Over the years I’ve collected hundreds of inspiring quotes and snippets of advice. As someone running a small business, I find quotes often spark my thinking, provide motivation or remind me of a truth in a memorable way.
In the age of Twitter, everyone’s used to carving thoughts down to only 140 characters, but since I have a little more room, I’ll expand my thoughts on a few quotes to inspire you for 2015.
Rhonda’s Top 15 Quotes for Small Business Inspiration
1. “Energy comes from enthusiasm.” — musician Carlos Santana
The newest addition to my collection of quotes, which I heard on New Year’s Day 2015. As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we’re all enthusiastic and optimistic when we launch our businesses. But in the day-to-day work, and inevitable setbacks, we can lose that enthusiasm and find ourselves unmotivated. As important, we forget to elicit enthusiasm in those who work with us. In 2015, let’s try to consciously keep our energy high by focusing on what gives our work purpose, what sparks our enthusiasm.
2. “Build one business at a time.” — entrepreneur Eugene Kleiner
Kleiner, founder of the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins and one of the founding fathers of Silicon Valley, was my mentor. He is known for having summed up key truths in pithy ways referred to as “Kleiner’s Rules.” This one emphasized the importance of staying focused — don’t get distracted by too many good ideas or opportunities.
3. “A lot of entrepreneurs let ego get in the way. You’ve got to be the conductor. You can’t play all the instruments yourself. You have to get others to work together.” — The Apprentice winner Bill Rancic
Remember, entrepreneurship is team sport. While the media may idealize the sole entrepreneur at the top of a successful business, in reality, he or she didn’t build their company alone.
4. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” — Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
Jobs was known for being a brilliant inventor and designer, but he recognized that “grit” — the ability to stick to something despite setbacks — is a key ingredient of long-term success.
5. “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” — NHL player Wayne Gretzky
6. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” — often attributed to Charles Darwin, but likely a paraphrase by Leon C. Megginson
Both of these quotes remind us that when you’re in business, you have to keep moving. The world keeps changing — market needs evolve and customers’ tastes change, new technology disrupts old ways of operating, competitors emerge. To survive and succeed, you have to see where the “puck” is going and follow in that direction.
7. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” — satirist Samuel Clemens as Mark Twain
Is there a dream you’ve been longing to pursue? A chance you want to take? You may fail, but at least you’ll know you tried.
8. “Nothing will work unless you do.” — poet Maya Angelou
9. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you will wind up somewhere else.” — Major League Baseball manager Yogi Berra
You have to have a business plan. Things may change, but a business plan is a roadmap for your future.
10. “Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.”— former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Many people will discourage you along your entrepreneurial path. Do not let those who cannot help you succeed discourage you.
11. “To be happy you need: Something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to.” — Unknown
I like this quote a lot. I think it reminds us that we constantly need to be engaged in meaningful work and have plans and passion for the future.
12. “The road to success is always under construction.” — comedian Lily Tomlin
13. “Living well is the best revenge.” — poet George Herbert
Don’t hold on to grudges. They keep you from moving on with your life and succeeding.
14. “When bad things have happened to you, just remember GOIMO — get over it and move on.” — Martha Kanter, former U.S. undersecretary of Education.
15. “At the point in life where your talents meet the needs of the world is where God wants you to be.” — theologian Albert Schweitzer
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2015
This article originally ran in USA Today on January 16, 2015