Tuesday, July 7, 2009


This is the third article of the ‘Spotlight on a millionaire’ series aimed at showcasing the secrets to a millionaire’s success in different spheres around the world to prove my theory that anybody could be a successful entrepreneur with the right attributes and mindset.

This piece concentrates on one quality of Donald Trump the flamboyant billionaire business mogul – resilience or what I will call ‘bouncebackability’.

Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946 and is the son of wealthy real estate developer Fred Trump. From an early age, young Donald followed his dad’s footsteps by making a name for himself in real estate. His first big gig was renovating the Commodore Hotel in Grand Hyatt, quickly followed by the Trump Tower in Fifth Avenue, New York City in 1982. He diversified into other industries like the entertainment industry owing casinos and the airline industry purchasing the Eastern shuttle routes.

He was as popular for his extravagant lifestyle as he was for his business successes. Flamboyant and outspoken, he had an eye for the ladies and enjoyed the celebrity lifestyle.

Trump’s fortune took a turn for the worse at the start of the 1990s, struggling under a mountain of debt and on the verge of bankruptcy with debts in excess of $900m. His love life also became a media circus with the public divorce with his wife Czech Ivana Zelnicek in 1992, after 15 years of marriage. He then married and divorced Marla Maples between 1993 – 1999.

The stress of both his business and personal lives may have been too much for most people but not for ‘The Donald’ as he is affectionately called by the media, a nickname coined after his ex-wife Ivana, referred to him as such in an interview. He did whatever it took to recover, brokering deals to protect his interests, restructuring his debt and even working for free. Failure was not an option to him. He regarded his losses not as threats to his livelihood but as challenges to be overcome and opportunities to grow more successfully.

By 2000, his recovery was astonishing and complete and worth over a billion dollars. In 2001, the 72 storey building, Trump’s World Tower was completed close to UN headquarters. Trump’s recovery was so remarkable that he was named the 278th richest man in the world by Forbes magazine. His businesses continue to grow from strength to strength.

The father of four is now married to the Slovenian model Melania Knauss. He is back in the media spotlight for the right reasons and is famous for his catchphrase “You’re fired” in the hit TV reality show, The Apprentice.

The keen golfer’s resurgence has not been coincidental. He has a knack of looking for solutions, rather than worrying about problems. This is a very important quality consistently demonstrated by successful entrepreneurs. His turnaround has been remarkable but also well planned and the success has been due to hard work, flair and his charisma. Trump would undoubtedly hate to return to the position he was in 1990, especially if it happened beyond his control. However, as a great entrepreneur, he would have learnt from his mistakes. Even in the unlikely event that the worst does happen, he has the attributes to bounce back once again.

Trump has seen both success and failure as an entrepreneur and he is one of the best of all time. It is important, therefore for entrepreneurs to realise that they should not rest on their laurels. More importantly, they must develop a mindset which ensures they never give up even when the going gets tough.

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