Looking for business tips and advice that’ll pack a punch (but are easy to digest)?
In this post, I’ve compiled 27 of my favorite business quotes and broken them down, one by one, into practical lessons for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
This is one you’ll want to bookmark… so let’s jump right in!
1. Deep Work is the Key to Success in a Distracted World
“Deep work is so important that we might consider it, to use the phrasing of business writer Eric Barker – ‘the superpower of the 21st century’” — Cal Newport
The ability to perform deep work — spending uninterrupted time with complete focus on the task at hand — is becoming increasingly rare (in our loud, multi-tasking world) at exactly the same time it’s becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who nurture this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive!
The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to maintain a state of unbroken concentration.
I recommend scheduling your deep work sessions in your calendar! Also, pick up a copy of Deep Work... I can’t recommend it enough.
2. Leverage Your Unfair Advantage
“The secret of business, especially these days, is to focus relentlessly on your unfair advantage: the thing you do that others don’t.” — John Rollwagen
What do you do that your competitors do not? What skills do you or your team members have that they lack?
These are your competitive advantages. Leverage them.
3. Don’t Fear Failure
“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” — J.K. Rowling
If you try and fail 99 times, it ultimately won’t matter if attempt 100 is a success. So don’t fear failure. Embrace it. Treat it like a stepping stone on your path to success.
4. Embrace the Detours
“Life rarely takes the path we think it will take. All too often, it sends us on detours filled with potholes, road construction, and pedestrians who refuse to use crosswalks. But here’s the thing: Some of life’s greatest opportunities are in the detours.” — Kevin J. Duncan
Don’t be so busy complaining about the bumps in the road that you fail to notice when opportunities present themselves. Your next business opportunity could be on the other side of the detour.
5. Work on the Right Thing
“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” — Caterina Fake
“Work smarter, not harder” is a common expression. It’s true too. You can be the best ditch digger in the world, but if you’re digging a hole in the wrong location, all you’ve done is waste time.
6. Love What You Do
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” — Albert Schweitzer
If you genuinely enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll always be successful. This success may not always be obvious, and it may not show itself in your bank account, but it’s there.
Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s cliche but it’s true.
7. Learn From Others’ Mistakes
“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” — Sam Levenson
Failure is a great teacher. If you’re the one to fail, wonderful. But learning from the failures of others is almost as good.
8. Know You Can’t Please Everyone
“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure: Try to please everybody.” — Herbert Bayard Swope
If you try to please everyone (every customer, every employee, your family and loved ones, etc.), you’re doomed to failure. You’ll please few of them, if any, and your business (not to mention your mental health) will suffer for it.
9. Do Something Valuable
“It’s more effective to do something valuable than to hope a logo or name will say it for you.” — Jason Cohen
Having an inspiring brand design and catchy business name are great, but they mean little if your business isn’t offering anything of value to people.
10. Do the Things That Scare You
“What we fear of doing most is usually what we most need to do.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
If it scares you, there’s a good chance it’s something you need to conquer in order to reach the next level.
11. Never Stop Advertising
“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” — Henry Ford
If advertising is a crucial component of your lead generation efforts, stopping to do it so you can “save money” is shortsighted at best, and detrimental to your business’s long-term survival at worst.
12. Focus on People
“No matter how many customers you have, each is an individual. The day you start thinking of them as this amorphous ‘collection’ and stop thinking of them as people is the day you start going out of business.” — Dharmesh Shah
Behind every carefully-researched business avatar are thousands of individuals with hopes, dreams, aspirations and fears. As your company grows, never forget this fact.
13. Be Focused
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” — Bruce Lee
Minimizing distractions and focusing on the task at hand is a sure-fire way to differentiate yourself from your competition. That’s because it’s surprisingly difficult to do.
14. Stop Waiting for Perfect
“The stars will never align, and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.” — Tim Ferriss
If you wait for the stars to perfectly align, you’ll never get started — whether it’s starting a business or scaling it to the next level.
So, stop waiting for perfect. Get started. Tweak and refine as you go.
15. Look for Hidden Opportunities
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill
It’s not impossible for a pessimist to succeed but it’s exceedingly difficult. If you’re a pessimist, work on changing your attitude and outlook. Even if you’re only able to dip one toe into the “optimist waters”, you’ll discover opportunities you never knew existed.
16. Start Today
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb
Stop putting off the thing you know you should do. Learning that new skill? Creating that new product? Redoing that sales funnel? Whatever it is, stop procrastinating. Get started on it.
17. Learn to Take Life’s Punches
“At some point or another, life punches everyone in the face. The punch may be hard, or it may be soft, but it’s definitely coming, and your success or failure is largely determined by the answer to a single question: how well can you take the punch?” — Jon Morrow
It’s not a question of “if” you or your business will fail because you will. The question is what you’ll do when it happens.
Will you fold? Or will you get up and keep pressing forward?
18. Be Really Freakin’ Good
“Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” — Anthony Volodkin
Being good is better than being buzzworthy.
19. Build Trust
“If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” — Zig Ziglar
If your employees and customers trust you, they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth. That’s why it’s important to build trust — and avoid doing anything that could break it.
20. Expect the Unexpected
“As a founder, lay all the possible scenarios — from best to worst — in front of you, so you don’t get surprised when something happens.” — Brian Wong
It’s great to be an optimist, but as an entrepreneur or business owner, you need to prepare for the possibility that things won’t work out the way you hope or expect.
Think through scenarios, plan accordingly, and you’ll rarely (if ever) be caught flatfooted.
21. Be Greedy (and Fearful)
“You try to be greedy when others are fearful. And you try to be fearful when others are greedy.” — Warren Buffett
It’s great advice for the stock market and for businesses too.
22. Don’t Worry About “Winning” and “Losing”
“To be a successful business owner and investor, you have to be emotionally neutral to winning and losing. Winning and losing are just part of the game.” — Robert Kiyosaki
If you’re too focused on your losses, you’ll miss the wins that are around the corner. The opposite is true too. You need to quickly forget the wins, quickly forget the losses, and focus on the next task at hand.
23. Don’t Chase Success
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” — Henry David Thoreau
Don’t chase success. Roll up your sleeves, work hard and let it find you.
24. Take the Path Less Traveled
“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” — Frank A. Clark
Don’t hunt for an audience that no one else is serving. The chances that you’ll find a needle in the haystack are extremely slim. Instead, embrace the obstacles — go where there is already competition. That way you’ll know there is an audience to be served.
25. Protect Your Time
“Every day is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one is rich, no one is poor, we’ve got 24 hours each.” — Christopher Rice
Each of your competitors, whether they’re big or small, has the same amount of time each day as you do.
It’s a level playing field — perhaps the only one. Use it to your advantage. Don’t be careless with your time and don’t partner with those who are careless with theirs.
26. It’s Okay to Be Small
“You don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.” — Larry Page
Many entrepreneurs and business owners believe they need a large workforce in order to bring their idea to life. But, except for unique situations, that simply isn’t true.
When you’re small, you can be more flexible and agile. Take advantage of it while you can.
27. Know That It’s Okay to Ignore Advice
“I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” — G.K. Chesterton
Just because a business tip, piece of advice, trick, hack or strategy works for some doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.
Always listen to advice, especially when it’s respectfully and sincerely offered by a trusted source. BUT don’t be afraid to take your own path!
Which of These Great Business Tips is Your Favorite?
Be sure to let us know in a comment below!
And if there are any business tips we missed, go ahead and share them. If it’s a really good one, I may add it to this list 🙂
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