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15 Entrepreneurs Share Their Favorite Inspirational Business Quote

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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 – Doers from Dreamers

Photo Credit: Jennifer Brazer

Photo Credit: Jennifer Brazer

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work. – Thomas Edison. I love this quote because it separates the doers from the dreamers. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer but it’s wise to remember that you are most likely not the only person in the world coming up with your idea, and it’s the entrepreneur who puts the work in that gets to see it come to fruition. In large part, running a business is not glamorous or prestigious, but it is the truly successful CEO that sticks it out during the hard times and the good. Success is for those that do it, not those that want it!

Thanks to Jennifer Brazer, Complete Controller

#2 – Maximize Potential

Photo Credit: Dr. Dean Hart

Photo Credit: Dr. Dean Hart

“When one treats people with benevolence, justice and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.” Sun Tzu. In order to be a successful leader, one has to fully maximize the potential of their employees. Maximizing your employee’s potential means being wise, sincere, humane and, when necessary, strict. Displaying effective leadership in these areas puts your employees in a position to want to put their needs behind those of the company.

Thanks to Dr. Dean Hart, Woodbury Optical

#3 – Embracing Your Fears

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art. I was scared to death when I first considered starting my own business. Previously I worked in a very comfortable corporate setting. However, reading Steven Pressfield’s *The War of Art *pushed me over the edge and gave me the courage I needed to take the leap. This quote so eloquently puts into words what it means to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is about embracing your fears and taking risks. Everyone suffers from some level of self doubt. That’s not the point. The point is to that fear can actually be a good thing, and a sign for a passion you need to pursue.

Thanks to Sophie Knowles, PDF Pro

#4 – Heed Advice

Photo Credit: Marisa South

Photo Credit: Marisa South

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” – Leo Tolstoy. For me, this quote reminds me that I don’t know everything. As I learn new skills that are required to run a successful business, I need to trust and listen to the experts. That doesn’t mean I accept everything blindly, I still ask questions and push myself to be as knowledgeable as possible. The reality though will always be that the people who are stoking the fires everyday have the experience and know how to help me succeed as a business owner.

Thanks to Marisa South,  Vet & Pet Jobs

#5 – Take a Chance

Photo Credit: Catherine Campbell

Photo Credit: Catherine Campbell

“I learned many, many lessons from my father, but not least of which is that you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.” – Jim Carrey. This speech happened just before I was unexpectedly laid off from a stressful yet lucrative job as a marketing director at an agency. Instead of chasing after another stressful job working for someone else, I had a vision of exactly who I wanted to serve and how and why, so I took a risk and launched my own consultancy. Within three months, I had my first round
of clients and the company was profitable. It has grown exponentially year over year, and I now represent amazing sustainable, ethical businesses around the country (and I never miss the chance to have dinner with my family).

Thanks to Catherine Campbell, Bright Planning

#6 – Having a Clear Focus

Photo Credit: John Kelley

Photo Credit: John Kelley

“A startup is more likely to die from indigestion than starvation” – Bill Gurley. As the veteran of four startups, I’ve witnessed firsthand the importance of having a clear focus. It is understandable, though perhaps too easy, for startups to become concerned about revenue generation, and as a result there’s a risk that you constantly add new features and benefits as you chase customers down. This tendency is made even worse when you have a competitor making inroads, which unfortunately can create a situation where you try to mimic their offering (usually poorly), rather than capitalizing on your own value proposition. Bottom line: identify your three most important priorities, make sure the team knows them and understands why they are so critical, then put your heads down and execute. If you really have to add something to the plate, then have an honest dialogue about what is coming OFF the project list.

Thanks to John Kelley, CoachUp

#7 – Be Genuine

Photo Credit: Michelle Garrett

Photo Credit: Michelle Garrett

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou. This is my favorite because I very much believe in being genuinely interested in helping others and in paying attention to how you treat others. It applies in the business world as much as anywhere, because people want to work with those they trust. If you make them feel as though you’re aren’t genuinely invested in getting to know them and helping them–and only in it for yourself–you may live to regret it.

Thanks to Michelle Garrett, Garrett Public Relations

#8 – New Ideas

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – Reid Hoffman. I think this resonates with a lot of business owners, both small and large. When trying to come up with a revolutionary new idea, you hit roadblocks every step of the way, including that fated day when everything seems right and you unleash your idea upon the world. When we released our product, the ATLAS App for Android, we thought we were 100% ready to go. We had been in the trenches for the past year and we were sure that all issues from the beta test had been ironed out. The support we got was overwhelming but with that also came a few staunch critics. Funny thing is, no one even mentioned the seemingly catastrophic errors we noticed shortly after launch so the embarrassment we felt was able to be quickly
remedied in-house. We made patches, created a Q&A based off of the initial responses and kept on trucking. Bottom line is business owners need to constantly improve their product and they cannot let that feeling, that drive, be quelled by a brief stumble out of the gate.

Thanks to Nick Howell, ATLAS Mobile Technologies

#9 – Right Decisions

“I don’t believe in taking right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right.” – Ratan Tata. To me the quote represents the reality and uncertainty that an entrepreneur and businessman has to face everyday. It happens very rarely in business that you have all the time in the world to do thorough research to make the right choices at critical moments. Often, you have to take decisions with very limited information on your hands and go with your gut instinct. What makes those moments worse are the doubts that linger in your mind about
whether you made the correct choice or not. To me these lines from Ratan Tata remind me that, in reality, business is not just about making the right choices but also about following it through with proper execution. Even if the decision or choice you made might not have been the best in the world, following it up with proper execution will maximize the rewards for your business and at worse, it will at least limit any losses arising from it.

Thanks to Abhishek Lal, VedSutra

#10 – People With Passion

Photo Credit: Al Park

Photo Credit: Al Park

“People with passion can change the world for the better.” said Steve Jobs when he returned to Apple in 1997. And he did. It’s absolutely true. The only way to do great work over and over consistently is to love what you do. If you don’t have passion for what you do, then you won’t enjoy what you do and your work will probably be less than great and you won’t feel great about your work. Startup and entrepreneurs’ lives are so daunting that if you don’t love what you do, it would be hard to sustain what you do everyday.

Thanks to Al Park, Reax

#11 – For Dreamers

Photo Credit: Vid Lamonte' Buggs, Jr.

Photo Credit: Vid Lamonte’ Buggs, Jr.

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period. All right?” – Chris Gardner. This quote is my favorite because all through our lives people will tell us what we can or cannot achieve. An entrepreneur/business person will hear no, its impossible more times than the average person. This quote is for the dreamers and the doers; this quote motivates those that follow have find their passion in life and are not willing to give up on it. This quote helps those with a vision with fighting for that others may not understand our visions but that doesn’t mean that achieving our vision/goals are impossible. What if Henry Ford listened to everyone that told him he couldn’t succeed in the automobile industry? So dream on my fellow visionaries and anytime you get down, let this quote guide you.

Thanks to Vid Lamonte’ Buggs, Jr. 

#12 – Making Progress

Photo Credit: Sina Eghrari

Photo Credit: Sina Eghrari

“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr. Some days, I feel so productive, it’s like I’m flying. Other days, it seems like I blink and after a flurry of meetings and conference calls, the day is over. This quotation reminds me that although I won’t be flying every day, as long as I keep making some progress every single day – whatever I may be capable of that day – I will ultimately see results.

Thanks to Sina Eghrari, SocioFabrica

#13 – Change Happens

Photo Credit: Yuri Stegeman

Photo Credit: Yuri Stegeman

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” – John Maxwell. The world we live today has a very fast phase in changing its course. Change happens all the time, either personally or around us. But a business can become stagnant, and we’ve already seen big companies in the 90’s that failed to adapt for the new millennium. We don’t want to be like that. That’s why it is imperative that we choose to adapt to change, to be intentional in every action and to be purposeful in every effort.

Thanks to Yuri Stegeman, PropertyAsiaPH

#14 – The Boss

Photo Credit: Jason Roberts

Photo Credit: Jason Roberts

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the  company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton. Since the very beginning of my entrepreneur career I’ve always tried to put myself in customers shoes and I believe this is the right way to succeed. We at My Handyman Services perform regular studies in order to find out what clients are seeking for and provide them with it on our website. Back in the days there were numerous online marketers who were not interested in what’s important to customers. They only wanted to rank higher in Google and they were using some non user-friendly tactics. Unfortunately, there are such examples even today. Contrary, we at My Handyman Services have one goal- to satisfy clients needs. That’s why we provide only user-friendly content, make the website simple and easy to navigate and of course fast. We know slow websites create an awful user-experience and our IT experts invest time and resources in improving the website speed for all devices. Also, as we know last few years mobile search has overtaken desktop and that’s the reason we have spent a lot of time to improve the mobile user-experience as well. So, at the end of the day we believe that the boss will stick with us and not go to the competitor.

Thanks to Jason Roberts, My Handyman Services

 #15 – Being Scared

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Photo Credit: RJ Martino

“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. Shedd. This quote speaks to every entrepreneur at every stage in business. No matter what stage you are in – it’s scary. When you have ZERO customers, looking to grow revenues or just trying to figure out how to retain the customers you have – IT IS SCARY. But, we can’t live scared. We can’t just sit around waiting to feel good about the future. We have to be innovative and risk that our plans may not work out. So, get out there and get started!

Thanks to RJ Martino, iProv

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