Years of providing small business accounting services have taught me that there really is just one consistent, obvious difference between small, local businesses and huge, multi-national ones—size. The other distinctions between the owners of modest companies and the managers of firms ranking in Forbes lists are more subtle. If you study the words and track records of successful professionals, however, you can glean some of the qualities that just might help make you a successful small business owner.

“Every day we’re saying, ‘How can we keep this customer happy?’ How can we get ahead in innovation by doing this, because if we don’t, somebody else will.”
Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist

“Plan. Know where you stand. Get a good sense of what it costs to run your business, what the revenue is worth to you, what your margins are. Of course, how to improve them—but you have to have a sense of where you are in order to get to where you want to go.”
Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO

“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.”
Warren Buffett, billionaire investor

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
Jack Welch, former CEO of GE

“Control your cash, stick to your core business, and know your numbers.”
Marcus Lemonis, self-made millionaire and host of CNBC’s The Profit

“”The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
Oprah Winfrey, actress, publisher and television producer

“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer”
Nolan Bushnell, inventor and engineer behind Atari

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
Albert Einstein, genius

At MSBP, we believe everything you do impacts the bottom line. Every day, through our consulting and small business accounting services we share wisdom with clients like you to help them know where they stand financially, manage their cash, and increase their chances for success. Please reach out to me at; I’d love to chat. Also, be sure to check out the other words of advice on the main Insights page.