Entrepreneurs are a creative bunch – whether it’s a visionary founder of a multi-national conglomerate (Steve Jobs) or a local businessperson setting up their own company (you).

We’re largely in agreement with former US Secretary of State Colin Powell when he said: ‘Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.’

That’s why some of the best – and most unusual – advice we’ve ever heard has come in the form of bite-sized quotes…

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‘Once you decide to work for yourself, you never go back to work for somebody else.’
Sir Alan Sugar

Carving your own path in business is a momentous undertaking, and frankly thrilling decision. Reading Sir Alan’s words makes you realise that when you stop working for others and start working for yourself: it’s life-changing, altering not just the way you approach business but your entire mindset.


‘You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.’
Dwight Eisenhower

What a wonderful way of saying ‘Use the carrot, not the stick.’ As a General, Eisenhower understood the power of respect – and most importantly, how to get it. Making sure anyone backing your project – from family and friends to employees and financiers – is on-board with your vision is crucial to success. Persuasion, not blind arrogance, is king. It worked out well for Eisenhower, who became the 34th President of the United States.


‘To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.’
Richard Branson

It’s easy to start off working for yourself and end up working for someone else – whether they’re part of your company or not. But Branson reminds us of the real reason why anyone sets out to create their own company – for you. Because no-one can better understand your business, what you’re trying to achieve, and how you want to achieve it. Of course, Branson also stated that the only reason to start up a new business is because of frustration at how things are, and we think that’s pretty sage advice too. You can make a difference.


‘My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.’
Steve Jobs

What The Beatles did, and Steve Jobs recognised, was to use teamwork to ensure success. Misguided ego has no place here and knowing that those around you believe in your business and will work to achieve your goals is vital. The friendly rivalry between Lennon and McCartney only served to raise standards in their music, and the same is true of your business. If you’re in any doubt about the value of pulling together, just listen to The Beatles’ solo efforts and you’ll be grateful that you listened to Jobs.

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‘Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.’
Elon Musk

If you ever needed the inspiration to go ahead and start your own company (or continue down that path), just remember these words by Elon Musk. After all, this is a man who’s not afraid of change and doesn’t fear failure – the exact right mindset for anyone strong enough to believe they can do things better themselves. If working 9-5 in a job you hate for a boss you despise is your idea of disaster, then it’s time for a change.


While you focus on putting some of these bites of wisdom into practice, ICS Accounting can help you take care of some crucial details that will allow you to operate as a contractor, freelancer or small business. We deal with the accountancy side of things, taking the stress out of your tax, admin and paperwork. Call us today on 0800 195 3750 or contact us online to find out more.