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20 George Washington Quotes That Apply to Business

George Washington

George Washington was a political leader, statesman, military general, and a founding father. However, he is best-known as being the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He was born in Virginia in 1732, and he died in his birthplace in 1799. As one of the most famous political leaders in the world, Washington said many influential things in his life, and these quotes are still used today for inspirational and motivational purposes. Here are 20 George Washington quotes that apply to business.

20. On Appreciating Your Team

“I shall make it the most agreeable part of my duty to study merit and reward the brave and deserving.”

According to Keep Inspiring Me, this is one of the best George Washington quotes that apply to business. Your team can make a significant difference to whether you succeed or fail, so it is important to look after and appreciate them. Acknowledge the contributions they make as this will keep them motivated to work towards shared goals.

19. On Avoiding Stress

“Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.”

Avoiding stress completely is almost impossible in business as it is likely that you will face many challenges that can cause stress. However, you can limit the amount of stress you suffer by avoiding situations that will pile on unnecessary stress and worry. Do not look for problems where there aren't any.

18. On Good Leadership

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all title, the character of an honest man.”

Regardless of whether you are a business owner, a manager, or a team leader, it is important that you have the right skills for leadership and that you think carefully about your leadership style. If you are a good leader, you will earn the respect of your team and they will want to support you in your business endeavors.

17. On Knowing Your Competition

“Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.”

In almost every industry, you will have competition. It is vital that you have a good knowledge of your competition so that you can take them on or at least share their space in the marketplace. Right from the start, you should identify who the competition is and set about learning everything you can about them. Find out the size of the business, the share they have in your sector of the market, the systems or processes they use, and their market strategies. This will help you to identify what you need to do to get on an equal footing and to differentiate yourself to attract customers.

16. On Being Prepared

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”

It is possible that the challenges you face may be minimal and that you have limited competition. However, you should still prepare for any difficulties that may arise or competition that you could face. Preparation is important so that any situation that arises will have a less detrimental effect on your business as they occur.

15. On Having the Courage to Face the Unknown

“I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.”

In this quote listed on Brainy Quote, George Washington was referring to the fact that he was setting a precedent as the first President of the United States. It describes how it was a new experience with many unknowns. This also applies to starting out in business. You may face many unknown situations, and it can take great courage to take the first steps into starting a business. However, unless you are willing to take that brave first step, you will never known the opportunities or success you may enjoy.

14. On Having Self-Discipline

“Nothing can be more hurtful to the service than the neglect of discipline, for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.”

Running a business takes a lot of determination, motivation, and self-discipline. It is easy if you are the leader to give yourself the power to take time off and let others do the work, but this is potentially the road to failure. You need to have the self-discipline to put in the effort consistently. This is also a good example to set to your team as you should always lead by example.

13. On Continuing to Learn

“There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”

Listed by Addicted 2 Success, this is one of the best George Washington quotes that apply to business. Although this quote specifically mentions literature and science, you can apply it to any kind of learning. Finding ways to continue learning will help you to develop as a person and can contribute to the progression of your business. Learning can involve reading books, attending courses, learning from others, or learning from your own experiences. It doesn’t matter how you learn, just make sure you continue to learn.

12. On Working Hard

“The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.”

Running a business is often a hard slog. It can seem like a never-ending list of things to do just to keep going. However, the more effort you put in, the likelier it is that you will succeed. If you become successful, then you will have a greater sense of satisfaction and achievement. It will seem like all your work has been worth the effort.

11. On Not Making Excuses

“99 percent of failures come from people who make excuses.”

According to George Washington, people who fail are those who make excuses. When things go wrong in a business, it is easy to blame other people, the economy, society, or anyone other than yourself. However, it is likely that you played some role in the failure as you made the decisions. Own up to your bad decisions or mistakes instead of looking for excuses o blaming other people. Taking ownership of the negatives will help you to get over the situation, learn from the mistakes you made, and move forward.

10. On Giving Encouragement to Your Team

“Let us therefore animate and encourage each other.”

Everyone works better if they are given a little encouragement and if they feel appreciated for their efforts. When someone in your team has done well, let them know you are pleased with their work. This will keep them motivated and they will work more effectively towards the goals you set.

9. On Making Progress

“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.”

As long as you reach your goals in the end, it doesn’t really matter how long it takes you to get there. Progress can happen at different rates in business. Sometimes you will make progress quickly, and other times things can go slowly. The only thing that is important is that you keep moving forwards towards your goals without looking back. This can take motivation, determination, and perseverance.

8. On Facing Challenges

“Real men despise battles but will never run from it.”

Business is full of ups and downs, so it is likely you will face many challenges on your journey to success. Although dealing with problems is something that you probably want to avoid, it is something that you must face. Handle each situation as it arises and use the experience to avoid similar situations in the future.

7. On Perseverance

“Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.”

There are times when you may feel as though you want to give up and it is too hard to carry on. If you do this, you may never forgive yourself and you will live a life full of regrets. You will have wasted all the effort that you have already put into a business, and you will never know what opportunities may have come your way. When things seem hard, keep your head down and persevere. It is only with perseverance that you will make it through to the other side and enjoy your future opportunities.

6. On Learning from Mistakes

“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.”

Mistakes are not always a bad thing as they can provide an opportunity for learning. When you make a mistake, assess the situation to identify where and why you went wrong. You can then use this as a positive to help you avoid similar situations in the future. Therefore, you can turn a negative into a positive if you apply the right mindset to the situation.

5. On Getting to the Point

“Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.”

Time is of the essence in business, so you should not waste time using big words and fancy sentences. Instead, get straight to the point. Similarly, do not waste time on complicated processes. It is often better just to keep things simple and running effectively.

4. On Taking Care of Finances

“To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones.”

Finances are an important element of any business. How well you take care of your finances can make the difference between success and failure. Getting into a lot of debt and then taking out more loans to pay off the original debt is usually a bad move, and something that you should avoid doing. Sometimes, business leaders are so focused on the details of a project or on developing products or services. They forget to take care of the financial side of matters, and this is to their detriment.

3. On Keeping Things Simple

“My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.”

There is often a temptation in business to overcomplicate matters. Some people have a mistaken belief that more complicated or more expensive are the same thing as better. This is often not the case. Often, it is the simplest process that can keep a business running effectively. Therefore, you should not make changes simply for the sake of change if a new way will only complicate what is currently working well. Only make changes to rectify problems and make improvements.

2. On Building Your Reputation

“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation.”

As a leader in business, you are a representation of your business. Therefore, your reputation and the way that people perceive you is important. This George Washington quote suggests that you will improve your reputation by surrounding yourself with the right types of people. There is some evidence to suggest that associating with the people you aspire to become can help you. So, if you want to become successful, you should surround yourself with others who have either already achieved success or who have a determination to succeed in life.

On Getting Things Done

“Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.”

According to Awaken the Greatness Within, this is one of the best George Washington quotes that apply to business. It is about not putting things off, and just getting on with it. If you delay doing things, it can severely hamper your chances of success in business. Instead, you should take action as soon as possible

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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