10 Quotes That Will Make You Think Like the Best Entrepreneurs

The world loves a good entrepreneur. In times of recession or prosperity, entrepreneurs propel our economy forward.

They’re an impressive bunch, the “builders,” as Gallup calls them. The consulting firm used its decades of data to identify 10 talents that the best entrepreneurs foster in themselves to take the world by storm.

How important are these traits? Considering that true builders are four times more likely to create positions and exceed profit expectations than their counterparts, I’d say they’re absolutely essential. These quotes from successful leaders illustrate Gallup’s 10 entrepreneurial talents, and you can use them to become the strongest builder you can:

1. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

–Steve Martin, actor, comedian, writer

Martin alludes to the issue of confidence. Without the ability to know your skills and to count on yourself, you can’t possibly expect others to put their support in you.

2. “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”

–Bill Gates, Microsoft founder

The sooner you learn to delegate, the sooner you’ll rise to the top. No entrepreneur can do it all. Those who understand how to depend on others will succeed.

3. “Knowing that things could be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better.”

–Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

Sandberg understands that even when the chips are down, she can still move forward an inch at a time. That’s where we find the determination to persevere when things get tough.

4. “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

–Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder and CEO
Disruptors don’t accept the status quo. They strive to do and be more. If Jobs and his founding partners hadn’t envisioned something beyond the here and now, we wouldn’t all be connected by the phones in our pockets.

5. “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”

–John F. Kennedy, 35th U.S. president

Entrepreneurship is a chance to start something that is uniquely yours. It requires a commitment to independence in executing your vision and forging a new path.

6. “Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization. I’ve never forgotten that.”

–Indra Nooyi, chairman and former CEO of PepsiCo

Builders constantly improve their knowledge, whether formally or informally. This could mean waking an hour earlier to educate yourself on industry trends or enrolling in an online course. The key is to never sit still.

7. “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.”

–Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s

When Thomas envisioned Wendy’s, he was going against stiff legacy competition. Yet it didn’t deter him from bringing what he felt was a better product to his target customers. He observed a need for a new type of fast food, and he brought it to market because he anticipated its profitability.

8. “Arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him.”

–Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People
Selling is about developing relationships with others, whether clients, investors, employees, or co-founders. Entrepreneurs must connect socially with prospective buyers, wooing them with must-have goods and services.

9. “There is the risk you cannot afford to take, and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take.”

–Peter F. Drucker, management consultant and educator

When you’re in a high-risk environment, do you automatically flee? Or do you weigh your options without giving in to full-blown risk aversion? Entrepreneurs cultivate the wisdom necessary to know when to leap–and when to stay grounded.

10. “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.”

–Estée Lauder, co-founder of Estée Lauder Companies

This is the difference between a maker and doer. The latter is the spokesperson who takes the product to market and is suited to selling the company’s vision.

Feel as though you’re scoring fairly high in each of these areas? You might be able to join the ranks of builders around the world. Cultivating relationships and persevering with determination are my biggest strengths. They’ve enabled me to get to where I am today.

On the other hand, I constantly struggle with setting aside time and energy into learning more. Don’t worry if you’re not as proficient in some of these talents as you are in others. With a bit of determination and spirit, you can improve your skill sets, find partners that complement your talents, and head out in search of success.

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Stella Densmore