Donald Trump is one of the most recognized names in the United States. Although, Trump is best known for his achievements in real estate, and appearances on NBC’s reality TV show – The Apprentice – the Trump name is slapped on virtually everything. From golf courses, resorts and hotels to merchandising, it’s not uncommon to see the name emblazoned on alcohol, chocolate, ties and even mattresses. While the dollar figures for the privately held organizations dealing in merchandise aren’t made public, it’s no secret that Trump is doing a little more than just ok for himself.
With his TV show paying out an estimated $3 million per episode, and his multi-million dollar Manhattan buildings constantly popping all over the New York skyline, it’s only natural to wonder what the man is actually worth. Although, Trump obviously does not disclose this figure publically, it’s speculated that he is worth in the neighbourhood of $4 billion. On a side note, 2011 estimates placed his net worth somewhere between $2.9 to $7 billion, which he was not very happy about. In fact, Trump is noted for publicly criticizing low estimates of his bank accounts. That being said, it hardly matters. Point is – Trump is worth somewhere in the billions, and his wealth just keeps on piling up.
While Trump’s come up is quite impressive, the real estate mogul didn’t start from nothing – quite the opposite actually. Donald’s father, Fred Trump, was a premier housing developer who built thousands upon thousands of multifamily dwellings in postwar New York. At the time of his death, Fred was worth an estimated $400 million. Prior to his passing, Donald’s father also used some of his hard earned money to finance his son’s first real estate deal. He bid on a rundown housing development in Cincinnati, and hired his son to turn it into something habitable. After their success the Trump’s enjoyed a million dollar profit and Donald was hooked.
Bringing up his silver spoon was not an effort to discredit or reduce the magnitude of Trump’s accomplishments. While, yes, he did have access to opportunities that others could only dream of, Donald Trump gave it his all to capitalize on them and create something iconic. “I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big,” he famously said in one of his countless interviews.
Trump’s initial success motivated him, awaking his inner businessman. Using his share of the Cincinnati profits, Trump began growing his empire. Ever since buying his first property – Trump – became a household name in real estate. What’s even more impressive is the fact that Donald Trump remains an influential developer today, even though it’s estimated that he only owns about 1.5 million square feet of property in New York City. To give this figure some context, consider that the Durst Organization owns 13 million square feet in Manhattan alone. While this developer holds more than 8 times the property when compared to Trump, chances are (unless you’re involved in real estate) you haven’t even heard of Durst. Why is that? Well, the answer is simple – Trump has something most other developers do not – fame.
Fellow New York real estate mogul, Richard LeFrak, puts it nicely: “Consumers know his name. That’s what sets him apart.” Trump takes every opportunity he has in order to stand out, and makes a lot of money doing so.
Having to carry the burden of being a billionaire, Trump does his very best to live his life like a current day monarch. He, along with his former model wife – Melania, lives at the very top of the Trump Organization’s office building. The gold and marble-clad Louis XIV-style residence is spread over three floors, where the real estate titan has plenty of room to spend time with his 7-year-old son.
Now, that we’ve established Donald Trump to be a complicated man (with an ego arguably larger than his net worth) let’s take a look at what the real estate tycoon preaches regarding business strategy. The business magnate has a lot to say when it comes to advice, but for brevity’s sake we will look only at some of his best tips.
This should come as no surprise, but Trump, like many other successful businessmen is a strong believer in being passionate about what you do. This doesn’t only apply to the world of business, but can also be relevant in any other field or career. Trump attributes much of his success to his passion for real estate, and argues that no matter what you are doing, the best way to stand out is to be fully invested in your job. To quote the magnate himself, “be passionate about your work – never let it become just a job.” While this is a great piece of advice, we often forget about it, and make excuses and offer justifications as to why the current job you hate is good for you. If you’re unhappy with the work that you do, your potential for greatness is greatly undermined.
Next, Trump encourages young entrepreneurs to always remember where they’ve come from. Roots are important, and when you start making money (and lots of it) it can become harder and harder to hold on to your values. These values are directly correlated to the brand that you’re building, so make sure to stick to what you believe in, and work on providing the best possible product.
To quote the man – “You have to understand that a brand requires integrity on every level. Set the bar high from day one and never let it slide. If starting out today, I would have the same vision I’ve always had – to create a gold standard brand. Every endeavor reflects that attitude.“ This quote should help understand how Trump has built one of the most recognizable personal brands in the business world.
While in some cases it can be easier to make the decision based on profit entirely, that may not always be the most ideal approach to improving your brand. In fact, Trump strongly suggests that you don’t follow the money, but let the money follow you instead.