Lessons from the Trump campaign you can use in your business today


Whether you voted for him or were adamantly opposed to him, you probably agree that Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency – starting in the early days of the primaries – was unorthodox and its success unexpected.

The level of shock and surprise among the political “experts” peaked on election night when he notched an overwhelming electoral-vote victory. Only now are we beginning to understand how he seemingly pulled this political rabbit from his hat, and the man behind the magic turns out to be his son-in-law, Jared Kushner (Ivanka’s husband).

jared_kushner_forbes_coverKushner, much like his father-in-law, is a successful real estate developer and entrepreneur. But, unlike President-elect Trump, he maintains a very low public profile and grants almost no interviews. However, he talked to Forbes recently and as I read the article, I realized that the way he ran Trump’s campaign is a model for entrepreneurs and small business owners who are serious about achieving success.

Kushner understands the attitude, aptitude, and optimizations required in a competitive environment where money and speed must be maximized. He brings it all together in one statement:

“We weren’t afraid to make changes. We weren’t afraid to fail. We tried to do things very cheaply, very quickly. And if it wasn’t working, we would kill it quickly. It meant making quick decisions, fixing things that were broken, and scaling things that worked.”

There it is. Do these things and you improve your chance at success 10 fold. Let’ list them:

  • Don’t be afraid of change.
  • Don’t fear failure.
  • Conduct a wide variety of inexpensive experiments.
  • Leave your failures behind, quickly.
  • Scale up your successes, quickly.
  • Find and fix things that break.

There are a certain boldness and unsentimentality to this. I think it’s part of human nature to want to hold onto our pet ideas and that attitude will cause entrepreneurs and small business owners to stick with an unsuccessful strategy too long. If you want shocking success, ala the Trump campaign, you need to immediately move on when something isn’t working.

Further, you need to scale up what works – even when it’s not your idea originally.

We know these ideas work in business and now we know that they work in political campaigns. The big question in front of the nation today is whether or not they will work in the federal government.

We’ll just have to wait and see.