Is Donald Trump a good leader? Only time will tell. But one thing's for sure: he's not afraid to push his weight around to move things in his direction. There's good reason for that.
Just take a look at this fantastic graphic put together by economist Mark Perry and his team at the American Enterprise Institute. It shows the 2017 Gross Domestic Product of every state and the closest comparable country.
For example, Canada's entire GDP is equal to Texas. California has a bigger GDP than the U.K., France and India. My home state of Pennsylvania has a larger economy than all of Saudi Arabia, even with their oil money. The state of New York has a bigger economy than that of South Korea, Australia and Russia. Norway is only the size of Maryland. The list goes on.
The takeaway is that, to put it in our President's words, America is huuuge! We are a massive economy, the largest in the world. We make up almost a quarter of the entire world's output alone and yet we only have 4.3 percent of the world's population. Unlike China, our closest competitor, we are a democracy with laws, a free press, a strong currency and open markets. People want to come here. Entrepreneurs want to open up businesses here. Businesses want to do business here. Wow, I’m starting to get a tear in my eye!
I say this not because America is so great (although we are) or that Trump is so great (that's another conversation altogether) but to illustrate why our country's elected leader is why he is. He looks at other countries like North Korea, Iran and yes, even Russia as much, much, much smaller rivals and has taken aggressive positions on nuclear disarmament, the environment and trade agreements with them and many others. He is frustrated that his clients - American businesses (and their employees) - are being treated as second rate parties in deals, particularly when the U.S. is - by far - the dominant trading and military power in the world. And so he huffs and puffs and tweets and shouts that things are going to change and he's going to "make America great again."
You may disagree with his tactics and behavior and his hair and you would have good reason to. But Trump is the captain of the world's most powerful military and largest economy. This fact drives him in his negotiations.
And so should it you.
A number of years ago, when my business was much smaller, I found myself making decisions for the wrong reasons. I would undertake jobs despite my concerns that we were unqualified. I would underprice work just to get the work. I would sometimes cut corners. I would work with customers that I didn't like or trust. Why? I had no money. Therefore, I had no power.
Thankfully, I didn't have to do too much of those things. And over time my business - as well as my bank balance - grew. I added more people. I acquired more experience and knowledge. And you know what? In my own little world, I started making decisions like - good Lord - Trump! Why? I was in a position to better confront my competition. I could demand better terms, pricing and behavior from my clients all because I had money in the bank and was willing to walk away from a job. Just like the President is willing to walk away from prior deals - military and trade - that he doesn't feel are in the best interests of the country.
Sure, Trump sometimes behaves like an ass. But he behaves this way because he has a pile of cash. He is sitting on the world's largest economy. Having size and wealth changes the way you negotiate. It gives you confidence and it helps you make better decisions. You can walk away from deals you don't like. You can make better deals. You can exert more power and influence. Being big has its perks.
So if you're startup or a growing business take a look at Perry's chart once in a while. I’m not saying you should behave like an ass. But wouldn't you deal with New Zealand a little different knowing that it's entire economy is the size of Kentucky? Doesn't that give you a position of strength? Save your money, don't extend yourself, limit your risks, invest conservatively, have patience and build your wealth. Doing that will one day give you - like me - the ability to make better decisions because you will be in a stronger position to do so.