If you’re thinking of taking your business to the next level, use these motivational quotes to make it happen.
We asked successful women entrepreneurs about how they scaled their businesses, and this is what they told us. Read on for insights about who to talk to, how to focus, and where you can find most of what you’ll need to get ahead. (Hint: You’ve already got it!)
And if you need some guidance on what to do next with all of this inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Get more small business advice and tips for women entrepreneurs, or tune in to our videos and podcasts.
[Related: How to Stay Inspired When You Really Need a Boost]
1. “Surround yourself with good people.” — JJ Ramberg
The former MSNBC TV host and founder of socially conscious company Goodshop urges others to create a supportive personal and professional community. “If you have people you can trust, whose opinions you value, whose work you admire working with you, it makes all the difference,” she says.
2. “Find a mentor.” — Laura Zander
Have a specific goal in mind? Jimmy Beans Wool owner Zander advises women to take their community-building one step further and seek out people who have already achieved it. “If you have a $10 million business and want to grow it to $100 million, surround yourself with people that have built $100 million businesses,” she says.
3. “Focus on a few things and do them well.” — Divya Gugnani
Don’t become the jack of all trades who is a master of none. It is far more powerful — and profitable — to know your strengths and stay true to your core mission, Gugnani says. “Too many companies lose that special factor because they get caught up in expansion mode and focus on the wrong things,” the investment fund Concept to Co. founder adds. Instead, focus on “be[ing] something to someone.”
4. “Pick a metric and make it go up.” — Sarah Kunst
She didn’t get to be the manager of Cleo Capital by failing to find her focus. Kunst cautions against “chas[ing] so many different ‘next big things’ that we miss the most important part of growing a business — consistency.” To avoid that, pick one benchmark — for example, revenue earned per customer — and “live and die” by it. Success, she adds, will follow.
5. “Lose your ego.” — Emily Blumenthal
Intelligence and work ethic aren’t the only things you need to succeed, Blumenthal says — you also need a thick skin. Blumenthal, founder of Handbag Designer 101, says “it’s never about you, your feelings or how much time, effort and money went into making your product” And, she adds, “that amazing idea that you were able to create? It means nothing if no one wants to buy it.” So no matter what personal hardships you encounter, stay strong and move forward toward your growth aspirations.
6. “Trust your gut instincts.” — El Brown
Yes, the customer should be at the forefront of what you’re doing. And people with experience can, indeed, be a critical learning resource. But you also need to listen to yourself, says education program KinderJam founder Brown. “Develop a filter that will enable you to figure out what best applies to you, and file the rest away,” she encourages. Look inside for what motivates you as an entrepreneur and person.
[Related: Got Goals? Good. Need a Way to Achieve Them? Then Read This]
7. “Be crystal clear about what you’re best at.” — Nell Merlino
The woman behind Take Our Daughters to Work Day encourages women entrepreneurs to think about what makes them, and their businesses, unique. “Is the product or service you are making and selling some powerful combination of new, better and/or different? Write out how your business is new,” says Merlino, who has launched a new movement, Born Worthy. “Spell out and know that there is nothing exactly like your business on the market.”
8. “Ask yourself what you would do if you weren’t afraid.” — Lori Hoberman
Fear can be difficult to overcome. But the founder of Hoberman Law Group wants women to think about what life would be like if fear didn’t exist. When she asked herself that question, she realized she wanted to own her own law firm — then pushed past her hesitations to make that dream come true. Just “make sure that it’s something that you’re passionate about, because if you love what you’re doing, then you’ll figure out how to navigate the inevitable challenges of being an entrepreneur.”
[Related: Starting Up — The Origins of Female Inspiration]