Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


'Trump' Your Competitors: 4 Business Lessons Learned From "The Apprentice"

The harder you work the, "luckier" you get. That's an interesting statement. If you think about it, the harder you work, the more chances you have to be successful, so, in turn, you feel "lucky." On "The Apprentice," Donald Trump has a lot to say. His business advice is generally sound, honest and can help anyone succeed if they are willing to follow it. Actually, not just follow it but take the bull by the horns and charge forward.

Trump is a multi-billionaire because he is knowledgeable and bold. He's an educator and - above all - he's a great showman. Whether you love him or hate him, he knows what he's doing and he is a champion, when it comes to business (I wouldn't ask for his advice on hair styles, but business is another matter). Here are a few business tips to help you triumph in your own world and "trump" your competitors.

Be Coachable

Separate yourself from the "pack" to stand out and get ahead, suggests Trump in an NBC interview. The humility in accepting the fact there might be a better way to do a certain task, defines you as a person. It shows you want to improve and know that no one (even yourself) is perfect. By allowing leaders to coach you in business, you actively take responsibility for improving your life and increasing your knowledge. Some people consider being humble to be a key attributes of a successful human being.

Admitting faults can be hard; however, the grace you show in turning constructive criticism into opportunity keeps you humble. Being coachable can take practice and discipline. Getting rid of a negative, sour, defensive attitude can completely change your direction.

Money Isn't the Primary Goal

Don't get me wrong - money sure is nice when you get it. However, the key to making money is not letting it be the reason for your actions. Ask yourself, what happens when you attain the amount you are going for? You may hit a ceiling and could begin to make bad decisions and slack on your business practices. Stick to the rules of saving by separately budgeting your business and personal finances.  Don't be afraid to get creative with financing, either.  If you're a small business owner, you can solidify your credit with an American Express cash flow card, for example.

While Trump is known to say money is a scorecard you can use to gauge how well you and your company are doing, it should not be your driving force. Keep in mind you are always wanting to move toward something.

A good driving force? Strive to become a better version of yourself.  Personally, learning new things, helping others and solving interesting problems is a big motivator for me - I've just managed to find ways to make money by doign that.

Communication is the Relationship

Communicate effectively. Learn to express yourself in a positive manner and avoid attacking people or "going negative." Go into challenges asking questions and don't assume it is someone's fault; there could be sound explanations for happenings. Also, while you are in it to win it, it often takes teamwork to prevail. In teamwork, communication can make or break you. "The Apprentice" is all about working together. Strive to be the respected leader of the pack.

Transparency and genuine communication is also important - that is how you build trust with others.  That isn't to say diplomacy isn't necessary, but open communications go a long way toward building stronger relationships with others.

Create a Personal Brand

Because business is an "every man for himself/every woman for herself" enterprise (according to Trump), it's important to know your audience and for them to know you. A big part of confidence and success relies on your personal brand. How do you want others to perceive you? While first impressions are essential in building positive relationships, you must continue to impress and stimulate your audience's perception of you.

A good guideline I've heard is to "continually do the things you want to be known for."  This is a key when creating your personal brand, which means focus is important.  Decide the top 5 (or so) things you want to be known for and figure out the things you need to do to demonstrate and be known for them - make it a habit and your personal brand will develop.