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41 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 – Exceed Expectations

Image Credit: Andres Hinostroza

Image Credit: Andres Hinostroza

Give more than you take. That’s how you win.

At Joybird, our motto is to always give more to our customers than they expect, and to continue to empower our employees on a daily basis so that our customers’ expectations are always exceeded. We started this business because we wanted to provide satisfaction beyond what is normally seen in the furniture industry. We have designed a fun online customized digital shopping experience that removes all risks from our customers and holds our promise to over deliver every single time. We want our customers happy, and so we keep our employees happy. That is how we win. We give them more than we take and continue to innovate every single day.

Thanks to Andres Hinostroza, Joybird!

#2 – Coping with the Moment

Image Credit: Annah Stretton

Image Credit: Annah Stretton

“Rooster today, feather duster tomorrow”

Just how would one cope with a moment when the media are portraying aspects of your character to a very large audience with an agenda of dramatic effect and political grandstanding. This quote is really about the higher up the ladder you get, the harder you will fall. The 20+ years that you spend building your brand can be destroyed in five minutes. Tall poppies (public figures elevated through influence by their peers) will always take the heat. It’s true as your brand and person grows in your market, you have the power to influence so think carefully about the messages you send as shit sticks. Believe me!

Thanks to Annah Stretton, Stretton Fashion Group!

#3 – My Mantra

Image Credit: Denise Blasevick

Image Credit: Denise Blasevick

“You can do anything. You can’t do everything.”

This is more than my original quote — it is my mantra. It’s easy to get tempted to do things just because I can, but that doesn’t mean I should. In fact, it can be very bad for my company if I do things I should not be doing. So I start each day by identifying the most important things I must do, and I leave the rest to my talented team.

Thanks to Denise Blasevick, The S3 Agency!

#4 – Time for a Business Risk

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Image Credit: Michael Okhravi

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. 

When it’s time to take a considerable business risk, like putting half of my savings into a venture, I think of this quote. If I’m lucky enough to turn old and grey, the amount of money I’ve accumulated won’t matter nearly as much as the value I tried to bring to the world and what I learned from my failures along the way. It gives me solace to remember that life is temporary and it behooves me to shoot for the stars because it’s the journey that means most.

Thanks to Michael Okhravi, DocChat!

#5 – Reinvention

Image credit: Shel Horowitz

Image credit: Shel Horowitz

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

As I reinvent my 33-year-old business as a consultancy showing other businesses how to turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance, I take deep inspiration from these words. I love this quote so much that I built my whole TEDx talk around it:

Thanks to Shel Horowitz, Green and Profitability!

#6 – Prioritize

“Every No is really just a Yes to something else”

Image Credit: Meri Geraldine

Image Credit: Meri Geraldine

When you own a business, you simply have to prioritise to manage your time. Whenever a new opportunity comes up, I tell myself to remember that “every No is really just a Yes to something else”. It does wonders for me.

Thanks to Meri Geraldine, Gardens of the Sun!

#7 – Produce Results

Image Credit: Anthony Simola

Image Credit: Anthony Simola

‎”Rise early, work hard, strike oil.”

This quote by legendary oilman J. Paul Getty is my top choice because the abundance of people who start companies either overthink the process or never get to doing anything substantial. Learning to produce results, whether you’re in the oil business or another one, will allow you to distinguish yourself over time.

Thanks to Anthony Simola, Simola Technologies Inc.!

#8 – Consider Your Faults

Image Credit: Julie Pelle

Image Credit: Julie Pelle

I am a Realtor that has been in the industry for 12 years in Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Each year I have grown my business and last year I increased my sales by almost 30% from 2013. My best business quote I actually learned from my father that was also an entrepreneur and implement it on a daily basis. “To succeed in business do not concentrate on your strengths, consider mores your faults and surround yourself with others that are better in your area of weakness, and together as a team you will succeed and help others at the same time.” This will then help me manage my time in a business day and I can focus in on my strengths and free up time to concentrate on my client base and offer them the knowledge and service they deserve!

Thanks to Julie Pelle!

#9 – Passion

Image Credit: Tony Ellison

Image Credit: Tony Ellison

There is a great quote that truly captures the essence of passion in finding one’s purpose. Regardless of where your passions lie, I’m sure every passionate entrepreneur has experienced this feeling many times throughout their pursuits. This quote is from Tim Berners-Lee. “Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.” For me, this quote was a reaffirmation to not only just build a company that was functionally practical but to also integrate the things that I was truly passionate about and achieve heights that no one has before. I have dedicated many sleepless nights driven by pure enthusiasm and excitement for what it was that I was trying to make a reality. This quote reminds me of that passion and to never stop dreaming.

Thanks to Tony Ellison, Shoplet.com!

#10 – Help People

Image Credit: Sherry Gavanditti

Image Credit: Sherry Gavanditti

“People don’t want to be sold, they want to be helped.”

I say this to myself for my business, a freelance pr and media company called Blitz Public Relations, and I shared with my colleague here at Menorah Park where I work part-time as well as a pr media specialist. It keeps us on task when creating ad campaigns, posting to social media, and promoting programs and services.

Thanks to Sherry Gavanditti, Menorah Park!

#11 – Don’t Quit

“Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding..”

Jim Valvano has been a huge inspiration to me- he is a sports figure, but I apply this quote to every area of my life, especially business. In business you have to keep going and with all of the changing times- you have to adapt. You will experience frustration in your career, but if you don’t give up, and learn to work with your frustration, you will succeed. It’s unfortunate, but we don’t hear enough on how to deal with frustration in the workplace. You just have to keep going, and like Valvano said- “never give up.”

Thanks to Rachel Margaritis, Acupath Laboratories, Inc.!

#12 – Rather Fail Than Not Try

“What would you be glad that you did…. EVEN if you failed?”

Image Credit: Beatrix Bell

Image Credit: Beatrix Bell

This quote perfectly sums up my mindset when quitting my day job and taking the jump into full time self-employment. No matter how many times I would get “cold feet” before I quit my day job, I reminded myself that I would much rather fail than never try at all. In 2009 at the peak of the recession, I quit my teaching job, and never looked back. I would rather fail with no regrets!

Thanks to Beatrix Bell, Beatrixbell Handcrafted Jewelry!

#13 – Solutions

Image Credit: Heather Furby

Image Credit: Heather Furby

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about the solutions. 

All to often in business we become focused on our brilliant solution. It’s our business. It’s what we live and breath. But solutions are everywhere. The real issue is finding out what problem we solve, and if anyone cares. It is imperative to help our customers see the problem clearly, too. They may think their problem is “not having enough money” but in reality the problem could be “not able to close sales” or “inefficient lead generation” or “misuse of funds” or…any number of issues. So we need to spend more time clearly defining the problem, and have our customers or market also understand the real problem, then offer our solution if it’s a fit.

Thanks to Heather Furby, Creative Age Leadership!

#14- Strengths, Weaknesses, Motivations& The Enemy

Image Credit: Karissa Yson

Image Credit: Karissa Yson

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

This quote resonates with me as a business person for its 360 degree reminder of understanding my own strengths, weaknesses and motivations as well as understanding that of the enemy’s (industry competitors and current business landscape). After long research and competitive analysis with this quote as a reminder, I’ve concluded that in my industry of senior care, the old ways of creating trust and face to face interactions is still respected much more than social media marketing.

Thanks to Karissa Yson, Valley Crest Home Inc.!

#15 – Everything is Temporary

Image Credit: Lisa Jackson

Image Credit: Lisa Jackson

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

It inspires me on many levels: Reminding us everything is temporary. To be bold and connect to our central purpose. And, to live a life stressed out, on auto-pilot, or in constant pursuit of approval is empty, compared to manifesting the true desires of our heart.

Thanks to Lisa Jackson, Corporate Culture Pros!

#16 – Redundancy is Crucial

Image Credit: Erik Wittreich

Image Credit: Erik Wittreich

“Two is one and one is none.”

With few exceptions (i.e., trekking Mount Everest when every ounce matters) redundancy is crucial to meeting one’s objectives. From a simple tool such as a pen to a more complex example such personnel, you’re sometimes one stroke away from running out of ink or one sick day away from losing a multi-million dollar sales opportunity. Admittedly, you cannot plan for every contingency; however, you can often mitigate some risk but adhering to this principle. Sports teams have a depth roster for a reason – you’re business should too.

Thanks to Erik Wittreich, Hinted Labs, Inc.!

#17 – Focus on the True

Image Credit: Bryan Clayton

Image Credit: Bryan Clayton

Focus on the things that don’t change.

I love it because as entrepreneurs we need to constantly be reminded that if our product does everything it does nothing. We need to spend less time of the things that don’t matter, and focus on the things that are true today that were also true 50 years ago.

Thanks to Bryan Clayton, GreenPal!

#18 – Take Failure Head On

Image Credit:

Image Credit: David Smethie

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

This is my favorite business quote because it illustrates the primary factor that differentiates successful entrepreneurs from the rest of the pack. Successful entrepreneurs take failure head on instead of fearing it and shying away during times of hardship. They not only view failure as a learning experience and move on quickly, but understand it’s an inevitable part of business. Frequent failure means achieving goals faster and learning more in the process!

Thanks to David Smethie, GrowthOnFire!

#19 – Go Make It Happen

Image Credit: Mike Melton

Image Credit: Mike Melton

My favorite business quote is from an unlikely source. Woody Allen once said, “80% of success is showing up,” and I’ve found this to be very true in the world of business. I’ve been running my own business since 1993, and there have been many instances where I’ve thought of a product or service that did not exist, and I simply jumped in and created it. While some of these ideas failed, I’ve experienced much more success simply because my particular service or product was the only solution available. My advice to entrepreneurs is that if you have a good idea that you’re passionate about, go make it happen.

Thanks to Mike Melton, ChiroHosting!

#20 – Stay Calm in Situations

Peter-Anadranistakis

Image Credit: Peter Anadranistakis

When all things are said and done, more things get said than done.

This is by far my favorite quote as it helps to keep me calm. It reminds me that although I am hopeful people will complete everything they state they will complete, not all of them do or will. In addition, it reminds me to stay calm in new, emotional or exciting situations whereby I want to commit to completing items or tasks. I remember this quote to ensure that whatever I commit to, I complete it when I say I am going to complete it.

Thanks to Peter Anadranistakis, Caliber The Wealth Development Company!

#21 – Know, Like & Trust

Image Credit: Beth Bridges

Image Credit: Beth Bridges

All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.

One of the first books I ever read on networking was Bob Burg’s “Endless Referrals.” It made a huge impact on me and I became a Bob Burg Fan for Life. Years later, I connected with Bob on Twitter. We became social media friends, and then he did me the incredible honor of writing the foreword to my own book on networking. I love this quote because I understand and utterly believe in the meaning of it plus I admire and appreciate the man who said it.

Thanks to Beth Bridges, The Networking Motivator !

#22 – Nothing Comes Easy

Image Credit: Sarah Dosch

Image Credit: Sarah Dosch

My favorite business quote is from Ann Landers. “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work so most people do not recognize them.” I heard this quote at an annual meeting that I attended with my husband for his company about 4 years ago. I was considering taking my hobby of candle making to the next level and make a business out of it. This quote really sticks with me because I feel like it is saying that nothing comes easy, but if you are willing to work at something there can be great rewards. And that has been the case with my business. I am busier than I ever imagined with orders from all over the country!

Thanks to Sarah Dosch, Fisher Creek Candles!

#23 – People, Time & Money

Image Credit: Mike Rodriguez

Image Credit: Mike Rodriguez

As a CEO, business consultant and executive coach, I am frequently asked “what is the most important thing to focus on in business.” My answer is always People, Time and money. The first and most important is your people. My favorite quote to support this was stated by Zig Ziglar: You don’t build a business, you build people and then people build a business.

Thanks to Mike Rodriguez!

#24 – Results

Image Credit: MJ Pedone

Image Credit: MJ Pedone

“People will never know how long it takes you to do something. They will only know how well it is done.”

When I was starting my business, I was told by several of my mentors that when working with clients, they want to see results! Results are what drives any business and it is important to show results. People aren’t going to care how long it takes you, within reason of course, they just want to see their end goal whether it be a flawless event, their story in the Wall Street Journal or raising money for a charity. My team and I work very hard day in and day out to be sure our clients get the results they deserve.

Thanks to MJ Pedone, Indra PR!

#25 – Accept & Learn from the Past

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Image Credit: Jacob and Terra

“Accept the past, manage the present, and work hard towards the future.”

This simple sentence says it all. Being able to accept the past is the only way to manage the present. All decisions come with some kind of circumstance and being able to accept and learn from your past, especially in business is how we have mentally trained ourselves to keep working hard towards the future!

Thanks to Jacob and Terra, The Savvy Heart!

#26 – True Nature of the Entrepreneur

Image Credit: Denise Stern

Image Credit: Denise Stern

Starting a business is like eating glass and staring into the abyss…

Pretty much everything Elon Musk says is memorable but to me this quote really speaks to the true nature of the entrepreneur. He captures how difficult it is while still having a sense of humor- that’s exactly how every day goes in the life of a small business owner.

Thanks to Denise Stern, Let Mommy Sleep!

#27 – A Way of Life

Image Credit: Jim Morris

Image Credit: Jim Morris

Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.

I have used this quote many times when faced with business challenges that seemed insurmountable and frightening. I have found that, as a President or CEO, my teams have responded very well to this quote and what it implies. When they sensed that I had the confidence to take on the challenge with the attitude implied in that quote, they invariably followed me into the depths of uncertainty with confidence, enthusiasm, and a positive mental outlook. That one quote has served me and the people that reported to me very well so many times, it became a way of life for the teams I have led. It helped my teams develop a competitive edge that allowed us to flourish in many marketplaces.

Thanks to Jim Morris, The Alternative Board Tennessee Valley!

#28 – Blood, Sweat & Tears

Image Credit: Kristie Glenn

Image Credit: Kristie Glenn

My favorite business quote is, “Build your own dreams or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” I worked for a large bank for over 13 years. Although I made decent money, I found myself miserable living paycheck to paycheck. One day, I arrived to work early and was looking online at recent news. And that’s when things changed for me. The CEO of the bank just sold a $20 million dollar apartment and was in the process of buying a new one. All whole, the company continued to give me excuse after excuse as to why I hadn’t gotten a raise in over 5 years. That day, I realized that I was putting all of my blood, sweat and tears to help a guy love this ultra comfy lifestyle. Meanwhile, I’m living in a mediocre apartment. Shortly, after I left the company and started Blue Labels Boutique. Although, it’s a struggle and constant learning process, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, my blood, sweat, and tears are poured on creating my own comfy lifestyle!

Thanks to Kristie Glenn, Blue Labels Boutique!

#29 – My Own Destiny

Image Credit: Natasha Clark

Image Credit: Natasha Clark

It’s mine to lose

It’s something I say to myself as a reminder that I am both my greatest ally and worst enemy. I am the writer of my own destiny. No one can ever take what is meant to be mine away from me.

Thanks to Natasha Clark, Lioness Magazine!

#30 – Simple Things

Image Credit: Ryan Vayo

Image Credit: Ryan Vayo

My favorite business quote is actually not by a business man and doesn’t directly relate to business at all. During a commencement address, Admiral William McRaven (Navy SEAL of 36 years) said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” This is a quote I’ve come to hold close in business, life, recreation, relationships, and more. At face value it may seem a little ridiculous that making your bed could help you change the world, but it is much deeper than that. It is about a task completed, the confidence to complete more, and always remembering to do the LITTLE things right. It reminds me of a Vince Lombardi quote that my college rugby coach often recited that included the advice that, “winning is not a sometimes thing, it’s an all the time thing.” This mentality can go a long way in life, and especially in business as an entrepreneur. Running a company, you must take care of the little things if you ever want to accomplish your goals. Little things could mean keeping a neat office, being the first one in, making sure to personally call people back, etc. The list goes on, but there is no doubt that no matter what those little things are, you’ll be better off if you learn how to take care of them right.

Thanks to Ryan Vayo, Pet Harmony!

#31 – Mistakes

Image Credit: Ben Treanor

Image Credit: Ben Treanor

Do not fear mistakes, there are none

This quote has served me well with my business. Being cautious within business is a good thing, but not acting on your ideas due to the fear of messing up can really stifle any growth in the business. Any mistakes that I’ve made in business have resulted in a positive outcome, I learn from my mistakes.

Thanks Ben Treanor, Old English Prints!

#32 – Achieving Things & Outcomes

Image Credit: Nicholas Hopper

Image Credit: Nicholas Hopper

A 100% of nothing is still nothing.

This self explanatory quote refers to the idea of achieving things, and focusing on outcomes rather than efforts and procedures.

Thanks to Nicholas Hopper, Crozdesk!

#33 – Relationships Last Forever

Great companies start because the founders want to change the world, not make a fast buck.

I believe success comes in the relationships you form while doing the work you love, and revenue will follow as a result. Money can last a very short time; good relationships will last forever.

Thanks to Michael Santo, QuickJam.com!

#34 – Dare to Be Great

Image Credit: Andrea Sullenger

Image Credit: Andrea Sullenger

Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.

My personal belief is that entrepreneurship is all about being willing to risk, experiment and “do it anyway”, despite the fear you may have. The only thing that makes you great is to dare to be great.

Thanks to Andrea Sullenger, 6-Figure Strategy Lounge!

#35 – Culture Rules

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Roger-Franklin2

Image Credit: Roger Franklin

All business, ultimately, involves people working together to solve a problem or provide a service. Interpersonal relationships, even those that last only a few seconds, is where business takes place – both internally and with our customers. How we treat other people and how we make decisions are direct results of the culture within our business. Culture provides the framework within which we design strategies and execute plans, and problems arise when our employees or customers don’t understand or accept that culture.

Thanks to Roger Franklin, Crystal!

#36 – Sheer Happiness & Will

Image Credit:

Image Credit: Jennifer Lynn Robinson

“I didn’t set out to be unusual or different, I just wanted to do things my way.”

A few years ago following a near death accident I left being a litigator and started my own business as an entrepreneur. Of course there are a lot of pitfalls to avoid but I think sometimes people undervalue the sheer happiness and will that can come from simply doing what appeals to you and the idea that success can come from it. Lilly Pulitzer was a housewife who started an empire after sewing her own shift dress and setting up a juice stand to meet her neighbors.

Thanks to Jennifer Lynn Robinson, Purposeful Networking!

#37 – The Extra Mile

Image Credit: Greg Pryor

Image Credit: Greg Pryor

As a former professional athlete, I feel that Roger Staubach, the former Dallas Cowboy quarterback and member of the NFL Hall of Fame, delivers a great message with his quote, “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” I played 16 years as a pro baseball player and I suffered through many “traffic jams” in my career. In fact, the “traffic jams” made me work harder to avoid the next one. So, when I went the extra mile to prepare for a job in the major leagues, I passed 99% of the players who were stuck in their own jams and never made it to the big leagues. Everyone who goes the “extra mile” in serving the customer has the best chance to stay in the fast lane towards a successful business. I went the extra mile in my pro baseball career. Today, I am wearing my World Series ring that I received as a member of the 1985 World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

Thanks to Greg Pryor, Life Priority, Inc.!

#38 – Simplify

Image Credit: Chanelle

Image Credit: Chanelle

My favourite business quote is by Richard Branson who says “It takes a genius to simplify, any idiot can complicate things!” I love this! So true. Setting up proper systems and structures in your business, no matter how big or small is super important. Start by creating a set folder structure that everyone has to use. Imagine that you disappear tomorrow and somebody else has to make sense of what is on your machine!

Thanks to Chanelle, Segerius Bruce Services!

#39 – Buying You

Image Credit: Tracy B​alan

Image Credit: Tracy B​alan

“Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. the right people -the ones who really belong in your life – will come to you. And Stay.”

I love this quote / saying, because as an entrepreneur 80% of your business is from the consumer or client buying into who you are and not the product. As an entrepreneur I notice that most of my clients are buying into me and not what I am selling. They buy and work with me because they believe in me.

Thanks to Tracy Balan, 25 Careers!

#40 – Build My Dream

Image Credit: Alex Brzozowski

Image Credit: Alex Brzozowski

If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.

I stumbled across this quote years ago and it still resonates with me today. At the time, I was working at a job in what I thought was going to by my career. However, I was no longer feeling challenged and began looking for other options. I had no idea what I was going to be doing next. Should I look into other careers? Start my own business? Then I came across this quote. After reading it I *knew* that I needed to start my own business to build my dream. It reaffirmed all my feelings and gave me the boost I needed to make it happen. Now, I have been operating my business full time for over 2 years. Whenever I begin to question or feel overwhelmed I think of this quote and remember exactly what I am doing and why I am doing it.

Thanks to Alex Brzozowski, Be Organizing & Business Services!

Image Credit: Jordette Singleton

Image Credit: Jordette Singleton

#41 – Dry Run

Failure is a second chance at doing things more intelligently.

Failure is inevitable in business, there is just no way around it. So with all things you have to put it in perspective. Basically, it reminds me that the first time was a dry run, now get up , do it again, and don’t make the same mistake twice.

Thanks to Jordette Singleton, UnitedFront!

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of 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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