Launching a startup company is a major undertaking that can be both terrifying and exhilarating. It’s important to avoid getting overwhelmed by taking a step back once in a while to gain some perspective.
Here are some wise words from successful entrepreneurs who have traversed the volatile startup realm and come out on top:
"If you never want to be criticized, for goodness' sake don't do anything new."
—Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder)
"When you innovate, you've got to be prepared for everyone telling you you're nuts."
—Larry Ellison (Oracle founder)
"When I first started Alibaba, I was immediately met with strong opposition from family and friends. Looking back, I realized that the biggest driving force for me then was not my confidence in the Internet and the potential it held, but more of this: ‘No matter what one does, regardless of failure or success, the experience is a form of success in itself.’ You have got to keep trying, and if it doesn't work, you always can revert back to what you were doing before."
—Jack Ma (Alibaba founder)
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"There's an entrepreneur right now, scared to death, making excuses, saying, 'It's not the right time yet.' There's no such thing as a good time. I started an apparel-manufacturing business in the tech-boom years. I mean, come on. Get out of your garage and go take a chance, and start your business."
—Kevin Plank (Under Armour founder)
"Don't think you are unstoppable or foolproof. Don't think that the only way your business will work is through perfection. Don't aim for perfection. Aim for success."
—Eike Batista (Brazilian business magnate)
"I think that's the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself."
—Elon Musk (founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX)
"I think in business, you have to learn to be patient. Maybe I'm not very patient myself. But I think what I've learned the most is be able to wait for something and get it when it's the right time."
—Bernard Arnault (founder of Louis Vuitton, Moet, and Hennessy)
Working Hard (Even When You Fail)
"I'll let myself obsess over things. To get GoPro started, I moved back in with my parents and went to work seven days a week, 20 hours a day. I wrote off my personal life to make headway on it."
—Nicholas Woodman (GoPro founder)
"The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow."
—Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA founder)
"Failure is not the outcome – failure is not trying. Don't be afraid to fail."
—Sarah Blakely (Spanx founder)
Staying True To Yourself
“I think pretty much every startup founder reaches a point at which they have to ask themselves, ‘Why in the hell am I doing this?’ Don't lose sight of what it is that drove you to become an entrepreneur and start your business in the first place.”
—Larry Kim (WordStream founder & CTO)
"Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
— Steve Jobs (Apple founder)
"Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you're trying to do more than just make money."
—Tony Hsieh (Zappos founder)
"I've found that as long as you're fundamentally good – as long as you're not being bad to people – people give you a lot of room to be yourself, because being yourself is being honest. And that's what people want to see."
—Andrew Mason (Groupon founder)