Updated July 12, 2019 –
Yes, for business profits, it’s true that many of Donald Trump’s approaches are worth copying. Several of them would enable you to make more profit.
However, as you no doubt surmise, there are caveats. Some of his behavior isn’t to be emulated in business.
But he deserves a lot of credit for his economic and foreign-policy successes, and he doesn’t let competition and turmoil rattle him — he doesn’t panic and stays focused on his goals (see examples in Election Trends: Divided Political Parties Usually Lose.
GOP Presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump – November 12, 2015
Lessons from his personal life
Let’s consider Mr. Trump’s personal life. It’s a study in contrasts.
True, he has been married multiple times. However, his ex-wives support him in his endeavors.
Three times may be a charm for Mr. Trump. He’s now married to a beautiful woman who speaks five languages, and has championed her “Be Best”campaign to promote children’s well-being, cyberbullying and opioid abuse.
By any measure he’s a very successful father. His kids love him and are successful in their own lives.
He’s known for being generous with money and for being cordial with everyone he meets. Personally, I know two women who praise him for being approachable and was generous with them many years ago.
In one case, when the young son of a friend wanted to meet Mr. Trump during an important event in Los Angeles, the billionaire dropped everything to meet with the boy for an hour. He shut down a TV production for an hour to mentor the boy, which cost him $70,000.
In another situation, an actress friend once spotted him playing playing golf in Carmel. In a lighthearted manner, she interrupted him and told him she needed luck in her career, and asked: “Can I rub you like I would a genie for good luck?” He laughed and said “yes.” She got her good luck.
Lessons from his business interests
Consider his aggressive business strategies, which differ somewhat from his campaign tactics.
At his father’s knee, he learned the risks of being an apartment landlord – a very litigious arena. He went against his father’s wishes when he borrowed $1 million from him and became a commercial developer.
In being overly aggressive, he over-extended his finances. But he learned from failures.
Mr. Trump learned other lessons when four of his businesses went bankrupt. He polished his negotiating skills in landing on his feet. As a Wharton graduate, he implemented proven step-by-step solutions for a financial turnaround.
He makes a valid point in his book, The Art of the Deal – don’t be afraid of walking away from the table when the negotiation isn’t working.
After low points in his career, Mr. Trump realized he needed to accelerate his shameless self promotion for effective branding. the moral? If your business slows down, you must rebrand your business.
He wrote books, leveraged the news media and in reality TV programs, and he mastered the art of being unpredictable to generate publicity.
These strategies enabled him to license his name for easy profit.
He invested in quality but never wasted money by cutting corners or taking shortcuts.
As a real estate developer, for favorable zoning and other matters, he’s courted politicians – Democrats and Republicans, alike, by making donations.
Lessons from his politics
After weighing political runs for president and governor of New York, he launched a formal presidential campaign in June, 2015.
Mr. Trump quickly demonstrated he understood the mood of his core target – voters who are angry.
He laid out positions favored by his target audience – from illegal immigration to trade and jobs.
He has been clearly comfortable with many Americans not voting for him. Mr. Trump knows how to develop a loyal following and that his opponents aren’t worth worrying about.
He used his personal principle of being unpredictable in order to outline his policies disliked by so-called progressive voters.
He was successful in adroitly branding himself. (It was very obvious to me nine months before the election: Despite Cruz’s Despicable Tactics – Why Trump Will Win.)
Another branding tactic – he branded his opponents, such as calling Sen. Ted Cruz a “liar” for his frequent campaign dirty politics, and labeling former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as “low energy.”
When former Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, criticized Mr. Trump for not disclosing his tax returns, The Donald returned fire:
“Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!”
His hilarious sarcasm was illustrative of why his supporters love him – they want a fighter.
You might recall in 2012 when Mr. Romney was beating incumbent President Obama by 5 percent in the polls five months before the November election.
All summer long, Mr. Romney was bombarded with attacks from Democrats but he never once responded.
In effect, Mr. Romney allowed his adversaries to brand him as a dangerous capitalist. Nor did Mr. Romney aggressively debate Mr. Obama.
Mr. Trump may be authoritarian or narcissistic but in showing his pride for his business success, he dodges a bullet that had previously devastated Mr. Romney. To his supporters, no one successfully brands Mr. Trump as a monster capitalist.
Even evangelicals – from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. to Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress in Dallas – have been vocal in their support of Mr. Trump.
They want a strong, patriotic businessperson in the White House – as does a Christian church elder I know. His comment to me in supporting the Trump candidacy: “Let’s pray for him.”
Mr. Trump’s unfavorable poll ratings stem from his political positions and for his crass personal attacks on people like Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. (But most polls were inaccurate in the campaign. Only the Rasmussen and USC polls predicted he’d be elected.)
Candidly, sarcasm might work in politics. But such crass attacks should be discouraged in business. There’s a better sales strategy when tempted to bad mouth competitors.
However, as Dr. Ben Carson once told me, politics is a “cesspool” (Q&A with Dr. Ben Carson – The Full Meal Deal with Solutions).
Mr. Trump’s branding (“Make America Great Again”), his overwhelming news-media dominance, and his political positions propelled him to front-runner status.
Moreover, his success was achieved by running the lowest-cost campaign of any candidate.
He’s demonstrated frugality in spending. It’s made possible in-part because he knows the value of leveraging the media for PR.
Mr. Trump was slow to adopt reading from teleprompters. He speaks extemporaneously in a style that appeals to many Americans. He repeats his points in speeches.
People remember what he says. He always says thank you; usually twice.
So know your strengths, weaknesses, and your target audience. Be frugal but don’t be afraid to invest wisely. Create and implement salient branding.
Don’t allow your competitors to brand you, and remember bad mouthing competition is not a viable option.
Finally, be bold.
Do these things; you’ll be profitable.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are links to related articles for increasing profits:
Money – Your Net Worth Matters More than What You Earn — When it comes to finance, most business owners and other individuals strive to increase their wealth to have more opportunities. The trouble with some, however, is that they focus on income and not their net worth. That means, of course, spending less than they earn.
Companies Profit Most by Investing in Customer Engagement — Better business performance results when CEOs show leadership in providing the best-possible customer experience. That’s confirmed in a global study.
Increase Profits by Hiring Talent with the Best Trait — Enthusiasm — You’ll increase your odds for profits with high-performing employees with the right culture — if you hire for the right personality trait – enthusiastic people. That’s right. Look for people who have the makeup to being committed and who will care for the welfare of your company. You’ll increase your chances for the strongest results.
Quick Checklist for Profits You Can Implement Today — Here is a top-10 checklist for profits.
“Fortune favors the bold.”