Steve Jobs

25 of my favourite startup quotes

Tim Smit with quoteI love quotes about entrepreneurs & startups.  If you don’t then don’t read on.  When you’re in the muck & bullets of an early doors startup it’s a good idea to take time out now & then to read about the experiences of other entrepreneurs that are a bit further ahead than you.  It gives you the push you sometimes need to keep going.

Below are my favourite 25 with a few extras thrown in here & there for good measure.  I haven’t attributed them.  Sometimes it’s hard to know who said it first anyway.  There’s a famous quote that’s attributed to Reid Hoffmann – the one about how being in a startup is like jumping off a cliff & assembling the aeroplane on the way down – but everyone knows that originally started life as a Kurt Vonnegut quote.  A few of them are my own – see if you can spot mine.

  1. Every opportunity is attached to a person
  2. Leap and a net will form
  3. The best startups come from somebody needing to scratch an itch
  4. Surround yourself with people who are better than you – even if that scares you to death
  5. If you want to go fast, start with people you already know; when you’re ready to go far, diversify your team
  6. If the wheels don’t come off, you aren’t going fast enough
  7. Sweat equity is the best startup capital
  8. All startups have to over deliver
  9. Every conversation you have with a paying customer is too short
  10. Better a hole than an a**holeEstee Lauder
  11. Focus on getting to revenue at lightning speed
  12. We can always sleep next week
  13. It’s never about the idea
  14. Just ask; hardly anyone ever says no
  15. When you’re starting out you might not measure much, so be careful what you measure
  16. As an entrepreneur, done is better than perfect
  17. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is today
  18. If you can’t code & you can’t sell then get the f**k out of my way
  19. The only way to do great work is to love what you do
  20. When qualifying your startup idea, your mum is usually the wrong person to ask
  21. If you’re not on the edge, you’re taking up too much space
  22. Your product needs to be a painkiller, not a vitamin pill
  23. Remember that everything in life and in business is about people; successful people work that one out early on
  24. It usually takes 10 years work to be an overnight success
  25. It’s amazing how far just being nice will take you

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Please add your own favourite startup quote in the comments & I’ll look forward to reading them.

25 tips for success for entrepreneurs…and pretty much everyone else

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I’ve been doing a bit of public speaking over the summer & the other day I noticed a number of recurrent themes.  Many are about success so I’ve gathered them together in a list that I’m sharing with you.  It isn’t exhaustive so please add your own top tips via the comments below.  Here we go:

  1. Network, network, network – this is the big one in my book.  Make your network work for you & if you don’t have one, start building it today.  Pretty much everything good that’s happened in my life has come to me from my network.
  2. Keep your eyes and ears open, opportunity is everywhere & if you aren’t paying attention, you won’t notice.
  3. Try and learn something new every day.
  4. Be gracious when things don’t go your way – no-one likes a brat.
  5. Set some goals and get off your arse.
  6. Keep your ego in check.
  7. Let your people (if you have any) get on with things.
  8. Be as generous as you can afford to be with your time, money, knowledge and experience.  Pay it forward & pay it back.  Karma matters.kevin
  9. Make use of your outside brain – or in old money – ask for help when you need it!
  10. Manage your personal & professional cashflow proactively; it makes things a lot less stressful.
  11. Give credit and praise where & when it’s due.
  12. Keep space in your day for some physical exercise – it makes you feel so much better.  I wish I could run but I can’t so I swim instead.
  13. Accept at least half of the random stuff that gets offered to or requested of you (I work on a higher ratio than that – probably about 70%).
  14. Deal with any issues as soon as they arise – don’t let them fester & don’t be confrontational.
  15. Appreciate what you already have – develop your own skills & promote from within whenever possible.
  16. Be aware of how you spend your time.  You may choose not to do things differently, but understanding where your time goes gives you great insight.
  17. Don’t believe your own hype.
  18. Go with your gut & if it feels right, occasionally take a flier on someone.
  19. Work hard – there are no shortcuts – no matter what all those books tell you.Estee Lauder
  20. Always take time to prepare; there’s nothing worse than people who aren’t prepared or who don’t have a plan.
  21. Be grateful.
  22. Be nice.  It takes you a long way.
  23. Embrace your personal stories and those of your team.
  24. Don’t waste stuff and stay scrappy.
  25. Know where your values boundaries lie well in advance of when you need to – and I hope you never have to cross them.

PS I thought of something else that’s important – I always send a hand written thank you card when someone has helped me or done something really special.