July is naturally one of the most patriotic months of the year given Independence Day. By honoring the day when the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776, we celebrate our freedom and the American way. The founding fathers that blazed this brave trail had an impact that is difficult to truly quantify. Many of them were successful business owners as well. Here’s a look at some words of wisdom that are attributed to them, and how they can relate to the modern entrepreneurial spirit that millions of Americans enjoy.
- “Still I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain (what I consider the most enviable of all titles) the character of an honest man, as well as prove (what I desire to be considered in reality) that I am, with great sincerity & esteem.” – George Washington
The nation’s first president is forever connected to honesty, thanks to his leadership, along with the myth about chopping down a cherry tree in his youth (“I cannot tell a lie …”). Honesty is always an essential element of being a leader. For a small business owner, it is needed to develop a customer base and to create good working relationships.
- “I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough … the more one reads the more one sees we have to read.” – John Adams
The thirst for knowledge was an unquenchable one for our founding fathers, including Adams, our second president. “Never stop learning” is as valid now as it was then. For some small business owners, that can mean continuing education.
- “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” – Thomas Jefferson
The third president and primary author of the Declaration of Independence was known as an innovator. This spirit can go hand-in-hand with starting a new business.
- “The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.” – James Madison
The fourth president’s statement can relate to one of the most vital needs in business. Trust is a crucial factor for entrepreneurs to develop — both with employees and clients.
- “Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have lies in this; when I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the effort that I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.” – Alexander Hamilton
The statement by this founding father — whose life earned renewed interest thanks to the hugely successful Hamilton Broadway musical — points to how learning and hard work serve as prime factors in achieving success.
- “Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all — liberty!” – James Monroe
The fifth president’s words in describing a fledgling country can be similar to how a new business owner regards his or her venture. There’s nothing wrong with starting out small.
- “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” – Benjamin Franklin
The influential scientist, politician, author and inventor had such varied interests that preparation and organization likely played a big role in his successes. Being organized is key to running a successful business as well.