Entrepreneurship Quotes

Creating Your Start-Up Strategy

The beginning is the most important part of the work.

The time to prepare isn’t after you have been given the opportunity. It’s long before that opportunity arises. Once the opportunity arrives, it’s too late to prepare.
—John Wooden, basketball coach of ten championships teams at UCLA

Competition for the future is competition to create and dominate emerging opportunities—to stake out new competitive space. Creating the future is more challenging than playing catch up, in that you have to create your own roadmap.
—Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad, Competing for the Future

Discussions of Entrepreneurship

There is nothing more difficult to handle, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its outcome, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things.
—Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, 1532

Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.
—Peter Drucker

Entrepreneurship is the ability to create and build from a vision practically nothing: fundamentally it is a human, creative act.
—Jeffry Timmons, professor of entrepreneurship

Discussions of the High-Tech Revolution

Every generation needs a revolution.
—Thomas Jefferson

The further backward you look, the further forward you can see.
—Winston Churchill

Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think that there are no little things.
—Bruce Barton

Getting to the Future First and Winning

We should be entering a most extraordinary era ever this will be lead by the technologies that were put in place in the last half of the 1990s.
—Steve Forbes

The right of any corporation to exist is not perpetual but has to be continuously earned.
—Robert Simons, Harvard Business School professor

The pace of technology doesn’t change, even during recessions, and if you want to be in the business, you have to continue on through the downturns.
—Andy Bryant, CFO, Intel Corp

Discussions of Venture Capital

Capital brings forth living offspring, or at the least, lays the golden eggs.
—Karl Marx

The essential point to grasp is that in dealing with capitalism we are dealing with an evolutionary process.
—Joseph A. Schumpeter

We are here to invest in companies that we believe can succeed, companies with both management teams and purposes that we can wholeheartedly embrace, companies that it will be fun to work with as we build and companies of which we will be justly proud when we succeed.
—Mission statement for J.H. Whitney & Co. in 1946, one of the first formal venture capital firms in the United States

New Business Venture Opportunity and Analysis

Chance favors the prepared mind.
—Louis Pasteur, father of microbiology

Profit is the payment you get when you take advantage of change.
—Joseph A. Schumpeter

I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.
—Mark Twain

Crafting a Winning Business Strategy and Sustainable Competitive Advantage

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.
—Abraham Lincoln

The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, but in what direction we are moving.
—Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

The important things are always simple. The simple things are always hard. The easy way is always mined.
—Murphy’s Laws of Combat

Starting with the Right People and Organization

If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.
—Chinese proverb

When a crew and a captain understand each other to the core, it takes a gale, and more than a gale, to put their ship ashore.
—Rudyard Kipling

Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere!
—President Ronald Reagan

Gathering and Allocating Critical Capital Resources

Skill comes by the constant repetition of familiar feats rather than by a few overbold attempts at feats for which the performer is yet poorly prepared.
—Wilbur Wright

Never buy new what can be bought second-hand. Never buy what you can lease. Never lease what you can rent. Never rent what you can borrow. Never borrow what you can salvage.
—Ian C. MacMillan, professor of entrepreneurship at Wharton’s Snider Entrepreneurial Center

We were always focused on our profit and loss statement. But cash flow was not a regularly discussed topic. It was as if we were driving along, watching only the speedometer, when in fact we were running out of gas.
—Michael Dell

Creating Your Market Entry Strategy

Building a castle is difficult. Defending and maintaining it is harder still.
—Asian proverb

Competition is not really company versus company, but supply chain versus supply chain.
—Warren Hausman, business professor at Stanford University

The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is to invent a distribution channel and a new product category at the same time.
—Dave Brown, former CEO of Quantum Corporation

Creating Your Marketing and Sales Strategies

The entrepreneur all too frequently tends to forget that marketing is key to the success of most businesses.
—Arthur Lipper III

Success is on the side not of the heavy battalions, but of the best shots.
—Voltaire, French philosopher

One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who only have interest.
—John Stuart Mill

Managing the Rapidly Growing Venture

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

You can go into a corner slow and come out fast. Or you can go into a corner fast and come out dead.
—Sterling Moss, Formula-1 racing legend

First year, 1985, $6 million; second year, $34 million; third year, $70 million; fourth year, $159 million; fifth year, $258 million . . . year sixteen, $25 billion.
—From various Dell Computer annual reports

Creating and Managing the Networked Enterprise

The notion of community has been at the heart of the Internet since its inception.
—Arthur Armstrong and John Hagel

It’s all about using your community to support your brand in 360 degrees, multiple channels; everywhere you intercept the user, the stakeholders, and the constituents.
—Denise Benou Stires, executive vice president, global marketing, The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc.

Treat people you do business with as if they were a part of your family.
—Konoske Matsushita, founder of Matsushita Electronics Company
(makers of Panasonic, Techniques, and Quasar brands)

Discussions of Global Expansion

Globalization is inevitable. Technology, the democracy of information, deregulation, economics, and education are seeing to that.
—Mike Eskew, chairman and CEO, UPS

While it is true that a good product knows no national boundaries, there are subtle differences, from country to country and from region to region, in the ways a product is used and what customers expect of it.
—Hideo Sugiura, Honda Motor Co.

The overseas markets are recognized as an essential consideration in today’s venture’s growth strategies as global economies represent new market opportunities.
—Todd G. Szalkowski, Ernst & Young LLP

Financing the Emerging Growth Venture

Success breeds its own brand of capital problems.
—John L. Nesheim, in High-Tech Start-Up

When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it.
—Lord William Thomson Kelvin, British physicist who developed the Kelvin scale

Once we sign the check, we are the team. We consider it our responsibility that our companies never run out of money. We help them hire the right people, and we help them identify the risks and put those risks behind them. If anything, we have been accused of being too involved.
—Thomas Perkins, founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Creating Your Exit Strategy and Exit Goals

The end is where we start from.
—T.S. Eliot, poet

Success generally depends upon knowing how long it takes to succeed.
—Montesquieu, eighteenth-century French philosopher

What George Bernard Shaw said about love affairs is also apt for business: Any fool can start one, it takes a genius to end one successfully.
—William D. Bygrave, professor of entrepreneurship

Putting It All Together and Getting Financed

Simplex veri sigillum
—Latin proverb for “Simplicity is the seal of truth.”

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.
—W. Edwards Deming

You can sometimes fool the fans, but you can never fool the players.
—Jack Stack, The Great Game of Business

Reviewing the Four Cornerstones of Success

Try not to become a person of success but rather try to become a person of value.
—Albert Einstein

Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true.
—John Keats, English poet

The dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.
—Robert H. Goddard, father of American rocketry