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25 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- You don’t know what you don’t know

Photo Credit: Laurel Mintz

I believe in the power of asking. My favorite quote, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” is relevant in all aspects of life. Let’s face it, you don’t know what you don’t know, so ask. How you show up in the world is important. You are a journey; not a destination. Every risk that you take is one step closer to success. Beyond that, every risk taken is a memory, experience or life lesson that ultimately defines who you are and why. Be aware of your influence and adapt to advice.

Thanks to Laurel Mintz, Elevate My Brand!

#2- You can’t talk your way out of a situation you have behaved yourself into

Photo Credit: Mike Goossen

You can’t talk your way out of a situation you have behaved yourself into – Stephen Covey. I wish understood this back when I was the CEO of a $10 corporation. I was accused of not caring about the people I led. It was far from the truth, from my perspective. But my trusted assistant confirmed this was how people felt about me. Although it   wasn’t pleasant to hear, I was glad she did. Turns out I was “too busy” doing what I thought was best, when all the team wanted was a chance to talk to me. No matter how much I SAID I cared, or many contracts I won, or raises I gave, it wasn’t until I changed my behavior and took the time to talk with those around me that I was I able to repair the relationships. So I keep this quote in mind to never make that mistake again.

Thanks to Mike Goossen, Columns 4 Success!

#3- For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return

Photo Credit: Andy Seavers

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return- Leonardo da Vinci. I’m a pilot, and one of my favorite hobbies is flying. It’s one of the few  activities that can completely take my mind off of business and onto something relaxing. This quote means so much to me because it’s representative of how I feel as a successful entrepreneur. Now that I have tasted that life of success, it is where I long to be and what I strive to continue to achieve.

Thanks to Andy Seavers, Taste!

#4- It takes time for rice to cook

Photo Credit: Adham Sbeih

My favorite quote is “It takes time for rice to cook”. It was told to me by one of my mentors. It can apply to business as well as life. Oftentimes we want immediate results: You come up with an idea–a new product, a new sales approach, a new process–and often the results do not follow  immediately. It takes patience and perseverance, just like cooking rice. If you give up too quickly you won’t see any results, but if you continue and allow the process, product, or new approach to mature, then the results can be revolutionary for your business.

Thanks to Adham Sbeih, Socotra Capital!

#5- Two-fold Credit and Employees are the Most Important Parts of Your Business Success

My favorite business quote is two-fold Credit and Employees are the Most  Important Parts of Your Business Success. Having great credit saves you and your business money on insurance and interest for lending and buying power allowing you to purchase the supplies and materials needed to be a successful business. A dollar saved is a dollar earned. The horizon has no limit with great credit, therefore, your business will receive wonderful opportunities. Having great employees makes all the difference in your success. They are the face of your company image so you need to make sure you have the right team in place. Great employees are the difference in meeting deadlines, keeping customers content, and will always meet and exceed the quality expectations of the customers.

Thanks to Jake Beiler, J&N Structures!

#6- Don’t get greedy. You can’t lose by taking a profit

Photo Credit: Blair Koch

“Don’t get greedy. You can’t lose by taking a profit.” What famous person said these fine words? My dad! He shared this with me back in my 20’s after I had helped take a company public. At the time, it was a bit of a conundrum for me to determine when to sell shares and how to know when the stock would be at its peak. The don’t get greedy phrase was crucial then, and I apply it to this day.

Thanks to Blair Koch, The Alternative Board (TAB)!

#7- The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience

Photo Credit: Chris Boling

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. – Eleanor Roosevelt. This quote is the epitome of our advertising and unique air media business. We live our lives to the fullest and our business is no different. We regularly paint and explore outside the box embracing newer, richer and more unique experiences for us, our clients, their brands and their customers. This energy is what drives our core model, and without it our company would stagnate, grow old, and ultimately
wither on the vine.

Thanks to Chris Boling, Boling Air Media!

#8- If you can only see obstacles, you have taken your eye off the goal

Photo Credit: Christy Lamagna

My favorite business quote is, ‘if you can only see obstacles, you have taken your eye off the goal,’ which is a paraphrase from Henry Ford. As the CEO and Master Strategist of Strategic Meetings & Events, a corporate event planning organization, I need to stay focused at all times. Obstacles take many forms; the illusion of not having enough time in the day is actually a result of taking one’s eye off the goal as if we restrict our time to only things that will advance our plan to achieve our goal, ancillary tasks will be eliminated. As a master strategist, my world is full of details, people and situations competing for attention that all have the ability to distract me. Knowing what to address, how much time to give it, what to ignore and remembering not to devote emotional energy to a professional issue keep me goal, not obstacle or distraction focused. When applying this principle to my work, everything else falls into place.

Thanks to Christy Lamagna, Strategic Meetings & Events!

#9-  Never confuse activity with achievement

Photo Credit: Andrew Schrage

One great quote that probably was not initially meant in a business sense but certainly applies was uttered by John Wooden, a famous basketball coach. The quote is never confuse activity with achievement. Basically this means that you should not confuse efforts with results. This quote  should be helpful and inspirational to most entrepreneurs because it highlights the importance of working smart and not just hard. After all, you can certainly burn the candle at both ends and work at your small  business for 80+ hours per week, but if you aren’t really getting anything done, where are you at the end of the day? Small business owners should schedule each work day with what needs to get done, what needs attention but can wait, and add in a few items to get to on slower days. The best way to do this is to write out a daily To Do list. That way, you always know what you’re supposed to be doing and when, and you’ll be ensured of working productively at all times.

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!

#10- Fall seven times, stand up eight

Photo Credit: Rune Sovndahl

One of my favourite quotes, or should I say Japanese proverbs, that’s been used in reference to entrepreneurship is Fall seven times, stand up eight. This is the sort of attitude that every entrepreneur needs to develop and nurture if he or she is in for the long run and aims for the stars. Success does not come easy. Success will make you work for it, and work hard I mean. Being in this line of work for over 8 years, I have learned that one should have the perseverance, stamina, and determination. A true entrepreneur can never give up, no matter what the market throws at him, no matter what pranks the competitors play on him, no matter how tough the going gets. You should push your skills further than they can take you – learn and improve yourself constantly. You should push yourself beyond your comfort zone because that is where the real comfort lies. Every entrepreneur should learn to accept failure because through failure we learn, we improve, we grow. Failure might make you feel small, minuscule even. But it shouldn’t be a reason to quit. It should be the drive that pushes you further towards your goals and towards your business success.

Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!

#11- Do what is right, not what is easy nor what is popular

Photo Credit: Gideon Lipnickas

“Do what is right, not what is easy nor what is popular.” ― Roy T. Bennett Life would be boring if you only chose the easy way. Popular decisions lead to popular choices that stop you from creating something new and unique. I do believe we have to go the hard way as everybody can go the easy one. When something looks impossible at the first sight, ask other professionals to help you out. It’s really rewarding to achieve something that you considered unthinkable at first.

Thanks to Gideon Lipnickas, New Concept 180!

#12- The only real mistake is one from which we learn nothing

Photo Credit: Chris Griffiths

My favorite business quote was said by Henry Ford:‘The only real mistake is one from which we learn nothing.’In business, as in life, it is important to understand that failure and success are part of the same process. The way you react to your mistakes will ultimately sculpt your identity and your business. The two are not opposites, and mistakes  shouldn’t be shrugged off, nor should they be seen as a hindrance on your journey to success. Analyse what went wrong. Continue to ask questions and challenge assumptions, don’t just accept things for how they are. We are all always still learning. Failures are unequivocally important to becoming successful. You can, and you should, learn from your mistakes.

Thanks to Chris Griffiths, OpenGenius!

#13- The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed

Photo Credit: Bob Ellis

*Provide Value* The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed. – Henry Ford. I love this quote because it epitomizes what every business owner and company should strive for: to offer the best value. It’s about maximizing the value you provide to your customers. It sounds so simple yet it’s hard to execute. It requires you to do things the right way, even when nobody is looking. Ultimately, companies that offer customers the best product or service for their money are the ones that stick around over the long term. Cutting corners doesn’t work and only gets you into trouble down the road. The more you do your job the right way by overdelivering and exceeding expectations, the more successful you will be in business.

Thanks to Bob Ellis, Bavarian Cuckoo Clocks!

#14-  Influence is just persuasion in slow motion

Photo Credit: Beth Bridges

Influence is just persuasion in slow motion- Robert McKee. As a student of networking, influence, and persuasion, I’m always looking for simple ways to explain, teach, and put these different activities in perspective. This quote by Robert McKee very simply explains one aspect of the difference in these vital social skills. It also emphasizes to me the value of telling compelling stories in business because Mr. McKee is one of the most influential  screenwriting lecturers in the country whose devotees include the likes of Peter Jackson and Pixar.

Thanks to Beth Bridges, The Networking Motivator!

#15- A man may do an immense deal of good, if he does not care who gets the credit for it

Photo Credit: Stephen Babcock

​​“A man may do an immense deal of good, if he does not care who gets the credit for it.” Father Strickland, Jesuit Priest*In business, you simply can’t do every single thing that needs to be done yourself to make your organization successful. You must hire the best people and give them the latitude to do what they need to do. The problem many managers make is getting excellent work from their people, but then taking the credit for it. That’s poisonous for the long-term success of the company and, frankly, the manager too. No one wants to do good work and then have someone else take the credit for it. Do it to your best employees enough, and they will find someone else to work for. That philosophy is as true today as it was
when written in 1863.

Thanks to Stephen Babcock, Babcock Partners!

#16-You will never find rational men on the peaks of tall mountains

Photo Credit: Rares Crisan

You will never find rational men on the peaks of tall mountains. This was told to me very recently by someone, so I don’t know who said, or how they said it, but it evokes a great thought. There are only two types of people that climb mountains, the very determined and the very stupid. There is no rational reason to chase high peaks, they are dangerous, full of unknowns, and can very well lead to death. You climb a mountain because it is an opportunity to see the world from a unique perspective that few every will. As is the case with business, sometimes dumb luck can bring you to the top; following a bold idea that looks dumb at every corner until you’re at the peak. However, more often than not the right skills, effective planning, and relentless drive will take you to the top and a transition from the former to the later is always key for long term success. That being said, whatever got someone to the top, being rational wasn’t the first decision.

Thanks to Rares Crisan,  Logojoy!

#17- Give your BEST instead of giving the REST

Photo Credit: Michael J. Maher

One of my favorite quotes is actually a poem that I have hanging in my office. It reminds me of the big picture and keeps me grounded when my mind is going a million miles an hour. It reminds me that competition isn’t my biggest challenge but compassion is. I need to give as much to my family and personal life as I do to my business. Give your BEST instead of giving the REST.

Thanks to Michael J. Maher, Referco!

#18- Bring your whole self to work

Photo Credit: Jill Stanley

Bring your whole self to work. I don’t believe we have a professional self Monday through Friday and a real self the rest of the time. It is all professional and it is all personal.

Thanks to Jill Stanley, PROOFwithJillStanley!

#19- I am strong because I have been weak I am fearless because I have been scared I am wise because I have been foolish

Photo Credit: Paige Arnof-Fenn

This quote really resonates with me, it is paraphrased from the Bible I think:
I am strong because I have been weak
I am fearless because I have been scared
I am wise because I have been foolish
It is an important reminder to me and my team that stumbling is part of the  journey to success. As an entrepreneur you just have to keep going and pick yourself up and be smarter every time you get up and try again. It was true for Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Sara Blakely and it is true for me too! I started a global marketing firm 16 years ago.

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

#20-The Chains of Habit are too light to be felt, until they are too heavy to be broken

Photo Credit: Brandon Wheeler

‘The Chains of Habit are too light to be felt, until they are too heavy to be broken’ – Warren Buffett. This quote represents the very nature of those who win in life and those who don’t. People are always looking for the secret sauce, but guess what? It doesn’t exist! Success come from developing top-level habits and turning the wheel for extended periods of time. There is a large dichotomy  between those who are rich and that are truly wealthy. It’s the good habits that you develop that will (to some degree) guarantee a happy joy-filled life. Warren goes on to say that the only difference between his life and those of your average human being is the way in which he travels long distances…everything else stays the same (the way we eat, what clothing we wear, our home, toys, enjoyment of life, etc.) and he is one happy and wealthy man!

Thanks to Brandon Wheeler, Gulf Beach Weddings!

#21- If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses

Photo Credit: Daniel Passov

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” ― Henry Ford This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. It really shows how important it is for an entrepreneur to be a visionary. Although we do listen to our customers to solve their needs and wants, they may not alwayshave the vision of what is possible. When an entrepreneur has a vision, many people may think (s)he is crazy, but at some point the vision will become a reality and people will buy into it.

Thanks to Daniel Passov, Greek U!

#22- The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night

Photo Credit: Dr. Edward A. Alvarez

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This is not specifically a business quote, but it is something that I live by and run my business by. Everyone sees the success, but they never see the hard work and sacrifice that went into creating that success

Thanks to Dr. Edward A. Alvarez

#23- Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it

Photo Credit: MJ Pedone

Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it..The reason why this is one of my favorite quotes is because it gives me inspiration every time there is any type of obstacle. There is always a solution to any problem and you just have to figure it out. Challenges are great because it makes you stronger and the outcome once you figure it out is the sweet taste of victory.

Thanks to MJ Pedone, Indra Public Relations!

#24- Whether you own a restaurant or construction company, every business is the same. The only thing that changes is the product or service you sell

Photo Credit: Eric N. Klein

Whether you own a restaurant or construction company, every business is the same. The only thing that changes is the product or service you sell . ….Eric N. Klein This is a great quote I use when speaking to clients or groups in that almost every small business owner sees their business and business problems peculiar to themselves, but they fail to see the big picture. I explain to business owners that every business has receivables and payables; each business has shrinkage whether it is theft of product from the shelves or clients/customers who do not pay. Every business has to make a sale…

Eric N. Klein,  Klein Law Group!

#25-  It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it

Photo Credit: Robert R. Johnson

My favorite business quote is from Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett who said It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. No matter what business you are in, your reputation is your most important asset. Burnishing your reputation is of utmost importance and has become much more important in the internet age. A five second search can disqualify individuals from career opportunities. You need to safeguard your reputation and focus on ethical business practices.

Thanks to Robert R. Johnson, The American College of Financial Services!

What’s your favorite quote? Tell us in the comments below.

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