It's like planting a seedling when it comes to starting a business. You must first commit your time and money. Then you must look after it with no expectation of anything in return. But when your business takes off, all of your patience and hard work will be rewarded.
Many businesses, like saplings, fail to flourish and die one to three years after their inception. While there are numerous elements that contribute to a company's failure, one of the most common is the absence of experienced startup advice received by founders.
A seasoned entrepreneur's expertise is priceless, and no amount of theoretical models you study can replace the experience they've obtained through really doing the work, failing, and succeeding.
Here are 51 bits of startup advice from successful entrepreneurs to help you get your business off the ground and stay inspired when you need it most.
1. "If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life." -Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb
2. "One of the greatest skills of leadership is being unflappable. Anytime you do anything in the world; there’s going to be criticism." -Arianna Huffington, Co-found and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group
3. "When you are building a startup, it’s difficult. Particularly, a startup that is expanding at the rate of Tinder. You have to give 100%, and you have to be committed. Solving the problem has to be personal or else you’re going to disintegrate." -Sean Rad, Co-founder of Tinder, Inc.
4. "Success depends on employees. For me knowing and connecting with my employees is very important." -Divine Ndhlukula, founder and managing director of DDNS Security Operations Ltd
5. "Selling is not a pushy, winner-takes-all, macho act. It is an empathy-led, process-driven, and knowledge-intensive discipline. Because, in the end, people buy from people." -Subroto Bagchi, Co-founder of Mindtree
6. "Ignore the hype of the startups that you see in the press. Mostly, it’s a pack of lies. Half of these startups will be dead in a year. So, focus on building your business so you can be the one left standing." -Jules Pieri, Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet
7. "It’s important to realize that brand is much more than a logo and slogan. A brand is who your company is: how you function and make decisions." -Joanna McFarland, Co-founder of HopSkipDrive
8. "Do not focus on numbers. Focus on doing what you do best. It’s about building a community who want to visit your site every day because you create value and offer expertise." -Cassey Ho, Founder of Blogilates.com
9. "When in doubt, bootstrap. Using your own personal resources is the easiest way to start a business. You don’t have to convince investors about the merits of your idea. You just have to convince yourself." -Ryan Holmes, Co-founder of Hootsuite
10. "You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end." -Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of Stella & Dot
11. "Starting a company extracts so much energy and conviction that not having a clear-cut goal and meaningful mission can hamper your success. This is why, at Virta, our mission was clearly defined: reverse early type-2 diabetes in 100 million people by 2025." -Sami Inkinen, Co-founder of Virta Health
12. "If you know too much before the start, then you will get overwhelmed. Come up with an original idea, and don’t copy because there will be no passion. You need that otherworldly passion. Just start." -Jeni Britton Bauer, Founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
13. "Don’t assume that borrowing lots of money can make your startup fly. There are many things to the business other than investors, and it’s possible to succeed with your startup without breaking the bank." -Barnaby Lashbrooke, Founder of Time Etc.
14. "Don’t try to do everything by yourself, but try to connect with people and resources. Having that discipline and perseverance is really important." -Chieu Cao, Co-founder of Perkbox
15. "It’s necessary to find a mentor who can invest time to know your personal capabilities and business model." -Nigel Davies, Founder of Claromentis
16. "Don’t get distracted. Never tell yourself that you need to be the biggest brand in the whole world. Start by working on what you need at the present moment and then what you need to do tomorrow. So, set yourself manageable targets." -Jas Bagniewski, Co-Founder of Eve Sleep
17. "You have to get good at ceding control and not taking things personally. Even seasoned entrepreneurs have struggled with that. I think it’s about not taking failures personally and also not taking successes personally." -Leila Janah, Founder of Samasource and LXMI
18. "No matter how many customers you have, each is an individual. The day you start thinking of them as this amorphous ‘collection’ and stop thinking of them as people is the day you start going out of business." -Dharmesh Shah, Co-Founder of HubSpot
19. "Your ability to attract, evaluate, and forge strong working relationships with co-founders, early employees, and investors often mean the difference between failure and success." -Clara Shih, Co-founder of Hearsay Systems
20. "Fundraising is much easier now because of crowdfunding. Take advantage of that." -Constantin Bisanz, Founder of Aloha
21. "Being a woman in business doesn’t come without challenges. My advice? Surround yourself with other supportive women that encourage you, share ideas, and get you motivated." -Jessica Alba, Founder of The Honest Company
22. "If you can offer a free tier that provides a lot of value, it will naturally help your product to spread much more rapidly." -Melanie Perkins, Co-founder of Canva
23. "My advice is to focus on the importance of forging a long-term relationship, whether with colleagues, partners, or customers. It is often easy to get caught up in short-term decisions." -Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder of Care.com
24. "If you’re starting something on your own, you better have a passion for it, because this is hard work." -Sallie Krawcheck, Co-founder of Ellevest
25. "Be nicer to your customers than your competitors." -Richard Reed, Co-Founder of Innocent Drinks
26. "Passion, creativity, and resilience are the most crucial skills in business. If you’ve got those, you’re ready to embark on the journey." -Jo Malone, Founder of Jo Malone
27. "If you are working on a product that’s going to be consumer-facing, then feedback is invaluable. You should be out there being brave and talking to people and asking for feedback as much as possible." -Emily Brooke, Co-founder of Blaze
28. "In the age of transparency, honesty, and generosity, even in the form of an apology, generate goodwill." -Alexander Asseily, founder of Jawbone