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 -Opportunity is Missed
My favorite business quote is from Thomas Edison. Edison said, Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. This is my favorite because it keeps me in a state of mind to always look for opportunity. By being in this state of mind I am able to identify opportunity that other may not be able to. This has helped me to find success is areas that most people aren’t able to.
Thanks to Frederick O Towles, The Towels Group
#2 – Powerful Reminder
“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making some other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” This is said to be by General George S. Patton. I read it in the book Marketing Warfare. I love this quote because it brings a reality check to entrepreneurs. Given how much starting up has been romanticised, people have forgotten that it is a brutally competitive market and one needs to out-think+execute the competition.
Thanks to Annkur P Agarwal, Pricebaba
#3 – Understanding Culture
Zhang and Baker suggest a business person, “Know the Chinese mind so you can prosper!” This quote is taken from Sun Tzu, who once said, “know yourself and your enemy, then you will never lose a battle.” In the many years I have lived and worked in China, I have found that the importance of Chinese business culture should not be underestimated. I have made many mistakes as a foreigner running a company in China, however each mistake has been a learning process that has brought me closer to understanding the way Chinese think and run their businesses. In China, I find that if I do not run into challenges on a daily basis, I am doing something wrong. This quote encourages me to try to see every business situation from the Chinese cultural perspective. It is with this mindset that I have been able to grow my company.
Thanks to Yuri Khlystov, Laowai Career
#4 – Create Art First
“The minute there’s a map, there is no art. Paint by numbers is not art. Paint by numbers is a mechanical activity.” – Seth Godin. I’m a long time business owner but I also consider myself a creative, and so this quote reminds me that to be creative is the first step to achieving my business goals. Some say there’s no business done until someone sells something, however there’s nothing to sell until someone makes something worth selling. Therefore to allow ourselves to be creative must be primary. Many times as business owners we become obsessed with finding the right system, strategy or tool (map) to achieve success, but without a product or service that has our distinctive mark of creativity (art) those systems and strategies are lost on us. I’ll go with Seth Godin and create art first, the business can come after that.
Thanks to Larry G. Maguire
#5 – Never Give Up
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” – Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group. I like this quote as Jack is such an inspiration to me. A guy who rode his bike from the outskirts of Hangzhou to a downtown hotel every day for 9 years to practice English with tourists. He built his business from nothing, with zero tech knowledge. He now owns/runs one of the most powerful and successful Internet-based companies in China, if not the world. He proves that no matter the obstacle, if you have the determination, you can do anything.
Thanks to Candice Rafferty, Tassie Pure
#6 – Poor Quality
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” – Attributed to Many. Because my company is in the creative services industry we put a lot of effort into the quality of our communications and solutions for our clients. We believe strongly in delivering striking, distinguishable, transformative ideas and creative as well as exceptional client service but this can’t be done if you don’t put a premium on it within your company culture. This year alone we have had six fortune 500 companies ask us to provide them with proposals who then decided to go with a less expensive option only to come back a few months later asking us to save their campaigns. In essence the end up paying twice as much for something than they had to. The quote holds up though. You end up holding a grudge against a company or product you bought cheaply and let you down than something you spent money on and you have found the value in. It’s the model of all great prestige brands; Hermes, BMW, Cartier In some ways the quote also translates into the shorter – you get what you pay for.
Thanks to Chris Phoenix, Phoenix Media Group
#7 – No Path
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson. This quote says it all. First of all I don’t believe in competition. I believe people can bring their unique gifts to the world and differentiate themselves through their approach, experiences, and innovative products and strategies. However, to differentiate yourself in business, you have to look for opportunities where people are not looking. You have to find a niche that you can call your own. You have to go where there is no path and become a trailblazer. This quote is something I have embraced since high school. It’s guided me in business and in life and has validated many moves I have made to build my career and now my business. It’s what differentiates CEOs like: Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, JayZ, Marie Forleo and Oprah–and what should light a fire under all of us to go make our unique mark on this world.
Thanks to Seema Alexander
#8 – Start Now
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb. I’m not Chinese, but this quote has shaped me, and my attitude towards achieving my goals. As a 20 year old entrepreneur I have discovered a master game plan. I know that this plan will not fail, because I will not let it. For my entire life, my immigrant father has worked his butt off as a general contractor in the Chicago area. I started to help him out with the business since I have been a sophomore in high school. I encouraged my father to start a Chicago window installation company. We have been in the process of building a reputable, and satisfactory business, where we do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer. For the past 2 years, we have been barely making a profit, however that is starting to change, and the hard work is finally paying off. The quote above means a lot to me, seeing that I am starting now, rather than later.
Thanks to Patrick Aniol, Friendly Windows
#9 – Secrets to Success
When working on your business, it’s so easy to get lost in the speed of everything. Impatience has always been my worst enemy. When I get started on a project, I see it through without pause, and I when I started my business, I expected it to be the same, but as Colin Powell says: There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. There is no sprint in business, it’s a marathon, and you have to constantly and steadily move forward, picking yourself up from every obstacle. There are days when you want to quit, when you feel like every decision you’ve made is wrong, but it’s just not the case. Work hard, overcome hurdles, take some rest, have a little faith, and everything comes into place.
Thanks to Kristen and Frank Pizzo, Bath, Body, and Candle Moments
#10 – No Failure
My favorite business quote is “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” by Thomas Edison. I am not sure exactly where I first heard or read this quote but I believe it was from the book Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Today, I attribute many of my successes to this quote because often times when I am faced with a situation that could result in failure, this quote is always present in my thoughts. This quote gives me the courage to face whatever challenges I am facing head on. Whenever I failed at something, a part of my subconscious goes into the blame game – the I told you so… This makes me feel horrible but another part of my subconscious will say to me, “you didn’t fail, you just learned one thing that will not work, so go try again”.
Thanks to Antonio Crutchley, White House Wedding Photography
#11 – Business, Man
I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man – Jay-Z. This often quoted line speaks to the power of personal branding. As a popular musician, Jay-Z has been well positioned to develop numerous business ventures and partnerships hinged on the strength of his personal brand. Jay-Z’s personal brand has been so well crafted and marketed that his brand equity has earned him partnerships and business ventures well beyond the realm of music. Jay-Z is a business, man because his personal brand has become a catalyst for new market entry, new product launch and growth in a myriad of industries. The bottom line: Whether you are a famous musician or a local business person, developing a strong personal brand is a critical factor to long-term success.
Thanks to Adam Binder, Creative Click Media
#12 – Like a Tree
A lot has changed since I started my company in 1983. As our firm grew, balancing my personal and professional life became a big challenge. On top of a long commute, I had three young children at home. I was keeping my focus on the business strategy and growth, and I was keeping up with their lives, including very active sporting schedules. I was lucky in that I had a supportive spouse and a very organized schedule. And, at the heart of it, the key to managing my professional and personal life all boiled down to staying grounded and finding a balance. Knowing when to burn the midnight oil, and also when to turn off your phone and just be with your family. That’s why I really can relate to the quote from Angela Farmer: “Like a tree, you have to find your roots, and then you can bend in the wind.”
Thanks to Beth Tucker, KNF&T Staffing
#13 – Keep Looking
The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. Steve Jobs- Stanford Commencement speech 2005. This is one of my favorite business quotes because it speaks to the human yearning of finding our passion and living our bliss. Look around you and tell me how many people do you think are actually doing something they love? When asked, most of the time, people will tell you they are at this, or that job, that they hate because it pays the rent. Or that they really do not know that their passion is. But that is only a function of not knowing ourselves. So, I bid you to explore and do different things until you find what you love to do. Once you find it, you will know it because you would do it, even if you weren’t paid to do it.
Thanks to Anabelle Alarcon, Alarcon PR
#14 – Being Happy
Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou. To me, this quote inspires you to be happy at work. It may sound like a funny skill to have, but being able to generate your own happiness is key. Employers are investing less and less in talent as people change jobs more quickly. You are the number one person responsible for being happy at work, and most people aren’t. In fact, Gallup says that 52% of Americans are unhappy at work, while a staggering 70% hate their current jobs. Your manager, HR department, and CEO don’t have your happiness on their to-do list today, so make sure it’s on yours!
Thanks to Ben Brooks, PILOT
#15 – Good Things
My favorite quote is “Good things come to those who wait.” – Nayobe. I began this company working out of a local Panera Bread in Edison, NJ. Every day for almost two years, I was the first to arrive at the Panera in order to ensure that I’d be the one to get the booth near the outlet. I’d ask anyone seated around me to watch my stuff as I got up to buy endless amounts of coffee, and I’d bring the store new customers by inviting interns to work alongside me. Though it wasn’t the most luxurious of circumstances, my dedicated team & I were able to eventually work ourselves out of the very generous Panera Bread and into our very own office in Linden NJ. We have come a long way since our struggling Panera days, and while we are still very much a startup, we continue to grow on a daily basis. We believe that our success comes from our patience. Great opportunities can’t always be planned, strong teams aren’t always easy to find, and meaningful relationships take time to develop. Ultimately, success can’t be rushed, and those willing to wait it out are the ones who will see the most of it.
Thanks to Joshua Weiss, TeliApp