Business success isn’t a straight line upward. Instead, it often looks more like a heart rate monitor, full of peaks and valleys and, in some cases, a few loop-de-loops.
Though, when the going gets tough, successful company owners don’t give up. They just reach deeper inside and find the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Some also find comfort in the words of others, encouraging them to continue moving forward and innovating when others in the field have already given up. Here are a few of the quotes that eight business owners say inspire them most.
“If things are under control, you’re not going fast enough” ~ Mario Andretti, Race Car Driver
“If you wish to have transformational business success, you must continuously embrace opportunities to improve yourself, your team, and business systems,” says Joe Casper, Owner of Casper Funeral & Cremation Services. “We’ve had to face this head-on as our industry is not one that innovates often, but we’ve managed to do so in many ways that have made us much more transparent, more affordable, and more diverse with regard to choices, compared to our competitors. None of that would have been achieved had we simply grown comfortable with our past success and I’d argue, the regional industry benefitted from that transformation as clients are now more empowered and involved than ever before.”
“The real test is not whether you avoid this failure because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” ~ Former President, Barack Obama
“This is one of my favorite inspirational business quotes and it resonates with me,” says Jerry Haffey Sr., Founder of Ambrosia Treatment Center, “because it is vital to understand how to handle one’s negativity in adverse events because your emotions play a crucial role in one’s decision-making process. I strongly believe in order to bounce back from adversity, one must have a positive state of mind. Former President Obama articulates this point across beautifully, which is why it is one of my favorite inspirational quotes to reflect upon.”
“The return on kindness is huge.” ~ Unknown Source
“I have found kindness to be a very powerful tool to build my business,” says Mike Stewart, Founder of Mike Stewart Real Estate. “While I don’t think you should be kind to others solely for the business benefits, as it’s just good to be kind for humanity’s sake, I would be lying if I didn’t mention how effective it is at building fruitful relationships. By treating people kindly, whenever I could, I have created a vast amount of people who see me as a friend and ally in business who will do good things for me when their opportunity comes. Likewise, I’m now their ally and friend and try to assist them whenever I can. Kindness is the first step in developing a community and if you don’t believe me, try using the opposite approach and see how you fare.”
“Customers don’t know what they want until you’ve shown it to them.” ~ Steve Jobs, the late Co-Founder of Apple
“This one gets quoted a lot, and for good reason,” says Nikody Keating, Founder and CEO of Inspired Futures AI, LLC and creator of mytaptrack. “I love this quote because it encompasses two key ideas in entrepreneurship. The first is that customers know what they like, but your ability to build it is not always reliable, so you have to be able to build something that they will want, even if they don’t know it yet. The other is that you won’t know if you have solved a customer’s problem until the customer can use it and give feedback. The customer themselves may not know if their problem is solved until they’ve had a chance to use it. That initial feedback can help you go from a first impression that a customer might like it to something the customer will want to use for the rest of their lives.”
“Work smarter, not harder.” ~ Originally from Allen F. Morgenstern, but made popular more recently by Timothy Ferriss in The 4-Hour Work Week
“This quote has become a mantra in our office,” says Justin Lovely, Personal Injury Lawyer with the Lovely Law Firm. “Running an injury law firm is hard enough as it is, so when you compound the business side of the law, you really need to think smarter and more strategically than your competition in order to stay ahead. I want my staff to always keep this in mind while they work. We have weekly ‘Rockefeller Huddles’ where we go over a win, a stop, and a priority of each staff member. Other staff members can chime in with a way to fix a stop or streamline a process, thereby working smarter and not harder. Constant improvement with this method makes our job easier and gets better and quicker resolutions for our clients.”
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and 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.” ~ Steve Jobs, the late Co-Founder of Apple
“I agree with this fully,” says Mac Fadra, CEO of MAXIM ReGen, “and it makes the long hours of entrepreneurship much more enjoyable than the alternative. Additionally, it’s exciting to be passionate about your work, so why not spend some time finding what you really care about and looking to go into that career field? It saddens me when so many peers and the general public are so dissatisfied with their careers, so I’ve always made a priority to align my passions with my business endeavors.”
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill
“I did a book report on Winston Churchill in 4th grade; little did I know how much inspiration he’d provide to me as an entrepreneur!” says Erika Taylor Montgomery, CEO of Three Girls Media. “Once I started my own agency, I was constantly amazed by how much I didn’t know about running a business. Everything from banking to bookkeeping and HR to taxation were a mystery to me. I can’t count the number of times I was so overwhelmed I felt like giving up – but I didn’t. I surrounded myself with people who were experts in the areas I knew nothing about and focused on my core competencies – marketing and public relations. Building a team of talented vendors that could teach me what I needed to know gave me great peace of mind and the courage to forge ahead with my business. Fifteen-plus years later, I’m glad I heeded Churchill’s words and never gave up!”
Damon Winney, Founder of Jump Realty Inc. finds this quote inspiring as well. “This quote resonates with us because, while we have experienced great growth over the course of our first couple of years, we’re not satisfied as our end goal is to continue to expand and to be even more successful!” he says. “While I’m certain most entrepreneurs relate to that mentality, it’s worth reminding that it’s about being persistent in your efforts and never becoming too comfortable. As the quote addresses, just because you achieved ‘success’ today, doesn’t mean you’ll retain that tomorrow. Likewise, a ‘failure’ today is nothing more than a learning lesson for tomorrow. Keep agile, try tactics and approaches that are outside the box – some work, some do not, but it’s these unique ideas that are driving the business forward and that’s what’s needed now more than ever.”