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15 Business Lessons from the Wolf of Wall Street 

23 January 2021

The Wolf of Wall Street Is Not Just an Entertainer but the Movie Can Teach Us Some Real Life Business Lessons.

It was obscene in the real world… but who the f*ck wanted to live there? Powerful thoughts from Jordan Belfort, the broker from Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. And speaking of f*ck, this movie set a world record for the most instances of saying f*ck in a motion picture, as it was used 569 times in total! But that’s certainly not one of today’s business tips.

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As always, when there’s an educational article, we suggest watching the video version Aluxers. It helps retain the learning better.

With that in place, let’s jump right into action.

1

When the SH*T Hits the Fan, There’s Always a Way Out

Jordan Belfort began his career at a top stock broking firm, L.F. Rothschild, where sex and drugs were par for the course for young stockbrokers, and of course making a ton of money.

Black Monday hits and Belfort is jobless, but not hopeless. He grabs a job selling “worthless” penny stocks, but manages to sell aggressively with high commissions, and ends up making a small fortune.

He built his entire life from scratch again.

We certainly don’t need to follow his example for everything because that would be foolish… but we can take elements of what he did and use them to our advantage. So, business lesson learnt – don’t panic when things go wrong, learn from the experience and figure your way out of it. Often, you’ll come out stronger and wiser than before.

2

Know Exactly What You Want to Achieve

Setting goals is one thing, but Belfort believed that you really needed to figure out exactly where you want those goals to take you. This is one of the most useful business tips for startups specially.

Look into the future and then make definitive steps to get there. Let that future vision steer every decision you make.
Getting rich doesn’t happen by accident, even winning the lotto doesn’t happen by accident. You purposefully and with intent buy a ticket in the hope of winning.

Aluxers, know exactly where you want to be in your life and ensure you take the right steps to get there. Base your decisions on that future goal.

Like Jordan Belfort said, “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullsh*t story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”

We have a lot of content covering this exact topic, so make sure to subscribe to our channel to never miss a video!

Apart from fun videos, we have articles on the laws of success too. Check out 15 Rules of Success.

3

Keep Things Simple

Jordan Belfort developed an extraordinarily successful team out of mostly inexperienced and uneducated people, using a simplified style. He didn’t p*ssyfoot around with directions, they were clear and concise.

In any business, keeping things clear and simple, will ensure that the tasks are done quickly and correctly. When a question is asked, keep the answer as short and straightforward as possible.

If you’re going to waffle on and go into an in-depth discussion, you’re going to lose half the people in a meeting, or the person asking the question will begin wondering why they even bothered asking in the first place. Things that are overcomplicated always appear as if they’re unclear, like nobody is quite sure of what exactly needs to be done.
Don’t fall into that trap. Keep it simple.

4

Have Passion for What You Do

We all know that Belfort’s passion was money. And while that’s not always the favoured passion, it’s a passion none the less. It drove him to succeed, regardless of the implications of his actions.

So, forget unscrupulous practices, there is no space for that in your passion… but figure out what motivates you the most and channel your passion into your business.

Almost every business coach will point towards your passion when giving you business tips. Passion at work is integral for several reasons. It helps keep others motivated, we see clearly how Belfort managed to do that. It means less absenteeism, because staff are excited to get to work… again, Belfort was great at that, and it ensures employee loyalty.

Why is passion for your career even more important? According to a recent article in Forbes, “Work is an essential dimension in most people’s lives. It is where we spend most of our waking hours. If work loses its meaning, purpose, and excitement, then life itself is in danger of losing those elements as well.”

5

Act Like You Want People to Perceive You

In business, it’s important to look the part. No point wanting to be a successful businessperson and you’re wearing an old T-Shirt with curry stains and moth holes.
Jordan Belfort acted important, powerful and confident. He wore fancy suits and appeared successful and professional.

As Belfort said, “Act as if! Act as if you’re a wealthy man, rich already, and then you’ll surely become rich. Act as if you have unmatched confidence and then people will surely have confidence in you.”

To help you look your best, be sure to watch our video, 15 Ways to Put Together A Proper Wardrobe, where we’ve unpacked everything you need to succeed.

6

Know Your Target Market Well

They say a good salesperson could sell ice to an eskimo, but that would be a complete waste of time. The target market is clearly people in scorching temperatures in desperate need of cooling down. Talk about cold business tips…

So, Aluxers, the advice here is to know who you are targeting your business to. Belfort knew what stocks would attract his investors attention.

By knowing your audience well, you’re able to best provide for their exact needs. Just like motivational business growth expert Jay Baer put it, “The more you know about your customers, the more you can provide to them information that is increasingly useful, relevant, and persuasive.”

7

Close the Deal

Regardless of what it is you’re selling, be sure to close the deal. Belfort never hung up the phone until it was signed, sealed, delivered.

Of course, it runs deeper than just yelling into a phone, frantically convincing people to buy, buy, buy… you need to build a relationship with your customers and be confident, knowing that your product or service is enriching their lives. It’s your job to make the customer feel good about their purchase, and you can only do that when you’re transparent, honest and humble… We hear you, nothing like Belfort but true none the less!

8

Find Your Niche

It could be breeding ducks for eggs, installing playground equipment, or conerting old furniture into beautiful pieces, it doesn’t matter.

Belfort found his niche in penny stocks and he ran with it and was a huge success.

Of course, Aluxers, we’re not taking into account the illegal ways he made money or that he hid funds in a Swiss Bank account, because those are business tips we’re not ok with and definitely don’t endorse.

9

Give Your Team the Best Training and Support You Possibly Can

Something that Belfort was extremely good at, was offering his staff the best training and support that he could. We mentioned earlier that his staff weren’t the most educated or experienced, but he managed to turn them into rock stars.

In any business that you’re running, offer your staff great training. Invest in them and their futures, because like Richard Branson once said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

10

Look for Potential Before Looking at the CV

Jonah Hill played the part of Donnie Azoff, and in the movie, he meets Belfort in a diner. There he questions Belfort on his success and how he managed to afford the sports car parked outside. He so desperately wants to work for Belfort, and despite not having qualification, Belfort hires him.

Why?

Because he can see potential and for Belfort, that was far more important than an impressive CV.
It’s very similar to how Jack Ma hires people. He doesn’t hire the best people; he hires the right people. If you’d like to get some great business advice from Jack Ma, be sure to watch this video, 15 Business Lessons from Jack Ma.

11

Find the Problem and Offer a Solution

Sell me this pen.

Aluxers, you remember the scenes… there are 2 of them. Jordan Belfort is sitting having a meal with friends, and he’s demonstrating the power of the sale.

He takes a pen from his pocket and asks one guy to sell the pen. He declines, because he’s eating… so another takes the pen and says to Belfort, won’t you just sign your name real quick… but Jordan Belfort has no pen. He confirms, supply and demand.

The scene is done differently when Belfort asks his students to sell him the pen. They don’t manage.

Belfort’s clients liked him. They had a problem; he provided a solution. Aluxers, it may sound so simplistic – but that’s the beauty of it. It really is simple. Identify a problem, find a solution, this should be at the top of a list of classical business tips. In his word, “The easiest way to make money is – create something of such value that everybody wants and go out and give and create value, the money comes automatically.”

12

Incentivise Your Staff

Right, we know that Belfort liked to spoil his staff with escorts, narcotics, and wild parties… and sure, we may not agree with it, but we can’t take away from the fact that he spoilt and incentivised his staff.
His goal was to create loyalty and reward success.

Aluxers, there are other ways of doing this. A monetary bonus, vouchers, and time off are all great places to start.
Show your appreciation and the loyalty and hard work will follow.

13

Don’t Let the Past Take Away From Your Present

Belfort shared some wise words, and they are also business tips, when he was released from prison. He said, “No matter what happened to you in your past, you are not your past, you are the resources and the capabilities you glean from it. And that is the basis for all change.”

He knew that despite his situation, he would learn from it and move forward from it. He was affirming that everyone makes mistakes, and you own up to them and set about fixing them.

That’s a lesson that is not only suited to business but life in general.

14

Don’t Quit Too Soon

Aluxers, starting a business and trying to work your way up in a company takes time. You need to be patient, work hard and have confidence that with time, you will reap the rewards of your dedication.

Belfort puts it into perspective, “97% of the people who quit too soon are employed by the 3% who never gave up.”
Don’t quit Aluxers, until you’ve tried everything and only then, reassess the situation.

And now, it’s time for the final piece of business advice from the film, The Wolf of Wall Street… and it’s one that so many of us fear the most… public speaking.

15

Learn How to Speak in Public

Belfort was an incredible public speaker. He was motivating, inspiring and confident. He could take a bad scenario and turn it into a positive.

There’s no need to throw $40,000 watches at your staff to motivate them, just be confident enough to deliver a message that you believe in, and the rest will come naturally.

And of course, if you want to do a complete Oprah move, you’re welcome to give your staff something amazing. You get a car, you get a car, you get a car…

Question:

What business tips could you take away from The Wolf of Wall Street? Thanks for sharing with us Aluxers.