- “Only the paranoid survive.” -Andy Grove
- “You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end.” -Jessica Herrin
- “People are the most important thing. Business model and product will follow if you have the right people.” -Adam Neumann
- “Don’t let others convince you that the idea is good when your gut tells you it’s bad.” -Kevin Rose
- “Don’t get distracted. Never tell yourself that you need to be the biggest brand in the whole world. Start by working on what you need at the present moment and then what you need to do tomorrow. So, set yourself manageable targets.” -Jas Bagniewski
- “If you can offer a free tier that provides a lot of value, it will naturally help your product to spread much more rapidly.” -Melanie Perkins
- “In the age of transparency, honesty, and generosity, even in the form of an apology, generate goodwill.” -Alexander Asseily
Starting your business is like planting a sapling. First, you have to invest your time and money. Then, you must take care of it while expecting nothing in return. But when your startup blossoms, it makes all the patience and hard work worthwhile.
However, like saplings, many startups fail to grow — and many die one-to-three years after launch. While there are many factors leading to the failure of a startup, one of the main reasons is the lack of expert startup advice founders receive.
Experience of a seasoned entrepreneur is precious — and no matter how many theoretical models you study, you simply can’t replace the experience they’ve gained through actually doing the work, failing, and succeeding.
Here are 47 pieces of startup advice from seasoned entrepreneurs to help you propel your businesses in the right direction and stay motivated when you need it the most.
Motivational Quotes for Entrepreneurs
- “People are the most important thing. Business model and product will follow if you have the right people.” -Adam Neumann, Co-founder of WeWork
- “One of the greatest skills of leadership is being unflappable. Anytime you do anything in the world; there’s going to be criticism.” -Arianna Huffington, Co-found and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group
- “When you are building a startup, it’s difficult. Particularly, a startup that is expanding at the rate of Tinder. You have to give 100%, and you have to be committed. Solving the problem has to be personal or else you’re going to disintegrate.” -Sean Rad, Co-founder of Tinder, Inc.
- “If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.” -Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb
- “Selling is not a pushy, winner-takes-all, macho act. It is an empathy-led, process-driven, and knowledge-intensive discipline. Because, in the end, people buy from people.” -Subroto Bagchi, Co-founder of Mindtree
- “Ignore the hype of the startups that you see in the press. Mostly, it’s a pack of lies. Half of these startups will be dead in a year. So, focus on building your business so you can be the one left standing.” -Jules Pieri, Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet
- “It’s important to realize that brand is much more than a logo and slogan. A brand is who your company is: how you function and make decisions.” -Joanna McFarland, Co-founder of HopSkipDrive
- “Do not focus on numbers. Focus on doing what you do best. It’s about building a community who want to visit your site every day because you create value and offer expertise.” -Cassey Ho, Founder of Blogilates.com
- “When in doubt, bootstrap. Using your own personal resources is the easiest way to start a business. You don’t have to convince investors about the merits of your idea. You just have to convince yourself.” -Ryan Holmes, Co-founder of Hootsuite
- “If you are not getting traction on your idea, you try few things. You try pushing harder, cleaning up something, building up to something aggressively — but if it doesn’t get traction, then don’t bother.” -Vijay Sharma, Founder of Paytm
- “Starting a company extracts so much energy and conviction that not having a clear-cut goal and meaningful mission can hamper your success. This is why, at Virta, our mission was clearly defined: reverse early type-2 diabetes in 100 million people by 2025.” -Sami Inkinen, Co-founder of Virta Health
- “If you know too much before the start, then you will get overwhelmed. Come up with an original idea, and don’t copy because there will be no passion. You need that otherworldly passion. Just start.” -Jeni Britton Bauer, Founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
- “Don’t assume that borrowing lots of money can make your startup fly. There are many things to the business other than investors, and it’s possible to succeed with your startup without breaking the bank.” -Barnaby Lashbrooke, Founder of Time Etc.
- “Don’t try to do everything by yourself, but try to connect with people and resources. Having that discipline and perseverance is really important.” -Chieu Cao, Co-founder of Perkbox
- “It’s necessary to find a mentor who can invest time to know your personal capabilities and business model.” -Nigel Davies, Founder of Claromentis
- “Don’t get distracted. Never tell yourself that you need to be the biggest brand in the whole world. Start by working on what you need at the present moment and then what you need to do tomorrow. So, set yourself manageable targets.” -Jas Bagniewski, Co-Founder of Eve Sleep
- “You have to get good at ceding control and not taking things personally. Even seasoned entrepreneurs have struggled with that. I think it’s about not taking failures personally and also not taking successes personally.” -Leila Janah, Founder of Samasource and LXMI
- “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, Co-Founder of HubSpot
- “Your ability to attract, evaluate, and forge strong working relationships with co-founders, early employees, and investors often mean the difference between failure and success.” -Clara Shih, Co-founder of Hearsay Systems
- “If you can offer a free tier that provides a lot of value, it will naturally help your product to spread much more rapidly.” -Melanie Perkins, Co-founder of Canva
- “Fundraising is much easier now because of crowdfunding. Take advantage of that.” -Constantin Bisanz, Founder of Aloha
- “Being a woman in business doesn’t come without challenges. My advice? Surround yourself with other supportive women that encourage you, share ideas, and get you motivated.” -Jessica Alba, Founder of The Honest Company
- “My advice is to focus on the importance of forging a long-term relationship, whether with colleagues, partners, or customers. It is often easy to get caught up in short-term decisions.” -Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder of Care.com
- “If you’re starting something on your own, you better have a passion for it, because this is hard work.” -Sallie Krawcheck, Co-founder of Ellevest
- “Be nicer to your customers than your competitors.” -Richard Reed, Co-Founder of Innocent Drinks
- “Passion, creativity, and resilience are the most crucial skills in business. If you’ve got those, you’re ready to embark on the journey.” -Jo Malone, Founder of Jo Malone
- “If you are working on a product that’s going to be consumer-facing, then feedback is invaluable. You should be out there being brave and talking to people and asking for feedback as much as possible.” -Emily Brooke, Co-founder of Blaze
- “It’s very important for entrepreneurs to look for people in the company who are not afraid of failures, for example, intrapreneurs. They make a business more successful by thinking like an entrepreneur — but within a company.” -Chirag Kulkarni, Founder of Taco
- “Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to ask. I have been in the news many times just by calling on the news channel and asking them about featuring my business.” -Lori Cheek, Founder of Cheekd
- “Remain self-funded as long as possible.” –Garrett Camp, Co-founder of Uber, StumbleUpon, and Expa
- “Start as small as you can. When I started SkinnyMe Tea, I had $24 in the bank, and I was entirely self-funded. If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product; you’ve launched too late.” -Gretta Rose van Riel, Founder of Hey Influencers
- “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, Co-founder of Kiip
- “Don’t let others convince you that the idea is good when your gut tells you it’s bad.” -Kevin Rose, co-founded Digg
- “We learned many things while building FourSquare. One of the most important lessons is to be clear to investors about what the company will and will not do. And be open about the priorities of the things that have to be done.” -Dennis Crowley, Co-founder of Foursquare
- “I can name dozens of failures that we had over the years. Yet, with all these failures, we still managed to build Appster into one of the largest, and best companies in our industry. So, remember every time you fail, remind yourself these words: ‘Life won’t always go my way, but I will always find a way’.” -Josiah Humphrey, Co-founder of Appster
- “If you tune it so that you have zero chance of failure, you usually also have zero chance of success. The key is to look at ways for when you get to your failure checkpoint, you know to stop.” -Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn
- “Some days you’re smiling and thinking you’re going to make this thing rock. Then the next day a pipe breaks and your costs look too high. You have to learn to keep your eyes on an ultimate goal. If you lose sight of that goal, you have to get out.” -Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani
- “If something is important enough, or you believe something is important enough, even if you are scared, you will keep going.” -Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX
- “One of the things I tend to do is open myself up to a variety of voices. I try to expose myself to the kind of culture shock that occurs when you talk to people who speak a different language.” -Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay
- “If you start thinking you are good at something, that’s often the day you stop trying to be better and open the back door for someone to come after you. That’s why we always aim higher. We never feel like we’re done.” –Drew Houston, cofounder and CEO of Dropbox
- “Most of us want to tell our coworkers or friends, or husbands or wives, our ideas. For what reason? We want validation. But I feel ideas are most vulnerable in their infancy. Out of love and concern, friends and family give all the reasons or objections on why [you] shouldn’t do it. I didn’t want to risk that.” -Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx
- “Only the paranoid survive.” -Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel
- “I’m always tweaking, always trying to make it better, constantly moving the levers and dials.” -Steve Ells, founder and co-CEO of Chipotle
- “It starts with not having a hangover with the way things used to be.” -Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour
- “There is something artificial when everyone is agreeing with each other. It’s useful to indulge people who don’t agree, and see their viewpoint or force yourself to explain things better.” -David Sack, founder of Yammer
- “You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end.” -Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of Stella & Dot
- “In the age of transparency, honesty, and generosity, even in the form of an apology, generate goodwill.” -Alexander Asseily, founder of Jawbone
Sometimes, all you need to push through the hard times is a little motivation and a lot of advice. Turn to the mentors in your life, and keep a few of these quotes on standby.