Trump and Kiyosaki on Building Business Wealth

Donald Trump's View: Think Expansively

Robert's explanation of "Think Big, Think Expansion" is great and totally on point. But let's take it one step further. Let's not just think big, let's think expansively. To entrepreneurs, thinking expansively includes seeing what is possible and making it happen. Entrepreneurs see the vision and call it good sense and inevitable. The rest of the world calls it innovation.

Recently, I read with interest about an innovation that was attributed to me. I was surprised because I had never thought of it as an innovation; I considered it just a way to combine two elements that might work well together. Years ago, when I was doing the first Trump International Hotel & Tower at 1 Central Park West in New York City, I decided it might be a good idea to build a condominium and a hotel together. It turned out to be an amazing success and has been duplicated by me and many others since.

So many times, innovation really results from common sense put together with uncommon thinking. It's creative, but it's about innovative assembly more than anything else.

Thinking expansively is just another way to innovate. Sometimes I ask myself, "What else can I include in my thought process to make it more comprehensive? Is there anything I can add that might enhance the project or idea I've got spinning around in my head?" Many times, I will tell myself that something isn't quite right yet, because that automatically opens the door for more ideas to enter. I ask myself, "What am I not seeing? What else is possible?" Sometimes the answers wind up being innovative ideas. It's not necessarily some secret process, but it is a process, and it requires concentration.

Robert, Kim and Sharon recently visited me at my golf course in California. I shared this story with them: My club has a beautiful ballroom overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the number-one golf course in California, but the room held less than 300 people. We were unable to accommodate many events (such as weddings) because our capacity was too small, so my management team's answer was to enlarge the building. They came to me with plans to remodel and expand the ballroom, which would cost millions of dollars and lots of time. We would have had to go through the permitting process and close for many months during construction, thus losing millions of dollars in business revenue--on top of spending millions of dollars to remodel!

As we were standing together looking around the ballroom, I noticed a woman having trouble getting out of her chair. The chair was very large, and she had difficulty moving it away from the table so she could stand up. In fact, the room was filled with these huge chairs. I had an immediate vision: We needed new chairs--smaller chairs!

This one idea not only saved me millions of dollars, it even made me money. We earned more money selling the old chairs than it cost us to buy the new gold Chiavari chairs. We are now able to comfortably seat more than 440 people in the ballroom and have increased the number of large events we host as well as the revenue we receive. No expansion of the building was necessary, and we had no downtime. So, I turned a project that could have cost me millions into a profit!

That's the first step to visionary status--seeing something and knowing it could be different or better.

As I've said before, learn your lessons from as many sources as you can. Think and learn expansively. It won't be expensive, but it can give you some big returns.

For an exclusive interview with these influential business leaders, turn to "Dream Team."

Adapted from Why We Want You to Be Rich by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki

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This article was originally published in the November 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Think Big.

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