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8 Business Lessons We Can Learn from Belfort & The Wolf Of Wall Street

When asked, some would say “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a movie about success and what can come after it. But what some people do not know is that the movie was about Jordan Belfort. The Wolf of Wall Street focused on Belfort and his investment company, Stratton Oakmont. Following his escapades on Wall Street, Belfort was regarded as “the wolf”, hence, the title of the film. Here are 8 business lessons we can learn from Belfort & The Wolf of Wall Street.

The Story Line

The movie became a huge success from the get-go, taking a good spot at the box office. It focused on the unlikely rise and dramatic fall of the controversial stockbroker. Leonardo DiCaprio played Jordan Belfort in the Martin Scorsese 2013 movie.

One popular scene early on in the movie was DiCaprio having lunch with a successful broker named Mark Hanna played by Mathew McConaughey. Hanna was seen beating his chest rhythmically and humming at the same time. Mark Hanna was a real figure on Wall Street who influenced Belfort’s drug use.

Jordan Belfort & Mark Hanna On The Wolf Of Wall Street

This is simply a story of a small stockbroker who eventually becomes rich and turns wild. Thanks to his lifestyle of partying and drugs, he couldn’t maintain that status. Be it good or bad, he broke the market and would always be The Wolf of Wall Street.

So what are the business lessons from Belfort & The Wolf of Wall Street?

8 Business Lessons We Can Learn from Belfort & The Wolf Of Wall Street

There are many things we can learn from good movies. A lot of details are factored into these films. The Wolf of Wall Street was based on true events. It’s safe to say we are not just learning from the motion pictures but also the man behind the real story.

1)     Find Your Specialty

Jordan Belfort was a stockbroker on Wall Street. Belfort built and traded with his investment company known as Stratton Oakmont.

He knew he was good at stocks and he stuck to it. But even though Belfort traded stocks, he specifically focused on penny stocks. Penny stocks are shares from small companies. Belfort knew he had to have a niche, and chose penny stocks as nobody was really focused on them.

Businesspersons need to understand the power of focusing on a niche market by carving your space where you are most needed. This doesn’t just give you control, you also earn customer dependence.

Find your Specialty

If you are the most popular person trading penny stocks then it is only natural that people who need that service would buy from you. So any business you are thinking of starting, always focus on a specialty in that business, which then gives you control of your market.

2)     Learn To Sell Yourself

If there was one thing Belfort knew, it was the ability to “sell yourself”. Belfort was in the stock business, and the stock business is a rich game. He knew he couldn’t convince people to buy if he didn’t look like he could sell. The point is even though he wasn’t rich yet he acted in that manner.

Belfort was always seen wearing fancy suits and had nice hair. He acted powerful, so people saw him as confident and successful. Learn to imagine how you want people to view you and present yourself in that way.


         A business person needs to look ready for business. It must not be about wearing fancy suits; Belfort’s selling strategy was based on how stockbrokers dressed. So figure out ways that people would want to do business by just coming in contact with you. Always remember that looking good is good business.

3)     Train Employees Well

This lesson is for businesses that have gotten to the stage of hiring quite a number of staff. Human capital is as important as money. Humans when shown exactly what to do can come in very handy. Business owners need to understand that it’s not a problem if your employees know what you know.

Some business owners fear that employees will be better than them if they show employees what they know. On the contrary, showing employees the right way to do business helps your firm. Your staff can now sound like knowledgeable and experienced persons in that line of business.

Train Employee

Belfort knew how to train clueless people to become almost perfect stockbrokers. His staff made calls to clients as if there was a bit of him in all of them, and that helped grow Stratton Oakmont.

4)     Keep Employees Happy

Belfort knew how to party. He perfectly integrated his employees into his success. If you worked at Stratton Oakmont you would know there was never a dull moment with the boss. Belfort threw parties and brought his boys to the show.

Even at parties, he gave speeches of encouragement as a way to celebrate victories. Not everybody can be like Belfort in this regard; you do not have to throw outlandish parties. Business owners just need to learn how to keep their employees happy, and in return, employees would work even harder to keep the ball rolling.

Keep Employees Happy

5)     Don’t Give Up

You might have started a business that did not go well in the past. You might even have gone bankrupt more than once, but it shouldn’t stop you from the goal. Belfort had to bankrupt his small business to be able to go into Wall Street. He didn’t stop and persevered until he became filthy rich. This goes for business owners too: never give up.

Don’t Give Up

6)     Do Not Do IPOs You Are Not Familiar With

Initial Public Offerings are introduced when a company goes public. This lesson is specifically for stockbrokers who are advised to stay away from initial public offerings. This is because a company that just went public might not be able to cope with the market.

If a company is not able to cope then it means your money is gone when they wind up. Belfort always stayed away from company IPOs he wasn’t familiar with. You too should stay away from IPOs.

Initial Public Offerings

7)     Build Company Culture

At Stratton Oakmont, social gatherings were used to build the company’s culture. Belfort wanted employees to feel comfortable working for him. He used unique and fun social gatherings to drive home his company’s culture. Business owners need to build company culture.

A company’s culture is just values & norms the firm abides by in its running of the business. Build company culture no matter what, so your employees know what you stand for.

Company Culture

8) Learn To Manage Success

We know Belfort was one heck of a stockbroker. Belfort was also a party starter and knew how to have fun. Jordan Belfort’s crazy lifestyle led to his dramatic downfall. The Wolf of Wall Street’s desire to be filthy rich was brought down by his inability to manage success.

Many of the film’s outrageous events actually happened; this included Belfort sinking his yacht in Italy. Belfort one time crashed his helicopter on his lawn, and the company once paid a secretary the sum of $10,000 to shave her head.

Stock market multi millionaire at 26, federal convict at 36. All these showed that Belfort sucked at managing success. In this regard, do not be Jordan Belfort, learn to manage success.

The life of Jordan Belfort as portrayed in the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” actually happened. He was a stockbroker and controversial businessman with so much money that went to jail for fraud.

Mistakes made by Jordan Belfort should not be made again by anybody, especially business persons. These 8 business lessons from Belfort and The Wolf of Wall Street can be the difference between success and failure.

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