6 Quotes from Business Leaders You Can Apply in Your Business Today

May 13, 2013 4:02 pm Published by

At Text Republic we have often used quotes from business leaders to frame an argument or debate in one form or another. Last week we thought it would be a good idea compile our favourite six and package them into a single blog post. The only selection criteria being that they must be easy to understand and applicable to any business no matter how big or small.

What follows are the results in no particular order.

1. “What gets measured, gets managed”
Peter F. Drucker – The Father of Modern Management

There isn’t a huge amount that can be added to this due to it’s simplicity and practical self evidence. Managing something and measuring something are intertwined to such an extent that the former cannot exist without the later.

The idea of managing something is to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible, resulting in the maximum derivable benefit to the overall goal. To know how something is currently running you must measure it. To know how something is improving or declining over time, you must continually measure it.

The take away: If there is any aspect of your business that you are not measuring then you are simply not managing it. Therefore you have zero chance of ever improving it.


2. “If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”
David Ogilvy – The Father of Advertising and the quintessential ‘Ad Man’.

For any business with a sweet spot customer in mind it is absolutely essential that you research and understand how your potential customer thinks, speaks and searches the web. How else can you expect to write ad copy, blog posts and subject lines that will appeal to them and draw them in.

The take away: Immerse yourself in the world of your customer and learn how to speak their language, because if you don’t understand them you have no hope of ever selling to them.


3. “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 – Founder of the Ford Motor Company

Two things drive a consumer to send money on a product or service – emotion and value. Ford knew this and put equal emphasis on both. He knew people would buy his cars if he appealed to them in an emotional way by painting a picture of what life would be like once they owned one of his motorcars. He also knew that value had to be at the core of his offering.

This meant making consumers feel they were getting value for money as well as the experience of owning his Model T. The same logic applies to pretty much any business.

The take away: Profit follows value. Set your product or service at a price that you can be profitable at. Then try to squeeze as much value into that price point as you can. You are then – ‘bound to succeed‘!


4. “We write to them and say, ‘Fly someone else.'”
Herb Kelleher – Co Founder of Southwest Airlines

This quote by the co-founder of Southwest Airlines is often slightly misrepresented when used to promote the idea of a ‘sweet-spot’ customer. However, he was in fact saying it as a counter to the old adage that ‘The customer is always right’. To Kelleher his employees were all important and if a customer stepped out of line in their dealings with one of his employees he would always come down squarely on the side of his employee.

Favouring the customer over your employees was seen by him as ‘one of the biggest betrayals of employees that a boss can possibly make.’ Herb Kelleher knew that an organisation was nothing without it’s employees and he defended them vigorously when he saw the need.

The take away: A great employee is worth any amount of customers and you should always stay loyal to them. Without your employees your business is nothing.


5. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”
Bill Gates – Co Founder of Microsoft

Businesses live and die on the what their customers feel and experience about a product or service. If a customer is unhappy they will vote with their feet and their wallets, leaving businesses with empty seats, empty baskets and empty appointment books.

The take away: Always encourage honest feedback from your customers and ensure your business is set up to not only record this feedback but to act on it with the utmost haste. Do this and you will build a flourishing customer centric business that will last long into the future.


6. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin* – Author or ‘The Origin of Species’.

Businesses that stand still may enjoy some early success, but ultimately they are simply threading water before dieing a slow death. Businesses that evolve with changes in industry, technology and trends; experience continued success by riding the crest of those waves to their maximum potential.

If you ever find yourself saying ‘We’ve always done it that way.‘, you’re probably doing it wrong.

The take away: Don’t be afraid of change. Look for it, anticipate it, recognise it and capitalise on it. The business world is littered with companies that stuck their heads in the sand, refused to embrace change and are now, much like Darwin’s Dodo – extinct. Don’t be the Dodo.

* Yes, yes we know Charles Darwin wasn’t anything even approaching a business leader!

Conor McAleavey

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