5 Quotes that can profoundly change your business


As a business owner, it’s way too easy to get bogged down in the day to day challenges. Sure it’s important to put out fires but it’s equally (or more) important to think about the big picture and where you’re taking things.

One way to get inspired and to challenge your thinking – or at least get a different perspective, is to find a quote that resonates with you. Often someone else can put into words those ideas that are bouncing around your head.

Here are 5 quotes that get to the heart of business success.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders.  Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”  – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Imagine having a team of great employees who were as excited about what you’re building as you are. Going through the motions of work, just doing what has to be done is how most businesses operate…but if you want to be special, you need a team that yearns for the vast and endless sea.


“High expectations are the key to everything.”    – Sam Walton

If there’s someone who knows a little something about success, then I’d put Sam Walton high up on that list. I love this quote because it applies to how you think about yourself and the type of people you want to have around you. It’s a lot of work to consistently live up to high expectations – but that’s what it takes to succeed. And if you’re surrounded by people who believe and buy into that, then you’ve got the chance to do some amazing things.


“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”           – Steve Jobs

Anyone can build something complex. In fact, chaos theory pretty much dictates that things will become more complex over time even if you don’t intend them to. Simplicity has a magic about it – whatever it is that you do, if you can simplify it down so people just ‘get’ it, then you’re onto something. You can’t scale your business successfully without first simplifying it.


“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.”    – Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

This is another quote that has different levels to it. It’s important advice when you’re building your business because the only way to really get ahead is to focus on the most important things.  There are a million things you could work on, but only a few of them will actually move you forward.  And then of course there’s the clear message (from a dying man) on how important it is to think about your life and everything in it and to think about what’s really important. Are you spending your time on what’s important today?


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”    – Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

According to Pew research, over 50% of the US Population read less than 5 books last year (23% didn’t read any). As a business owner, or a business professional who’s trying to get ahead, a huge part of your job is to get smarter every single day. And if you’re not plugged into some form of continuous learning (and reading would be the easiest way to do that) then you’re not going to be successful over the long run. It’s as simple as that.

What do you think? Do these 5 quotes that challenge your thinking? What’s one of your favorite quotes – one that would have a profound impact on a business success?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach