November 5, 2017
“I like thinking BIG. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think BIG.” – Donald J. Trump, American businessman and President of the United States.
Eighteen months ago we asked the question: Would President Trump be good for my business? Whether the answer was a resounding YES or reverberating NO, there was another, more important question at the root of the subject that perhaps should be asked: “What have I learned from Donald Trump that will help my business?”
Before commenting one way or another, let me point out that this topic is not political in nature and is neither an endorsement for nor a denunciation against Donald Trump as the President of the United States.
The question that is posed in the headline is simply one that business owners should be asking themselves. And to find the answer, try to remove the emotional element of whether you support to detest the man.
Love him or hate him, the Donald was a successful and as some would even argue, brilliant entrepreneur. In the mid-1970s Trump took a $1 million dollar loan from his father and turned it into a net worth today of $4.5 billion. He did this by thinking outside the box and finding opportunities in situations that others believed were too risky.
But with all his successes, Trump’s gambles have not been without casualties. Between 1991 and 2009 four of his companies went through bankruptcy. They were: The Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts (2004) and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009). However, all of them were Chapter 11 reorganizations, which are designed to restructure businesses without shutting them down. Unlike other forms of bankruptcy which liquidate assets, Chapter 11 essentially “saves” a company from going out of business.
In 2011, Trump told Forbes magazine “I’ve used the laws of the country to my advantage.” And in August 2015 as he began to embark on his candidacy, he reiterated that fact during the Fox News sponsored Republican presidential debate: “I have used the laws of this country — just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, for myself, for my employees, for my family, et cetera.”
Now, taking a step back, if we were paying attention, Trump actually taught us something. And if we know and understand how various systems work, we can actually use them to our benefit, just like he did.
So with this in mind, perhaps you too should think BIG and start taking advantage of what’s already in place.
Here are three U.S. government resources that are designed to help small businesses. Which one of these programs can potentially benefit you?
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
You’ve heard of the SBA. But, have you looked into whether or not they can help you? Federal, state and local governments offer a wide range of financing programs to help small businesses start and grow their operations. These programs include low-interest loans, venture capital, and scientific and economic development grants. You can use the “Loans and Grants Search Tool” on their Web site at www.sba.gov to get a complete list of financing programs for which you may qualify.
General Services Administration (GSA)
The GSA (www.gsa.gov) offers various assistance programs designed to help small businesses get federal contracts. Its brochure “Doing Business with GSA” can help get you started. The GSA also hosts outreach events across the country, helping small business owners learn about federal contracting opportunities. It also runs the Office of Small Business Utilization (SBU), which provides individual counseling for small business owners who need help understanding the federal procurement process. It also conducts workshops with business owners to teach them how to work with the GSA.
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
If you are an African American, Asian American, Hasidic Jew, Hispanic American, Native American, or Pacific Islander business owner, the MBDA (www.mbda.gov) may be your best bet in taking advantage of the system. The MBDA provides increased visibility and access for minority-owned firms by partnering with multi-national corporations and government agencies in the U.S. and overseas. They can provide customized business development solutions to help grow your business. During the past eight years, the MBDA has helped minority-owned companies access $19.4 billion in contracts and capital which positively impacted nearly 60,000 jobs.
So, now that you have all this knowledge, are you ready to think BIG and start benefiting from the system?