Have you ever read something that made you want to get up and do something productive? It’s usually followed by thoughts of all the ways you are going to accomplish your goals and improve as a person but then those thoughts usually seem to die down after a day or two. Entrepreneurs and Startup CEOs don’t have this luxury of being able to let the motivation behind their vision or dreams just die down. About 3 out of 4 startups fail and every day in the life of an entrepreneur is a roller coaster of emotions with top-of-the-world highs and rock-bottom lows. Entrepreneurs need to be persistent, focused and able to never lose sight of their original vision.
An excellent way to help entrepreneurs maintain their focus is to have a quote or saying that can trigger them and be the fuel that pushes them to carry on. These quotes do not have to come from famous CEOs or inspirational figures, as long as they can trigger the motivational urge that entrepreneurs need on a daily basis. Here are the top quotes that help motivate entrepreneurs:
1. “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company” – Booker T. Washington
2. “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team” – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder
One of the first steps that you should take if you’re an entrepreneur, is to find a partner that you can trust. This person is going to be the person that you spend the majority of your time with. Every person has their strengths and weaknesses and it is paramount to find a partner that can balance out the areas that you could use help in. Furthermore, your business partner should be able to visualize exactly what the finished product or service will look like.
3. “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t” – A student in Warren G. Tracy’s class
4. “Have the end in mind and every day make sure you’re working towards it” – Ryan Allis
The key word here is vision. As an entrepreneur, you should always keep your eye on the prize, and never stray from the original vision that inspired you to start your own company in the first place. Your vision should always be the key determining factor for every decision that is made. The goal that you have set for yourself is what you need to think about at all times; it should be the first thing you think about when you begin your work day, and the last thing you think about before you go to sleep. Progress should be measured through the question, “Have I moved a step closer to my goals after today?” If you stay focused and dream about how good it will be in the end, while you are suffering through the early stages of your startup, you will one day reach the “promised land”.
5. “Every day in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better be running.” – Christopher McDougall
This quote is a fancier version of the phrase “Survival of the fittest.” and yes this quote can basically relate to anybody, but nonetheless, when an entrepreneur wakes up every morning, they need to have that hunger and strive to get out there and survive. The instinct of survival is found deep inside every human, even through all of the luxuries we have that may spoil us. If an entrepreneur can constantly have the mindset where they feel the pressure of their competitors on them, it could be the motivation needed to keep working hard at all times. The feeling of having to do what you are doing in order to survive is one of the strongest motivators that exist, and that hunger and strive can be what separates you from the rest.
6. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most responsive to change” – Charles Darwin
This quote by Charles Darwin is a perfect segway from the Christopher Mcdougall “survival of the fittest” one. There is no room for stubbornness in the startup world, just ask BlackBerry. Companies need to be able to adapt to new technologies and be able to do so in a timely manner.
7. “The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect” – Adam Osborne
8. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas Alva Edison
One of the most crucial events that occur in the ‘starting your own company’ process, and also in all of life, is failing. We all need to fail or make a mistake from time to time to be able to learn more about ourselves. Almost every influential or successful figure has gone through a ton of failures in their lifetime. Being able to learn from your mistakes is something very important to attaining success.
9. “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” - Winston Churchill
10. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once” – Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox
It is very important for entrepreneurs to understand that no company gets the perfect formula to success on their first attempt. Just because things are not going your way, and there are a plethora of issues with your brand, is no reason to be discouraged. Entrepreneurs need to be incredibly confident, persistent and determined; they are the leaders of their companies and therefore cannot show signs of despair.
11. “He who begins many things finishes but few” – German Proverb
Learn how to manage your time. This doesn’t mean to try and finish as many tasks as you can as fast as possible, but rather to prioritize and focus on what issues need to be handled first. If you want to accomplish something correctly, you need to give it all of your focus and attention. Handling one thing at a time ensures that it is completed to the best of your abilities. If you multi-task and give 60% of your attention to one project, 30% to another task, and 10% to something else, then all three of those tasks will not be done right. This may sound counterintuitive to some, but understand that success does not come overnight. Great things take time and effort, and you should feel pride in every project you take on. So even on days where you feel like you are pressed for time, make sure to do one thing at a time because it is wiser to accomplish 2-5 tasks a day and be confident that they were completed correctly, rather than to accomplish 15 tasks and have them all be done half-heartedly.
12. “Get big quietly, so you don’t tip off potential competitors” – Paul Rand
13. “Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO
Make sure you bring a slice of humble pie with you on your journey to the top. Just because your company has had some early success is not a reason to flaunt or boast about your achievements – don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched! Practice humility and patience, and continue improving quietly before a competitor finds your idea and creates a better and faster version of it. Just as Frank White (Denzel Washington) says in one of my favorite movies American Gangster, “You’re too loud, you’re making too much noise. Listen to me, the loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.”
14. “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow” – Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea Founder
15. “When you cease to dream you cease to live” – Malcolm Forbes
Even when you feel like you have made it and accomplished your goals, never stop thinking of ways to make things better or improve your products or company. The moment you stop having dreams and setting goals for yourself is indeed the moment you cease to exist. Keeping your mind busy and focused on achieving something is one of the healthiest things that anyone can do, and it is essential for entrepreneurs who should already have the mindset that anything can always be improved.
These quotes can be incredibly useful in a world filled with countless distractions and clutter. It’s important to have an arsenal of phrases or sayings that can help us get refocused and back on the path to our dreams. For entrepreneurs and startup CEOs this type of inspiration is paramount.
Basically, your startup company should be your life. You should live and breathe it. You should feel like you are married to your business partners, and as if your employees are your family.