when everything is so accessible for a price, it’s hard to limit yourself to what’s a necessity and what is a want for the greater good of your goal. I think as a person and as a company once you can master that part, the rest won’t seem as hard. Great job Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      That’s a great point, Candice! It is incredibly hard to sort out what is a need and what is a want sometimes. But staying focused and creating visual reminders will (hopefully!) lead you on the way to success!

  11. Mary

    I had a wonderful time being in the audience for the Oct 8th taping. I brought my cousin and my sister, both from North Carolina and they loved it. It was my 2nd time to attend a taping. Keep up the good work. Actors and writers are great.

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