Whether your business is a start-up or a Fortune 500 company, there are great pearls of wisdom you can glean from the legendary Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs has seen and done it all. He is qualified to write the business play book as he has been through the entire spectrum of the business food chain and finally sat at its very top for decades. According to Biography, this belated tech guru and entrepreneur started the Apple Company along his friend Steven Wozniack at the age of 21, in his garage. The two worked long and hard to establish the company against the tech giant of the time IBM. A while after, Steve Jobs was fired by his own company only to return as its CEO a decade later and lead the company in leaps and bounds to its global success. Apple Company has consecutively been ranked as the leading fortune 500 company for years. With a wealth of wisdom from decades of experience, hard work and ingenuity, here are the best 20 of Steve Jobs quotes on business.
20. “When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and…to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, and you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” - Steve Jobs, Interview with Santa Clara Valley Historical Association, 1994
Business is permeated with a lot of normalcy and rules that govern the status quo of any particular industry and niche. Of course these rules are placed to protect the business players, clients and consumers and the industry at large. However in order to succeed, you need to separate yourself from the norm and create the world that you desire to see. Be the change. Be creative. Step out and challenge the status quo. Design and re-invent the play book in your business niche. Stop wishing and start doing. .
19. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Do what you love and get rich while doing it. This is a very uncommon balance that few business owners have actually attained. Business requires drive and passion. Not just the passion to get rich but the passion that keeps you ablaze in moments of bleakness. Either way, quitting is never an option, for you fell in love with what you do.
18. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
With many business owners there always seems to be a lot at stake, whether it’s increasing the profit margin to satisfy investors, paying up creditors, providing for dependent friends and family, paying contracted employees and off course maintaining a good reputation. The thought of taking risks and breaking into uncharted waters gradually is submerged with the overwhelming sense of duty to live up to the expectations and obligations imposed. For you to steer your business to the next level, you must be light enough and free enough to make decisions that will put your business on the map.
17. “You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.”
The first few years of a business are the most crucial – how an enterprise maneuvers and handles the daunting challenges determine its business fate. It’s important for start-up business owners to appreciate that it is never a sprint to success but a marathon. This helps to foster endurance in the initial days of obscurity and relative difficulty. If your only aim was the money, you will easily despair and close shop however if you truly did things because you believed in them, you will have reason to continue amidst the difficulty unto the brilliant dawn of success.
16. “I don’t really care about being right, I just care about success. You’ll find a lot of people that will tell you I had a very strong opinion, and they presented evidence to the contrary and five minutes later I changed my mind. I don’t mind being wrong, and I’ll admit that I’m wrong a lot. It doesn’t really matter to me too much. What matters to me is that we do the right thing.” – Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, 2012
In any work environment, the need to be right breeds controversy amongst work mates. Employees and employers should watch out for this vile as they interact amongst themselves. In the grind and crunch of things, all gifting and grit from your colleagues will be needed to actualize the business’s vision and objectives. Don’t jeopardize harmonious co-existence and team effort. Be open-minded, be friendly, say sorry when wrong, do what is right for the business.
15. "Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life."
Perception is important. How we view things really determines whether we will have a successful business or not. Perhaps the setback was a blessing in disguise. If viewed from the correct lenses, it may suffice as the perfect opportunity you needed to re-conceptualize and re-strategize or a reason to be open to experiment with a few new ideas. Setbacks and failures allow the testing of the beliefs, processes and models of an organization, allowing a period of extensive reflection and thus an opportunity to do differently and better in every imaginable sphere.
14. If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow.”
Profits follow great ideas. People will always opt for quality products that guarantee reliability and are sustainably functional for the long haul. Let your brand shout quality, Let your customer care demonstrate quality and lastly let your product be quality.
13. “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Business is solely not driven by the does and don’ts of marketing or branding that we learnt in business schools. Business is substantially driven by that gut-feeling and intuition that a product will sell despite the odds presented at the market place, or a lesser qualified job applicant will do better that his over qualified rival applicant. This is what has led to great strides by the now esteemed business gurus of our time- trust that surpasses book theory essentially a trust in you- what you think, feel and believe.
12. “When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there.” (Newsweek, October 14, 2006)
Go the extra mile! Don’t stop where everyone does, beat the odds, run for the gold. Doing the extra work goes a long way in business profits. It distinguishes between businesses. The outcome of well invested time, energy and ingenuity is sure product quality than that of your counterparts.
11. “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
A majority of businesses are content with being a one-hit wonder. But for you to have an edge in the market you should endeavor to churn out new vibrant and useful creations that cement your alpha position in that niche. Businesses should relish their successes not as monuments but as stepping stones to their next great endeavor.
10. "I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance." – Steve Jobs, Smithsonian Institution Oral History Interview, April 20, 1995
The virtue of patience cannot be underestimated in any business organization. Just as life, the road to business success is long and littered with several challenges, setbacks and disappointments. However, only those with the agility and heart to continue doing what they ought to every single day, despite the difficulties, do wind up at the top. Be consistent. Don’t give up, keep pressing forward.
9. “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”
Don’t be stuck with what you did or did not do right. Garner the will power and strength to move past evident failures and mistakes to help you and your business to focus on what’s important- that which lies ahead and not that which lies past.
8. “Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.”
Most people do not like to invest a lot of time or resources on a single thing, be it an investment, business venture or relationship. People are after life in the fast lane, they skip from one hit to the next great hit, always looking out for the next great thing.
Few businesses stay invested developing their products and fine-tuning their services to a point that when they feature in the market they harness the masses’ attention and keep them there. The business trick is to focus on the details and perfect every nitty gritty possible. When pay day comes, it will be evidently worth it.
7. My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time."
In the world of business time means everything. Delay in supply or delivery can cost you fortunes, a delayed business move can lead to great debt or liquidation of the company in some extreme instances. The mastery of time is pivotal for any business individual. Plan and prepare beforehand to adequately optimize your business hours, this may just be the key to long-lasting success.
6. “Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”
Quality takes heart and time whereas quantity takes the mere utilization of factors of production. Go out of your way to improve on quality. Secure a proper and inspiring work environment for your employees, invest in team building, invest in proper branding and don’t be afraid to invest in product outlook as well as functionality.
5. “My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts.”
Having a united formidable team is definitely a plus in any business organization. In the face of consecutive deadlines, pressure to innovate, strategize or increase sales- team work is what will secure the intended end while making it fun, endurable and worthwhile at the end of the day.
4. “Don’t let the noise of other’s’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
People’s expectations and remarks about you or your business are only powerful to the extent you allow them to. Consider life a gift, it is yours to enjoy and yours to make worthwhile. In business, don’t listen to the critics, listen to your gut.
3. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
With the fast evolving technological pace, businesses should incorporate innovative products to break into new levels of success. Want to set the pace in your business niche? Stop doing the norm, reach out and embrace new modes of operation, new techniques and strategies, new product lines and new partnerships. Endeavour to do differently.
2. "Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
Be the best that you can be and no one else will ever be like you. Learn to be authentic. Learn to appreciate and optimize your strengths and work to developing yourself and business. Don’t mimic or pretend to be who you are not, it robs you of the joy of being you and succeeding while at it.
1. “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
No business should ever underestimate its potential to re-work the food chain and sit at the very top. It’s not enough to be good when you can be the best. Confidence in your idea and your product can be the very thing you need to re-write the business play book. Believe you can and you will!
Written by Dana Hanson
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