Owning or running a business is an experience in which you never stop learning. From the day you start to the day you retire, each new customer or client acts as a learning experience. Sometimes it also helps to learn from your “elders,” those individuals who came before you, who have exhibited great leadership, or who have made a name for themselves. Below are some of our favorite business quotes to live by:
“There can be no sacred cows in the world of start-ups.”
-Langley Steinert (TripAdvisor)
Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs have to learn this lesson the hard way. When you’re starting a business, your ego is going to be about as useful as last year’s Christmas tree because when it comes to business start-ups, truly nothing is sacred. If you cling too tightly to your idea of how things will unfold, you’ll quickly find yourself at a standstill.
Being an entrepreneur means – above almost everything else – being adaptable. Aside from your mission statement and overall goals, everything about your business design is probably going to be altered. And in truth, not even those aspects (your goals and mission statement) are safe from change. Locations will be moved, grand opening dates will be pushed back, products will be scrapped, employee duties will be rearranged, and funds will dwindle faster than you’d anticipated. But these are all a normal part of starting a business.
If you can’t accept the fact that things won’t always go the way you’d planned, then you’re going to have a very tough time surviving in the business world, especially as an entrepreneur.
“Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching around for what it gets.”
-Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company)
The takeaway from Henry Ford’s quote is this: Don’t get too comfortable. Even when your business is coasting along healthily, it often helps to still think (and sometimes behave) like a bootstrapping start-up.
Rather than putting up your feet and riding out your success, try thinking like an entrepreneur: How can your business continue to innovate? How can you acquire new customers? In what ways can you make your current customers even happier? What is your competition doing that you aren’t?
Remember, your competitors are waiting for the moment when you stop innovating. They want you to stop developing new products and services so they can overtake your share of the market. Keep them at bay and keep creativity alive by pretending that your business is still at a point where it still needs to “scratch around.”
“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”
– Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway)
This quote from Warren Buffett is reminiscent of the phrase “Hindsight is 20/20.” In the business world, as in real life, it’s always much easier to analyze your mistakes (and successes) after the fact than in the heat of the moment. For those business decisions that you’re less than proud of, it’s important that you train yourself to learn from the experience and then let go.
No matter how successful, everyone wishes they’d done something differently in regards to their business – that they’d pushed harder for a client or taken a risk with a new product. If you spend too much time dwelling on past shortcomings, though, rather than simply learning what you can from them and then moving on, you’ll never be able to move forward effectively.
Although everyone has their own philosophy about what makes a company truly successful, there are certain universal truths in the business world. The quotes above outline some of those truths, so it could prove beneficial for you to take their advice to heart.
Photo credits: Top © Yuri Arcurs / Fotolia. Middle © pressmaster / Fotolia. Bottom © Ken Hurst / Fotolia.
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