25 Quotes from Entrepreneurs to Help You Get Your Idea off the Ground

Starting your own business is like planting a new garden. There’s an upfront investment of time and money. Early on, you must take constant care of it while expecting nothing in return. After a time, your idea blossoms, making your patience and effort worthwhile.

However, just like a garden, many startup companies fail to grow and do not make it past their first 2-3 years. There’s a multitude of reasons why a startup business may fail, including raising investment capital, not being able to capture a critical mass of customers, and a lack of advice and mentorship from entrepreneurs who have found success.

To help you find the inspiration to turn your idea into a business, here’s what 25 company founders and business leaders told Business News Daily about what they think makes a truly successful entrepreneur.

  1. “Entrepreneurship is at the core of the American dream. It’s about blazing new trails, about believing in yourself, your mission, and inspiring others to join you in the journey. What sets [entrepreeurs] apart is the will, courage, and sometimes recklessness to actually do it.” – Derek Hutson, president and CEO of Datical
  1. “Entrepreneurship is a pursuit of a solution, a single relentless focus on solving a problem or doing something drastically different from the way it is done today. [It’s] aiming to do something better than it’s ever been done before and constantly chasing improvement.” – Blake Hutchinson, CEO and small business expert at Flippa
  1. “Entrepreneurship is … the constant hunger for making things better and the idea that you are never satisfied with how things are.” – Debbie Roxarzade, founder and CEO of Rachel’s Kitchen
  1. “At its core, [entrepreneurship] is a mindset – a way of thinking and acting. It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value. Fundamentally, entrepreneurship is about … the ability to recognize [and] methodically analyze [an] opportunity and, ultimately, to capture [its] value.” – Bruce Bachenheimer, clinical professor of management and executive director of the Entrepreneurship Lab at Pace University 
  1. “The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who possess grit. Grit is made up of persistence, passion, and resilience. It’s the passion to achieve long-term goals, the courage to try again in the face of rejection, and the will to do something better than it has been done before. The most successful entrepreneurs tend to be gritty ones … they do not give up until they exceed their goals. When the going gets tough and they get knocked down, gritty entrepreneurs bounce right back up and try again.” –Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation
  1. The ability to listen, whether it be to the opinions of customers or employees, is also integral to success. While … you must have the confidence to make your own choices, it is still incredibly important not to become detached from the people whose needs you are trying to meet.” – Tirath Kamdar, founder and CEO of TrueFacet
  1. “Being an entrepreneur is like heading into uncharted territory. It’s rarely obvious what to do next, and you have to rely on yourself a lot when you run into problems. There are many days when you feel like things will never work out and you’re operating at a loss for endless months. You have to be able to stomach the roller coaster of emotions that comes with striking out on your own.” – Amanda Austin, founder and president of Little Shop of Miniatures
  1. “To be a successful entrepreneur, you must have a passion for learning – from customers, employees, and even competitors.” – James Bedal, president and CEO of Bare Metal Standard
  1. “Entrepreneurship is, fundamentally, the art and science of building profitable systems to help people in ways that other systems do not. The core competency of the entrepreneur is not business acumen or marketing ability but rather empathy – the ability to understand the feelings and needs of others.” –Logan Allec, CPA and owner of Money Done Right
  1. “Being a successful entrepreneur also means being a good leader. Leadership is the ability to bring people to a place where they want to follow you, not feel like they are forced to follow you. This takes investing in your team personally. They must know you’re not only going to hold them accountable and drive them to be better but [you will] also look out for them when they are struggling. It’s not transactional, it’s a relationship.” – Steve Schwab, founder and CEO of Casago
  1. “Entrepreneurship is the ability to recognize the bigger picture, find where there’s an opportunity to make someone’s life better, design hypotheses around these opportunities, and continually test your assumptions. It’s experimentation: Some experiments will work; many others will fail. It is not big exits, huge net worth, or living a life of glamour. It’s hard work and persistence to leave the world a better place once your time here is done.” – Konrad Billetz, co-founder and co-CEO of Offset Solar
  1. “A key skill an entrepreneur must possess is self-awareness. An entrepreneur must know who they are and what they need. Self-awareness is the first step for an entrepreneur to build their team.” – Krystal Nelson, founder of Impakt Consulting
  1. “[Entrepreneurs] have to be people-oriented. Your business will die without a good team to back you up. Study management techniques, learn from great leaders, [and] review where you’re succeeding and failing so you can help others improve. An entrepreneur has to be able to build a team that cares about its work and to do that, you have to care about how you create your team.” – Jonathan Barnett, president and CEO of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning
  1. “To be a successful entrepreneur, you need perseverance. Most successful business people or entrepreneurs have never given up on their idea. When challenges arise, they have found innovative ways of overcoming them. You must be able to adapt to changing economic conditions, and innovate and embrace technological advances to keep your customers engaged. These things take determination and a strong focus on the end goal.” – Stacey Kehoe, founder and director of communications of Brandlective Communications
  1. “Entrepreneurship is the mindset that allows you to see opportunity everywhere. It could be a business idea, but it could also be seeing the possibilities in the people who can help you grow that business. This ability to see many options in every situation is critically important; there will be unending challenges that will test your hustle.” – Preeti Sriratana, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Sweeten
  1. “Entrepreneurs and business owners definitely need to get used to taking risks … You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Trying to grow a company or execute on an idea is difficult. It’s not always going to be roses and unicorns. At some point, you’re going to run into issues, lose customers and have financial constraints. It’s at this point you need to get back on the horse and take another risk, whether it’s in the form of a new product, new marketing campaign or a new customer recruitment strategy.” – Mathew Ross, co-founder and COO of Slumber Yard
  1. “Successful entrepreneurs look past [the] ‘quick buck’ and instead look at the bigger picture to ensure that each action made is going toward the overall goal of the business or concept, whether or not that means getting something in return at that moment.” – Allen Dikker, founder and CEO of Potatopia
  1. “Being an entrepreneur is ingrained in one’s identity. [It] is the culmination of a certain set of characteristics: determination, creativity, the capacity to risk, leadership and enthusiasm.” – Eric Lupton, president of Life Saver Pool Fence Systems
  1. “Entrepreneurship is an unavoidable life calling pursued by those who are fortunate enough to take chances. [They are] optimistic enough to believe in themselves, aware enough to see problems around them, stubborn enough to keep going, and bold enough to act again and again. Entrepreneurship is not something you do because you have an idea. It’s about having the creativity to question, the strength to believe and the courage to move.” – Jordan Fliegel, managing director of Techstars
  1. “You may need to also be a bit of a contrarian. Sometimes it takes a person who thinks differently than the herd to start something new and defy the odds.” – Akshay (Asher) Khanna, founder of CareClinic
  1. “Entrepreneurship is seeing an opportunity and gathering the resources to turn a possibility into a reality. It represents the freedom to envision something new and to make it happen. It includes risk, but it also includes the reward of creating a legacy.” – Maia Haag, co-founder and president of I See Me! Personalized Books and Gifts
  1. “An entrepreneur must be able to accept failure. Everyone thinks they can accept failure until they come face-to-face with failing at a major thing they have put their everything into. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be someone who is able to risk failure at the deepest personal levels.” –Steven Benson, founder and CEO of Badger Maps
  1. “[Entrepreneurs] must be able to pivot. If something isn’t working, keeping at it won’t make you successful. But changing your approach, changing your business model, changing your plans to make it work is the power of the pivot. You’re adaptable regardless of what’s thrown at you.” – Michael Maher, chief idea officer of Matters of the Cart
  1. “Entrepreneurship is about always moving forward: never stopping, never allowing self-doubt or fear to take over, and believing wholeheartedly that even a wrong decision is better than no decision.” –Adam Sherwin, founder of Viakix
  1. “Entrepreneurs are the dreamers and the visionaries. Without them, the world stagnates and progress stops. Society needs entrepreneurs the same way the body needs air.” – Cynthia Kirkeby, founder and CVO of Seasonally Fresh

By Max Freedman. Paula Fernandes contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7275-entrepreneurship-defined.html

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

By Tara Malone
Tara Malone Assistant Director, Career Development, Stamford Campus Tara Malone