Starting your own business is a daunting task. And keeping your established business moving forward can be just as challenging.
To get over the many hurdles starting and running a business presents, entrepreneurs need to stay productive and push through.
If you need a little motivation to keep grinding away, here are 16 entrepreneurs’ favorite quotes on productivity in the workplace.
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”
This Peter Drucker quote drives home a point we make every day when discussing strategic planning and execution with our clients. Your ideas are not actionable plans until you make the commitment to provide effort and budget, set measurements, define what a successful outcome looks like.
In business, it’s not enough to have ideas, want success and hope for good luck. You need a solid plan with a commitment to execute the steps of that plan. Too many modern businesses focus on planning (talk about it) or execution (just do something, this is how we’ve always done it) and north the two concepts working in tandem. Once the two ideas are given equal focus, a business can achieve great success.”
- Kyle Golding, CEO and Chief Strategic Idealist of The Golding Group.
“There are three 8-hour workdays in one 24-hour day. Pick which two you want to work and you will be successful.”
“No quote rings more true when it comes to starting and running your own business. My grandfather, a successful entrepreneur, always told me that he wasn’t the smartest guy but was never outworked.”
- Gene Caballero, Co-Founder of GreenPal.
“Sharks always move forward.”
“For me, my biggest problem as an entrepreneur is that I want to perfect things. That stops me from being productive and actually moving forward. This quote reminds me of how important it is to not sacrifice productivity for perfection.”
- Ed Brancheau, CEO at Goozleology, Inc.
“Never mistake motion for action.”
“Ernest Hemingway’s quote reminds me to productive on the right things. You can’t say you’re productive if you’re doing something just to do something. You need a goal to work toward.”
- Stephanie Foster, Home With the Kids.
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
While seemingly simple, this Henry Ford quote encompasses an incredibly complex idea. All tasks and projects, regardless of their finished size and scope, are really just a collection of smaller tasks. Too often, we would see our team get ‘task freeze’—which is to say, they would fail to start a project not because they were lazy, but because the sheer scope of the task would cause anxiety.
To help alleviate this, we have implemented a project management training program, which begins with the Henry Ford quote above. Being productive means being able to identify, prioritize, and execute the thousands of little tasks that make up the greater sum of your work. No doubt as the first individual to mass produce automobiles, Henry Ford understood this concept better than almost anyone else.”
- Kelly Bertog, Founder of Six-Figure Sponsorships.
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
“This John F. Kennedy quote reminds me of the importance of making decision and taking action. As a business owner you are going to make mistakes, but you need to be decisive. Delaying decisions often has negative consequences down the road and hurts your productivity.”
- Robert Ellis, Owner of Massage Tables Now.
“The most important ‘speed’ issue is often not technical but cultural. It’s convincing everyone that the company’s survival depends on everyone moving as fast as possible.”
“This Bill Gates quote is one of my favorite quotes about productivity because it highlights the importance of building the right company culture. Your team needs to move with a sense of urgency to get things done. This often comes down to hiring the right people and embracing speed.”
- Saloni Doshi, Owner of EcoEnclose.
“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”
“This Will Rogers quote is a favorite of mine. Entrepreneurs can have rough days, weeks, or even months, so it’s important to be able to learn from your mistakes and then have a short memory about what went wrong the day before. Your focus always needs to be forward so you can get the next win. If you’re looking backwards, it’s difficult to seize the next opportunity.”
- Max Brown, Founder of Silicon Beach Talent.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
“This is Walt Disney quote is my all time favorite. We all procrastinate, make excuses, and beat around the bush sometimes. Walt Disney simply tells you to shut up and do it. Talk is cheap—action speaks louder than words.”
- Teana McDonald, Founder of 3E Connections, Inc.
“Good is great, but perfect is too much.”
“This is my favorite quote about getting things done as an early stage business. There is often the temptation to try to get things extra perfect when you’re releasing what you’ve got to the world. But as an early stage business, you need to create something good and then iterate and improve as you move forward. It’s a mistake to be a perfectionist every step of the way.”
- Marty Spargo, Co-Founder of REIZE Energy Drink.
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.”
“This Steve Jobs quote has long resonated with me in the workplace. I love this quote because I am a firm believer in how strong teams elevate businesses to success. At the end of the day, an entrepreneur needs to be able to transition from wearing all of the hats to passing those hats off to capable team members so that they can step back and focus on pursuing new ideas and thoughts that will continue to carry them forward as innovators in their field.”
- Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.
“Doesn’t matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full. All that matters is that you are the one pouring the water.”
“This Mark Cuban quote means that I am in control of what happens (and doesn’t happen) in my business, to always move forward, and, of course, be the one holding the pitcher!”
- Pamela Jeschonek, Founder of Designmyniche.com.
“Work smart, not hard.”
“It’s important as an entrepreneur or small business owner that you maximize every efficiency possible. Otherwise, you can easily fall into working 24/7. This is also achieved through outsourcing what you don’t have time for personally.”
- Jennifer Guimond-Quigley, Attorney at Law and Owner of Law Office of Jennifer Guimond-Quigley.
“Two kinds of players ain’t worth a damn: One never does what he’s told, and one who does nothin’ but what he’s told.”
“This is a football quote from Bum Phillips, but I think about it a lot when it comes to my business. Obviously it’s bad when an employee won’t take direction—but the second point is what’s interesting. If someone only does as asked, that can be equally unproductive. An employee, like a football player, needs to know when to improvise, when to think outside the box, and even needs to know when to be slightly rebellious.”
- Michael Mason, Owner of Perfect Chaos Films.
“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”
“This Zig Ziglar quote shows that, when it comes to productivity, it’s so important to have a plan. When you have clear plan for your business, you can control its fate. You can keep a close eye on progress and always be accountable. A solid plan will guide success and dictate wins!”
- Christy Cook, Founder & CEO of Teach My.
“You can do extraordinary things when you are patiently persistent.”
“This is a quote from Jeff Goins’ recent book, Real Artists Don’t Starve.
A lot of people want to get work done in huge chunks. However pacing yourself and working consistently is better than rushing to build the next Rome… in a day.”
- Gertrude Nonterah, Chief Writer & Owner at Nonterah Digital Media.
There you have it—16 favorite productivity quotes to help you keep plugging away.
What quotes inspire you to be productive? Share them in the comments!