7 Inspirational quotes that will change your business

There are several inspirational quotes that have affected me and my business and if I could have read and made sense of any one of these quotes ahead of time then it would have benefitted me and my business earlier.  All I can do now is read them, relate to them, recognise them as wise words that reign true and share them with you.   Let me know what you think of them.  WOW or just plain rubbish?

Inspirational Quotes that will change your business

1. “Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.” – Brian Tracy

Making a good decision can reap the rewards of power, opportunity and success but the task of making a decision, any decision, good or bad is far more important. Making a decision is what yields power, opportunity and progress because it assigns responsibility. 

Whether the outcome of a decision is good or bad is ultimately a 50/50 chance.  Whatever knowledge and intelligence you can apply to that decision will better those odds (or maybe not) but the fact that you made a decision and acted on a set of options it is the crucial skill.

Be a master at taking responsibility and be confident enough to make a decision regardless of the outcome and you’ll change your business and life for the good overall.

2. “Good artists copy, great artists steal?” – Pablo Picasso

A sure-fire way of making something good is to just replicate something else which is already good.  We do it when we follow a recipe to try and make a meal and we do it in business when we copy competitors or industry leaders. 

There’s nothing wrong with copying at all.  It’s a good solution to any problem and one of the best ways to educate ourselves, however, copying, particularly in business could also be seen as mimicking and unoriginal, and that’s why stealing instead of copying is the best way to solve any problem.

When you steal something, you’re not copying, you’re taking it and making it your own.  To successfully do that you need to tweak, change, reform and develop it further until it becomes a new, solid and original idea itself.  In the end there won’t be any sign of replication.  It’ll be a great new idea that belongs to you.

As a designer I can relate to this quote maybe more so than a non-designer because copying and stealing is a core skill within my line of work (how else do you think I come up with this stuff!) but the lesson taught in this quote applies to any innovator doing business in any sector. Don’t copy and come off as a mimic, steal things by making them your own!

3. “You have to read between the lines with this stuff.  All the money is made between the lines.” – Jonah Hill as Efraim Diveroli in the move War Dogs

Inspired by true events, the film War Dogs follows two twenty-somethings who start an arms business in a sector in which they have no experience in and win government contracts to become multi-millionaires.  How did they do it?  They read between the lines of sales leads, focusing on contracts that disinterest competitors and capitalising on what each client really and truly wanted from their contract.

I’ve found the above quote to be a nugget of wisdom which is undeniably true within my own business because it’s helped me to win big projects myself.  Whether I’m doing a government tender application or replying to an enquiry from a small startup, the key to the sale is between the lines of communication.   To reword: The key to the sale is what other competitors overlook or what the brief doesn’t specify.

Briefs are finicky things, more often that not, a requirement but by reading between the lines you can figure out what the potential client actually wants or doesn’t want.  It’ll also reveal whether you have any chance of winning the job at all.  

Learn to read between the lines, especially with contracts, tenders and enquiries in order to reveal the real opportunity of the sale, if any because that’s were the sale will be made…. between the lines.       

4. “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” – Benjamin Franklin

As a slow and steady perfectionist, I love researching and planning. Unfortunately, those traits are juxtaposed by my optimistic, relaxed, and sometimes gung-ho character.  Both sets of traits have led me to successes and failures in both my business and everyday life but the failures specifically came because I didn’t use enough of each trait to accomplish the task.  Looking back, I simply wasn’t diligent enough overall.

In business, it’s not good enough to be a good planner but take no action.  Likewise being a risk-taker without any insight into what you’re doing is going to lead to slow and poor results.  You might get lucky but why not make your own luck.  Be diligent in big tasks.  Apply yourself and your whole skillset to exert a true and good effort in whatever you’re doing to better your chances of success.  In doing so your mood, business, outlook and work ethic will improve, along with results. Don’t be lucky in business, be diligent.    

5. “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee

When I started by business many years ago I never would have thought that:

  • I would be technically managing websites and not just building them
  • I would be charging clients monthly as oppose to a one off payment/service
  • I would be creating full brand strategies for clients not just designing their logos
  • I would be paying for software as a subscription
  • I would be blogging and writing more than I design documents

Every year something changes in my business because I make it so! But that doesn’t make me special, it’s a necessity to stay in business.  If you want to keep trading then be like water my friend. Embrace change and adapt.

6. “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” – David Ogilvy

A few years back, there was a new trend emerging with the latest Television sets.  It was curved TV screens designed by Samsung and this feature was pronounced as the latest and best version of a television experience for your home.  The problem was that very few people actually went out and bought one.  Why? It just wasn’t that creative! It’s just a curved screen!…and nobody believed they would benefit from it. 5 years later curved screens have vanished from the marketplace. 

Creativity, as defined in the dictionary, is : relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something.

That definition is right in life but when it comes to commerce, the word creative should be defined as: relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something THAT INNOVATES.

In business, creativity needs to solve a problem and in order to solve a problem you need to be creative. If it’s not selling, make it more creative.

7. “Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever you were gonna do anyway.” – Robert Downey Jr., American actor

Despite the wisdom, glory and intelligence that comes from the quotes above, the people who said it and my own interpretation, the best piece of advice you’ll probably ever get is from yourself.  Don’t be ignorant and ignore everything everyone says to you.  Take in every bit of information from any person that you can but be bold enough to trust yourself in business and do what you think is right.  Be bold, be creative, be diligent.  Look between the lines and make a decision.  Be like water my friend and you may find that your own thinking was the best way and one day you can turn that experience into an inspirational quote too!

If you apply all of the above I guarantee it will change your business for the better.

 What do you think? WOW or load of old tosh?

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