Advice For Small Business Owners From the Best in the Business

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Sometimes it’s best to sit back and let the pros do the talking. That’s exactly what we’re going to do today, looking at quotes taken from some of the most prolific and impactful figures in the business world. 

They cover things like grit, establishing your why, building a team around one central purpose, and how you can work smarter… not just harder. 

Warren Buffet once said that “the best advice to a small business owner – or a large business owner, for that matter – is to never stop thinking about how you can delight your customer… not to satisfy your customers but to delight the customer.” 

“When you wake up in the morning, start thinking about it. During the day, think about it. At night, think about it, and then dream about it… No company has ever failed that had millions of delighted customers, and you start with them and you start with them, and you get them one at a time.” 

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, weighs in with a focus on grit, determination and hard work. “There’s no substitute for hard work… people say luck, yes, but the harder you work, the luckier you get.” 

“The best time you’re ever going to have is when it starts out just you, and it’d be great if it grows into a wonderful big profitable company, but you’re never going to be happier and more satisfied than you are in your first year or so of getting your business going… You do every single thing. You sweep up when everyone goes home, you’re the first one in, plugging in the coffee pot so when you’re people come in, they can get straight to work.”

Lloyd C. Blankfein, former Chairman and CEO of banking giant Goldman Sachs added that “you need to be close to your products and close to your customers. You need to think about them- that’s most important. Don’t forget to think about your business: what your plans are, what you want to do next, how to take your business to the next level.”

“Think about being in your business, but think about your business, as well.”

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square says that “my best advice is to really work hard on clarifying what your purpose is.”

“To be able to articulate that, and be able to communicate it, in a simple sense. The reason why that’s important is because, as you bring people into your company, I think the most important question you can ask them is ‘Why are you here? Why do you want to join this company?’

“If you hear that purpose back, and hear that passion around their purpose, it makes everything a whole lot easier… any skill can be learnt or taught, but passion can not.” 

Professor at the Harvard Business School, Michael E Porter says that “companies that do well at some level – even though it might not be written down on some piece of paper – need to have a clear strategy of why they’re different, why they’re producing something special that customers need and they’re not getting now.”

“If there’s a clear sense of strategy, and you can get all the people aligned around that, then you get a whole lot more power than if you just scramble and work harder and harder without that clear direction.” 

Kerry Healey, President of the Babson College added that her advice is to “not be discouraged if the business you end up with is not the one you start out to pursue.”

“So often, you encounter difficulties and failures, and the important piece is to learn from each of those very quickly and to pivot and move onto the idea that works.”

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