60% of Fortune 500 companies in 1970 are no longer in business today. It’s not that they have rebranded or changed their name, they have closed shop completely. The 500 biggest companies are no longer around just 48 years later.
Just like great countries can lose their empires, great companies such as Nakumatt, Chase Bank, and Eveready lost their empires. Why, they get casual, they get too many victories, one after another and little by little they begin to slacken.
It is very important to be strategic in the way that you run your business, there’s none better than the military, so here are twelve military mottos for entrepreneurs.
1. Stay Alert, Stay Alive: US Army
You have to maintain a situational awareness about your business. You have to keep abreast of the things happening in your industry and in your business. The business environment is constantly changing and it is your responsibility as an entrepreneur to know the direction to take and the right decisions to make so that you are not caught flat footed.
You’ve got to know what’s happening with your staff, clients, partners, sales process, etc.
2. Whatever It Takes: (From the marines, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Station, Camp Pelleton, Carlifonia)
As an entrepreneur, you have to know that it’s whatever it takes. If you want to succeed, then you have to be prepared to give it your all and your best. If that means that you have to work extra hours, whatever it takes. If you have to read 12 books to gain more knowledge, whatever it takes. If you have to stay at the office till 2am, whatever it takes. If you have to show up at your work place and work hard for three or five years till your business is established, whatever it takes. If it means you take a whole weekend learning a product or researching your competitors so that you better position yourself, whatever, it takes.
As long as it is legal, you have to do whatever it takes to make your business work. Many of the entrepreneurs who fail, don’t have this mentality.
3. The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday: From the US Navy Seals training
If you think training was hard yesterday, then it’s going to be harder today. As an entrepreneur, you are to constantly keep improving yourself. As much as you learned to solve the problems of yesterday, you have to learn to solve the problems of today because the problems of today are harder or bigger than the problems of yesterday.
If you don’t make progress to handle the problems of today, the problems of tomorrow will overwhelm you. Don’t postpone the problems of today, handle them, find a solution. It’s about constantly figuring out ways to improve, ways to be better, ways to be more strategic, ways to be more productive, etc.
4. Peace Through Strength: By USS Ronald Reagan Supercarrier commissioned in 2003
In order to run your business in an environment that you’re in charge of, you got to have strength. There are so many things that will try to take you out of business. You have competitors to contend with and some are ten times bigger than you.
The primary goal is not to have a confrontation, but you have to be prepared to take the challenge head-on and beat them. You have to be prepared to negotiate or find a way to co-exist peacefully but if their goal is to take you under, you got to beat them and that means you got to have strength.
5. Molon Labe (Come and Take Them): From Leonaidas in the movie 300
“Come take them” is a translation from the Greek language used in the movie, 300 where Leonaidas and his small army of three hundred soldiers is facing a mammoth army of the Persians. This is the attitude of the entrepreneur who has put in the time and resources to build their business. When a contrary circumstance or bigger competitor is threatening to sink you, you stand your ground and let them know you’re ready to defend your turf.
This is the reason 60% of Fortune 500 companies in 1970 are no longer in business. The reason being, the underdogs (smaller companies) stood their ground and dared the giants and beat them.
6. Better to Die, Than To Be A Coward: From Royal Gurkha Rifles – UK
The Gurkhas were soldiers recruited from Nepal and they were known to be very brave. What does it mean to better die, than to be a coward? It means that you have to put your fears aside as an entrepreneur.
You better make that call and be rejected than not to make the call at all. Better send out that proposal and receive a no, than just sit there and do nothing. Get whatever fear you have behind you and go do the thing that will bring you new business.
7. Facta Non Verba (Deeds, Not Words): Canadian Special Forces
When you say something, do it. If you promise your client you will do something, do it. If you tell the world you’re going to do something, do it. Show the results, don’t just talk about it.
8. Si vis pacem, para bellum (If You Wish for Peace, Prepare for War): UK Royal Navy
You must have contingency plans in place in your business. Unexpected setbacks can destabilize and threaten the very life of your business. This is especially true for young businesses that may not have a lot of resources.
The idea here is to know and understand the kind of threats that your business is vulnerable to depending on your business environment. Is your business capital intensive and your financial sources are limited? Are your suppliers unreliable? Are you operating in a business sector that is overcrowded?
Are you prepared for any legal challenges? Do you file your tax returns? are your debts growing out of control?
9. Lerne leiden ohne zu klagen (Learn to suffer without complaining): German Special Forces
In business you’ll have difficult moments but you don’t have to keep complaining about every problem you face all the time. Most of the people don’t really care about what you’re going through. Find ways to fix the issues, focus on solutions.
As an entrepreneur, you’re not the only person experiencing challenges of not having enough money, low sales, being late on paying a bill, etc. Your problems are not unique, they’re faced everyday by hundreds of others. The only difference between you and the ones who make it is that, they work harder than you, they put in more time than you, they improve more than you.
10. No Mission too Difficult, No Sacrifice Too Great, Duty First: 1st Infantry Division – US Army
As a business owner you will face and slay many giants along the way. None of these giants are usually too big that you won’t know how to handle. The things that put people out of business are generally due to a lack of preparation. If something happens that you’re not prepared for, it will surely knock you down. Except for the things that are out of your control like strikes, a robbery or sudden illness that leaves you incapacitated, most of the hard things that you will face in your business, you can handle, just be prepared well enough.
Be mission driven, make the necessary sacrifices and know your first duty is to your team and your customers. Take good care of them.
11. The Hard We Shall Do Today, The Impossible We Shall Do Tomorrow: From Israeli Engineering Corps
The more you as an entrepreneur focus on doing the difficult things today and again difficult things tomorrow and you continue doing the difficult things, over and over again, they begin to stack up.
After some time, maybe a year or five years down the line, you will do something that will make everyone wonder how you managed to do the impossible. But you know what, doing the impossible is a combination of doing one thousand hard things.
If you want to do the impossible, be willing to do 1000 hard things, then all of a sudden, you’ll do something that everyone will be calling the impossible.
12. Never Above You, Never Below You, Always Beside You, Oorah: US Marines
As an entrepreneur who is building a business, you have to realize that it’s always about the team that you’re working with. If you have your team’s back and work effectively with your team, then you’ll always win.
We live in unprecedented times and it will take a lot of courage, strategic thinking and innovation to make sure your business outlasts every storm and continue to thrive.
So, which one or two mottos stood out for you and how can you implement them in your business or organization? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.
12 Military Mottos For Entrepreneurs: Adapted from a presentation by Patrick Bet David (PBD) – © Valuetainment.