Words to inspire, motivate, and confront

From the pages of In Business magazine.

This June, I had the honor of emceeing the 2015 Dane County Small Business Awards, an annual event that honors the area’s most successful small businesses. As I was preparing for this event, I wanted to present something that would resonate with all of the small business owners and professionals in attendance that day.

I came up with my own Top 10 list of inspirational quotes or motivational sayings from notable businesspeople, which are intended for anyone managing or helping to lead a small business. Since so many IB readers are managers at small- to medium-sized businesses, I’ve repackaged this content here — with apologies to David Letterman.
    10.   “Timing, perseverance, and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”  — Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter
    9.    “You read a book from beginning to end. You run a business the opposite way. You start with the end and then you do everything you must to reach it.” — Harold Geneen, former president of ITT Corp.
    8.    “Grow with discipline. Balance intuition with rigor. Innovate around the core. Don’t embrace the status quo.” — Howard Schultz, CEO and chairman of Starbucks
    7.    “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.” — Peter Drucker
    6.    “Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.” — Angelo Sotira, co-founder of DeviantArt
    5.    “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary!” — Vidal Sassoon
    4.    “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs
    3.    “If you aren’t a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business!” — Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds
    2.    “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” — Thomas Edison
    1.    “Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient, and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer.” — Unknown

You can take away important insights from these quotes, many of which include traits that most successful businesses and leaders must have: perseverance, vision, innovation, a willingness to embrace change, effective management, trust in your staff, integrity, hard work, passion, and the courage to take risks. Which of these traits do you bring to work each day?

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