If you are an entrepreneur who is looking for worthy tips on how to succeed in business, who better to refer to than the late great Henry Ford? He built one of the most successful automaking companies in the world. He was a savvy entrepreneur and although he got his start during a different era, his words still carry a powerful impact because when it comes to business, some common sense principles still apply. Here are the 20 best Henry ford quotes that apply to the business world that you may just find to be enlightening.
20. “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”
This famous statement that was made by Henry Ford deals with integrity. Most businessmen and women understand that the quality of your products or the services that you offer will be a determinant of any future business dealings that you have. Ford believed that there were no shortcuts to success and that you had to be willing to have the integrity to produce quality in everything that you do, even when you have the opportunity to cut corners, and even if nobody would ever know that you fudged on quality.
19. “The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.”
Henry Ford was a man with a vision and a drive to accomplish great things. Although he became very wealthy over time, his focus wasn’t on chasing the dollar. He was a hard-working man who used his imagination and his skills to give his level best in everything that he did. When he worked, he maintained the philosophy that he would give as much as was within him for the compensation he received. He realized that success means giving it your all instead of doing the minimum required amount for your paycheck.
18. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”
This was Henry Ford’s way of saying that when we fail in business it means that there was something that we needed to learn. Figuring out the pitfalls and reasons for the failure gives you the knowledge that you need to go back to the drawing board and try it again, avoiding the same mistakes that caused the failure in the beginning. Learning from mistakes boosts intelligence on the topic and it’s important to take advantage of the opportunity to start again and do it differently.
17. “If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.”
When Henry Ford made this statement he was sharing his notion of success as a human being as well as a businessman. A person gains independence through their abilities which are fueled by the knowledge and experience gained along with way. Money is not the solution to every problem that life throws at us and when money is your sole mission, you miss out on the other important aspects of life that also help us to live independent and fulfilled lives. We gain more security when we fully develop our potential, skills and life experience.
16. “We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we make today.”
For some, tradition is a sentiment that can keep them entrenched in a time-stamped rut. In today’s progressive market, it’s vital to keep moving forward in business to keep up with consumer expectations and demands. Those who hold back in the old traditions will find themselves closing their doors as consumers take their business elsewhere. Ford made this statement decades ago, but it has held true through the advent of time. We must live in the present and remain aware of the changes in business and society in order to remain competitive.
15. “Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.”
This is a powerful statement that deals with the fact that money alone cannot buy you happiness. When you deliver a useful service to your customer base, you gain much more than cutting corners and pursuing the almighty dollar as your primary goal. By staying the course, giving your customers what they want and need, and offering the best products and services you can, the wealth will follow by a good reputation, loyal repeat customers, and increased sales through time. Wealth is just a byproduct of doing business the right way unless it’s all that matters. Money hungry businesspeople often find that their philosophies show strongly in the quality of products and services and this is how to lose customers quickly.
14. “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best and highest quality goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.”
Henry Ford knew the basic principles of business. His goals put the lifeblood of his operation to the fore. Two major groups of stakeholders were a part of his process for consideration. He paid workers who created the products as much as was possible to show them that they were important to encourage them to do the best job possible, resulting in a happier workforce that produced high quality in workmanship. This helped the company to be more productive and to bring in more revenue through sales of quality products that the other major stakeholders, the consumers were ultimately quite pleased with. By keeping production costs at the lowest possible price without sacrificing quality, products could be offered at reasonable prices in a business environment where everyone wins.
13. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
Ford knew the importance of working together for a common goal. He also realized that it was a process that started with communication. It’s the same for any business. The first step is to get together and discuss relevant topics, establishing an environment of teamwork, and then continuing to work together to accomplish goals.
12. “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”
Pointing the finger isn’t a constructive way to achieve success. When something isn’t going right, it’s better to identify the real problems and then find solutions. Instead of assigning blame, work together to gather all of the facts and engage everyone in the problem-solving process.
11. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t -you’re right.”
This was Ford’s interpretation of a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have to believe in yourself and in your abilities before you can truly accomplish anything. If you believe that you can accomplish a goal, you are far more likely to succeed. Negativity is a type of self-programming that can sabotage even the best-laid plans.
10. “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
Henry Ford was a lifelong learner. He learned from making mistakes, figuring out what went wrong, and finding better solutions to fix his errors. In business, we’re in a constantly changing environment because of societal evolution which never slows down. It’s about knowing your customers, anticipating the changes that are coming, and being proactive. This takes investigation, listening, and actively seeking to understand what consumers want, need, and demand. Learn from your mistakes and keep on top of what others are doing that makes them successful. Keep learning until the day you die.
9. “Employers only handle the money – it is the customer who pays the wages.”
This was Fords way of saying that without the customer there is no business to work for. As employers, a company only sells its products and pays its workers. Without the customer, there is no revenue and there is no reason to stay in business. Keep up with the times and give your customers the quality that they have come to expect from you. If expectations are low then you need to do something different to raise them.
8. “Education is preeminently a matter of quality, not amount”
It’s not how much you know, but rather, what you know. In order to do something right, you need to know what you’re doing. If you’re an engineer, you will be more successful at your job if you maintain a focus on courses that help you understand physics and the mechanics of how systems and components work together. A degree in psychology won’t help you to build an engine. Beef up on the topics that are relevant to the success of your business or profession and keep learning. Instead of adding an overview of several disciplines, delve deeply into the nuts and bolts of your profession and learn the basic, intermediate and advanced principles that will help you maximize your full potential.
7. One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”
This quote made by Henry Ford is an encouragement to stretch your wings and to move outside of your comfort zone. Fear of failure will not fail to hold you back. When you step out into new endeavors you often find that you’re surprised by how much you know and how much you are really capable of accomplishments. It all begins with taking that first step.
6. “Nothing can be made except by makers, nothing can be managed except by managers. Money cannot make anything and money cannot manage anything.”
This is a statement that deals with acknowledging the fact that we each have our place in the successful operation of a company. Managers must do their job by managing. Makers are responsible for making the products, and all the money in the world will not build a car on its own and it can’t ensure the success of a company without everyone that is working for the business doing his or her part. In short, the success of a business depends upon the actions of the employees.
5. “Two classes of people lose money; those who are too weak to guard what they have; those who win money by trick. They both lose in the end.”
Henry Ford is sharing his philosophy about what it takes to be successful in business. This drives home the fact that being dishonest in business won’t help you get ahead. In time, you’ll lose your customer base to a bad reputation and you’ll lose money in the end. It’s also his view on those who are not savvy in the business world. It takes vigilance to stay on top of financial matters including trends in the market and in consumer behaviors and you’ve got to keep a line on the competition so they don’t steal your customers by offering better goods and services.
4. “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”
Ford was explaining that the only way to build a good reputation is to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Don’t procrastinate and don’t make promises that you can’t keep. While future planning is important, what you do today is also vital to establishing a solid reputation.
3. “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
This is one of the most key business principles of all time. You must know what your customers want and need. These are things that change over time. It’s something you need to stay on top of. In business, it’s important to get everyone’s input in planning to make sure that you’re fully informed about key aspects of business, and this includes seeing the point of view of others and considering their input in your plans.
2. “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”
The people who are the most successful are those who use their time to advantage. While some may dawdle or waste time on non-productive conversations, and other non-essential business activities, Ford was all about taking care of the important things first.
1. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.”
Henry Ford points out the fact that he had an innovative idea that most people didn’t realize would grow into huge technological advances. He was ahead of his time in thinking, but he had the vision and foresight to see the benefits of his creations before the public had the confidence to believe it would benefit them. Now the world is filled with Ford vehicles as automobiles have become a staple in modern society. If he had taken their advice, he would have been a horse breeder instead of an automaking industry magnate.