Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert, freelance writer and big fan of Shakespeare. She loves to help small businesses grow and succeed. You can read more of her work at her blog VictoriaEcommerce.
Shakespeare was a great guy. He wrote some of the most incredible plays and poetry this world has ever seen, made us laugh, made us cry, and truly understood human nature. He also invented a whole load of words and phrases that we use in modern-day English, and that you probably didn’t even know came from the Bard himself.
But did you know that Shakespeare was also a business expert? Okay, well not exactly. But he did write some wise words that can inspire even the hardiest of entrepreneurs.
Here are our favorite Shakespeare quotes used in business.
“To business that we love we rise betimes and go to ‘t with delight.”
-Anthony and Cleopatra
Our first quote from the great Bard himself is all about the philosophy of business. Basically, if you love what you do, then you’ll enjoy waking up each morning and starting up that computer.
It’s crucial as an entrepreneur to really love your business and what you do. If you’re contemplating starting up a new venture or project, ask yourself how much it means to you. There are going to be times — particularly in your first few years — where you’re struggling to make a profit, or things keep going wrong. It’s not easy starting a new business; around 50% of small businesses fail in their first four years. Being emotionally invested in your business will help you to push on through the more difficult times.
“Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.”
-Troilus and Cressida
I think Shakespeare (unintentionally) captures the true essence of entrepreneurship with this quote from Troilus and Cressida. Being an entrepreneur is all about movement and progress. Yes, it’s all very satisfying when your online store is finally bringing in a good amount of cash, but it’s nowhere near as exciting as the climb to get there.
If you’re like me, you’re probably already looking for your next project once you’ve succeeded with your current one! Entrepreneurs love doing.
“Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”
The Bard’s words on love can definitely be applied to customer relationships in business.
Your ideal situation when you’ve built your brand is to have a community of customers who love your products and service. They will show about your company and tell other consumers about their positive experience — without any prompting from you.
Nurture your relationships, pay attention to your customers, treat them well, and it will pay off. You’ll end up with a self-sustaining community of loyal brand ambassadors who sing your praises for you.
“And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.”
Another corker of a customer relations quote from ole Bill. So wise.
Sometimes you’re going to get negative feedback for your product or your service. The customer may feel let down or disappointed in some way. Perhaps your product was faulty, delivery was later than expected, or they had a bad experience with a member of staff.
Whatever the reason, you need to remember not to make excuses for your fault. Accept that in this circumstance, you fell short. Apologize to the customer and let them know how you’re going to improve for next time. You’re only going to make the problem worse with excuses.
There are a few things you need to remember when dealing with negative feedback — check out this handy post for more advice.
“Strong reasons make strong actions.”
It’s important to really believe in your business when you’re working in this industry. Regardless of whether you’re setting up a brand new online shop, or you’ve just snagged an an existing business with the aim of doing it up, you need to be passionate and committed.
Shakespeare was totally right with this one: having strong reasons behind your business make for strong actions. You’re emotionally invested (as well as financially), which will make you work harder for your company, which will lead to better results. Win.
“How poor are they that have not patience? What wound did ever heal but by degrees?”
Patience is an important part of being an entrepreneur.
If you’re a business owner with staff, it’s vital that you are patient and understanding with new employees. Be direct and make yourself as clear as possible — don’t be impatient and irritable. This will only make them nervous and prone to making mistakes, which is going to impact your business further. A bit of kindness goes a long way. (And if you feel you really can’t do this, delegate to another member of your team.)
And if you’re new to the entrepreneurial game, have a little patience with yourself, and with the industry. You’re not going to make your millions overnight, and sometimes it takes a while for people to catch on to what a great produce you have.
Have patience, develop a strong business strategy and stick to it, and work steadily towards your goal.
“Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.”
-Romeo and Juliet
The world of business can be a hectic, busy place — particularly in ecommerce, where the pace is fast and ruthless. Yes, there is merit in staying on the ball and keeping up with the latest developments, but rushing at a million miles an hour without any plans or direction is not beneficial. It’s only going to result in you making poor snap-decisions and losing money.
Dedicate yourself to your business strategy. Do your market and competitor research. Make sure your actions are wise and controlled.
As you can see, there are quite a few entrepreneurial lessons to be learnt from Shakespeare. He may not necessarily have been talking about ecommerce at the time, but the beauty of the Bard’s words is that they can interpreted and re-interpreted as time goes by. Use these quotes to motivate and remind yourself of the importance of your values and your work as an entrepreneur.