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4 Entrepreneurial Presidents of the Past: What Can You Learn From These Major Figures in the Business World?
  • 24 January 2017
  • Eric Michaels

4 Entrepreneurial Presidents of the Past: What Can You Learn From These Major Figures in the Business World?

Many former United States presidents were very successful businessmen. Here are some small business lessons that you can learn from four entrepreneurial presidents of the past.

1. Warren G. Harding: Look for the value in a struggling business

Warren G. Harding took advantage of an opportunity that he discovered early on in his career. In 1884, Harding bought the struggling Marion Star along with two partners, according to the Miller Center. As Harding had previously worked in the newspaper business as a reporter, he was able to use his past experience to keep the Marion Star afloat. In fact, over the next five years, Harding was able to achieve moderate success with the Marion Star. The lesson here is that it may be valuable for you to seek out the potential profit that could come with taking over a failing business. If you have the background and insights necessary to turn this business around, you may want to consider making the necessary investments.

2. George W. Bush: Do what you love

Many entrepreneurs launch companies that allow them to do what they love on a daily basis. But it is important to note that you should also keep your interests in mind when you make investments. If you need a little inspiration, look no further than George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States. A lifelong baseball fan, Bush invested $500,000 as part of a group purchase of the Texas Rangers in 1989, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Just nine years later, Bush and his partners sold the team for $250 million, and Bush saw a 25-fold return on his investment. Sometimes the stars do not align in such a way that entrepreneurs can easily do what they love, but the dream is always worth chasing.

3. Jimmy Carter: Respect your family business

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, was an excellent businessman from a young age. When Carter was just 13 years old, he bought five houses using money he had saved from working on his family farm, according to the Miller Center. Due to the Great Depression, these houses in Plains, Georgia, were on the market for extremely low prices. Young Carter went on to rent these homes out to local families. The obvious lesson here is to keep an eye out for opportunities when you can "buy low" and make your money back quickly.

When Carter's father died of cancer in 1953, the former president realized that his family's peanut farm was at risk. Carter decided to abandon his successful naval career in order to manage the land. By 1959, he was able to make the farm prosperous. It is clear that Carter respected his family business enough to want to find a way to make a failing venture work. When it comes to this business segment, you must establish a clear chain of command and always think ahead to what the future may bring.

4. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Give back to your community

Before taking office, Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted polio, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. According to the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Roosevelt recovered the strength and confidence he needed to continue his political career after he swam in the mineral-rich waters of Warm Springs. This experience inspired Roosevelt to purchase the property and launch the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, which provides rehabilitative services for those suffering from polio.

As a small business owner, your local store or office plays a large role in your community as a whole. Get inspired by presidents of the past and identify your own meaningful way to give back.

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