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10 Donald Trump Lessons to Startups

Even before entering the political life and dominating all the current news cycles in the USA, Donald Trump embodied the business success and all the luxuries of a high-class entrepreneurship. Though on the other hand he causes lots of frustration and disapproval due to extremely controversial speeches, many people still perceive him as an embodiment of the “American dream”. Having built his family business into multi-billion dollar empire, Trump’s sharp business grasp is acknowledged by many in the business establishment.

There’s a lot to be learned from Donald Trump in terms of startup strategy. He developed his “empire” because he knew every piece and process and its cost. If startups and businesses can not say the same for their software and products, they will not succeed. Making competitors biggest strength their weakness is another example of Trumps’ tactics that can be applied to business environment. In his example, where political campaigns are about fundraising and competitors have to bring donations and contributions, in the 2016 presidential race and election process he made it meaningless. He spent less money than his rivals but still has been getting more attention and coverage.

“Your business and your brand must first let people know
what you care about, and that you care about them”

Programming is surely a difficult thing to learn, but if you want to start a tech company you definitely need to learn to code. And the reason is Donald Trump. His secret to success lied in a competitive edge passed on by his father – he knew what everything costs. Architecture, plumbing, electrical work, heating, permits, labor – he knows the rates for all of it. Now keep this in mind when thinking of the urge to program as a non-technical founder. In current environment the most precious resource is time, market for developer talent is hot as never and developers are the most valuable commodity in a startup business.

By learning to program you learn how much time everything is or should be taking. And it is easier nowadays than ever before, the difficulty curve from understanding programming basics to producing the first web page is steeper than you might be expecting. After that it would be you and not your technical officer or engineer who has a full grasp of the situation with the startup and all the business processes of the company. You will know software rates and in the startup business those who know it are actually winners.

But leave aside the above mentioned aspect, and see what is there more to learn from  Trump phenomenon. And there is effectively more except “You’re fired!” paradigm. With his highly-rated acquisitions of 40 Wall Street and Bank of Manhattan building, what would he recommend others to invest in? According to media sources, Donald Trump still believes the best choice for investing to be equities and corporate bonds. But he is also suggesting demanding good interest rates and long-term financing, while also not only looking into real-estate.

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10 Donald Trump Lessons to Startups

1. Publicity is a Must – it is much cheaper than advertising, and “bad press is better than no press” is still a rule in the business world. Donald Trump is known for occupying the news and the media, even with controversial points of view, inserting himself in trending issues. So by mastering the publicity for your business in a similar way you can gain massive exposure.

2. Building a strong brand – always staying true to his brand Trump knows what he stands for, having built a huge and widely known brand throughout media, press, newspapers, internet and television.

3. Think big – no consideration for small or mediocre deals and ideas, sticking to “if you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big” rule. Convincing investors or business partners to support your project demands a lot of effort for sure, but at the core of it should be a daring idea.

4. No need for desperation – it is a total turn-off for potential business deals. Pitching sales ideas while appearing desperate and pessimistic works against you immediately. Focusing on the value your startup offers and not being needy will work just fine.

5. No quitting – various businesses affiliated with Donald Trump have bankrupted several times in the past, and yet he’s a billionaire. What if he had quit every time when bankrupt allowing his immediate failure? You’ve guessed the answer.

6. Protect your assets – in connection to the previous statement it should be indicated Trump has never claimed personal failure. He created limited partnerships and limited liability companies, where his personal liability was partial, allowing him operate freely and boldly without risking losing his own gain. This is quite beneficial for startups readying themselves for grown.

7. Trust your vision – with many ideas and opportunities coming and going, often you have no other way then just relying on your instinct or intuition. Experience taught Trump to listen to your gut, no matter how good things sound on paper, and to stick with what you know.

8. Choose partners carefully – startups on their early stages can not afford HR omissions, you need people with drive and skill. But more importantly, the people you can trust. Trump once explained why he promotes  people he already knows, saying “those close to me are family and I would rather take ones at a lower level and move them up than hire people that you have no idea about”.

9. Learn to code –  yes, every modern entrepreneur should learn to code, even non-technical founders who are surrounded by software. You need to know how much everything you do is going to cost. Without coding knowledge you can not evaluate the options for your business, right? Trump is always making sure to know every expense involved. In every startup today coding is going to be essential in functioning on the back end.

10. Tell it like it is – you can’t be lying to yourself, even when trying to be business polite and tolerant to others. Clarity and openness lets your partners and customers know where you stand, and that is a valuable asset for early stage startups. Not offending  anyone is one thing, but wasting valuable time in meetings and negotiations with unclear generalized message might be hurtful. Respect the peoples’ time and focus on conveying a direct message.

Trump Effect for Business

Everybody knows who he is. News report about him, experts and analysts talk about him, his name comes up in conversations and online media. Trump has differentiated himself from the competition, centering his strategy on being unlike the rest of candidates in a political race. Trump has actively sought and used opportunities for publicity, and even with many controversial comments he gained the largest media coverage. Trump has created and increased his reputation, conducting well defined communications strategy and selling his product aggressively. Now substitute word “Trump” in three sentences before this by “business” and you have a good chance of constructing the formula for prosperity.

For startups, like for Donald Trump, sales and marketing are 24/7. Trump’s eccentric image helps to sell and he plays it up, because people are always watching. He represents all of the sordid achievements of the 20th century, yet people are fascinated by him. He is one of the richest men, yet he appeals to the average folks. He is willing to make fun of his failures and appearance, and somehow it makes him even more likable.