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19 Entrepreneurs Share Their Favorite Business Quotes

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André Gide wrote that,”Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” Quotes are an important part of motivation, though many of them are repeats of another turn of phrase. Business owners are particularly partial to famous quotations. Reading a motivational speech from a business legend or famous creative mind can give you a spark. It doesn’t matter if it has been said before and repeated numerous times, quotes can give you the fire you need to be a better entrepreneur or learn how to handle a difficult situation. Below are some of those quotes sent in by entrepreneurs throughout the country.

1) Experience

“Aptitude can be taught. Attitude cannot.”
A lot of the time there is too much emphasis placed on experience. A less-experienced employee with a strong attitude and desire to share in a company’s success will be much more beneficial than a stubborn, experienced employee who refuses to assimilate into a positive office culture. Aptitude can be taught, attitude cannot be coached. A good motto to use to drive the right culture is around distinguishing good teams versus great teams. Good teams do it until they get it right; Great teams do it until they never get it wrong!

Thanks to Vick Vaishnavi, Yottaa!

2) Millenials

“Older workers have a strong sense of separate spheres for work and play: the cubicle is for work, and home is for fun. But to millennials, the boundaries between work and play are fuzzier.” Michael D. Hais, co-author of “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics

This is my favorite quote because being a millennial myself, I can say that the younger generation is less likely to look for jobs that provide security, and rather choose those that make them feel a sense of happiness and fulfillment. As a business owner, it’s important to know that culture trumps compensation and the new millennials care more about the environment they work in than being paid big bucks. This generation wants an overlap of ‘work and play’ and looks for benefits outside of salary increases.

Thanks to Beau Hale, AdBoom Group, Inc.

3) Assumptions & Decisons

“How do you know that” – Benjamin Netanyahu

I can’t say I agree with everything that Benjamin Netanyahu has said, especially lately but he is known for asking 1 simple question pretty often: “How do you know that”. One thing I found about my startup, we were making a lot of assumptions and decisions based not on statistics, but common wisdom, or even what we thought someone had read somewhere, at some point. Trying to figure out, how we “know” certain facts has helped our decision making process quite a bit.

Thanks to Mark Aselstine, Uncorked Ventures!

 

4) Do What You Love

“Do what you love and the money will follow” – Marsha Sinetar

I first heard it from my grandfather, but a quick google search reveals its from Marsha Sinetar. This quote is great because: 1) It works at all levels of the organization from individual to group to org level strategy–when trying to motivate a singular employee or an aspiring entrepreneur it works well, it also works well at the team or group level (say a creative team or new product development team) as well as at the organizational level–if the organization does what it it loves to do, it will do it well, and others will appreciate and patron that, theoretically. 2) It implies the importance of authenticity in all that you do: if you love it you will apply yourself at it, you will be good at it, you will ‘mean it’, you will provide real value to yourself and your stakeholders, you won’t have to fake your interest in your craft or its outcomes, marketing yourself and your product(s) won’t be an uphill battle, there will be flow and uptake of what you do well…therefore the money will follow. 3) The temptation to get lost in the flurry of greed and ‘progress’ in our society is too tempting. We’re over-exposed to ‘get rich quick’ and ‘best practice’ ideas about vocation, career, success as kids coming up and so forget that the real meaning of life is to do what you enjoy, to enjoy life, to be happy. We spend too much of our existence working not to love it. Further, “If you do what you love you won’t work a day in your life.” (a version of Confusious)

Thanks to Dr. Brynn Winegard, Winegard Company!

5) Learn the Ins & Outs

A year from now you will wish you had started today.” —Karen Lamb
That is my favorite quote because I started my business in a rush. I started my business in a rush and I did not take the time to learn the ins and outs of my business. I had to suffer financially for it, but I was able to bounce back due to my passion and determination. If I would have started my business a little later none of these issues would have occurred. I would have avoided these pitfalls of starting a new business.

Thanks to Lisa Chu, Black n Bianco!

6) Dedication & Focus

‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,’ – Aristotle

This is important to me, because each victory in my life has been the culmination of hundreds, if not, thousands, of hours of dedication and focus. As an entrepreneur, the core of my belief system is the understanding that persistence eventually becomes success.”

Thanks to Hao Jiang, CookieCutterKdom.com!

7) Take Chances

20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things you did do.”- Mark Twain

Business, particularly entrepreneurship can be can be risky. This quote reminds me to take chances.

Thanks to Erica Harriss, Saving Grace Beauty!

8) Following up

“The fortune is in the follow-up” – author unknown

So many people seem to forget that people/customers live busy hectic lives, while they may want or need your services life has a way of getting in the way and distracting them. I have never had someone be mad at me for following up with them on what their goals were and what they were trying to achieve when they first contacted me.

Thanks to Wayne Sanford, New Start Financial Corporation!

9) Listen to Feedback

“Listen to your customers , or you will have none” – Brad Feld

This is critically important for new startups that relay on user feedback to best navigate the unknowns around developing their value proposition and what pain points their product solves. This feedback is the lifeblood for any new venture.

Thanks to Bryan Clayton, GreenPal!

10) Embrace Failure

“If you’re not failing, you’re not trying”

This is one of our core tenets. We’re an EdTech platform building an admissions social network connecting applicants with other applicants, and schools, students and alumni. Since everything we are doing is in unchartered waters, we rely on pushing the envelope and trying new things. Inherent in trying new things is failure. I’ve found that many of our new employees (old and young alike) are trained to think that failure is a bad thing; we encourage our employees to push the envelope on their projects and try things out. As long as they fail fast and cheap, it is fine with us. We share our failures as a team, which helps eliminate others making the same mistakes and often morphs into refined ideas that lead to better outcomes!

Thanks to Eric Allen, Admit.me!

11) Responsibility is on the Pursuer

“If you want to be the man, you have to beat the man.” – Jimmy Sansone

My favorite quote is from Jimmy Sansone, a former boss at my first job. Almost every day he said, “If you want to be the man, you have to beat the man.” The beauty of this simple statement is that it puts the responsibility of success on the pursuer. If I want to be successful, I need to beat the successful one. I need to embody confidence, leadership and vision. Hard work isn’t enough. I need to embody success in all that I do. It also implies a benchmark that we need to strive for every day.

Thanks to Ryan Schneider, Jackson Aviation Group!

12) Question What You Are Working On

“Be suspicious of any work that is not building product or getting customers.” – Sam Altman, Y Combinator President

From the perspective of a start-up employee, I really appreciate this quote from Sam Altman. As a startup grows, we start to add more and more process and sometimes we find ourselves bouncing from meeting to meeting and task to task. It’s extremely important to step back periodically and question some of these things that we work on. If these projects or action items don’t contribute to building the product or getting new customers, consider canceling or de-prioritizing them! At least re-assess them periodically.

Thanks to Tom Treanor, Wrike!

13) Keep Advertising

A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time. – Henry Ford

Great quote to remind us all to keep pushing, working hard and smart. I love to quote it to clients since we create amazing media with them.

Thanks to Tim Ryan, TAR PRODUCTIONS!

14) Limited time

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs

One of my favorite quotes come from Steve Jobs and applies both to business and one’s personal life.

Thanks to Greg Jenkins, Bravo Productions!

15) Understanding Customers

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”- Gandhi

This quote has been my favorite since I read it a few years ago. I have it on a banner in our store and on the business card boxes we deliver to our clients. I believe it sums up everything about how any business should view their clients. Having this mindset would make any business successful.

Thanks to Steven E. Conn, Markit Media Group LLC!

16) Simplicity

“When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get  bogged down in complexity. Thinking simply and clearly is hard to do” – Sir Richard Branson

I like this quote especially since Richard has ADHD, as do I. Entrepernuers with ADHD often let their thoughts quickly take off into details. Keeping things simple builds foundation on which to develop ideas.

Thanks to Wes Gray, Are You ADD?

17) Do Something, Anything

“If you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, then do something, anything really, and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself.” – Mark Manson
Getting started is not easy and you can get overwhelmed by all the things you want to do. The mountain can be a little too high for you to climb and your brain can kick in with the old “can do it later” comfy song. Outsmart your brain by taking small steps. Just do something for a few moments. Go for a fast run around the block. Research for your dream job for a couple of minutes a day. Open Lonely Planet for a moment. With every single step like this, you will start rewriting the old comfy patterns, and slowly but surely your brain starts accepting these as your new status quo.

Thanks to Tomas Laboutka, HotelQuickly!

18) Getting Hit & Moving Forward

“But it ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; that’s how winning is done. Now if you know what you are worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that”. – Rocky Balboa

This quote is my mantra. I am a small company competing with big corporations. Also, operating a small business in this economy is quite a challenge. I have taken my fair share of the hits but my business is
still here and thriving.

Thanks to Lynn Edwards, Dirty Dogs Pet Services!

19) Respect

“You want some respect? Go out and get it for yourself.” – Don Draper (portrayed by John Hamm), Mad Men

My selected quote is actually from the popular television show, Mad Men: “You want some respect? Go out and get it for yourself.” The reason why I selected this quote because it was stated in a powerful scene where one of the lead characters is telling his protege to stop whining, over thinking the situation, and just put in the work. When you’re an entrepreneur you put in long hours and hard work. Sometimes you need a healthy pick me up. Whenever I think of this quote, it reminds me that I have to keep pushing myself. Because if it’s one lesson I learned it’s that no one hands you anything. Especially the things we want the most in life. No. You’ll have to go out there and knock other peoples’ socks off.

Thanks to CJ Johnson, Buddytruk!

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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