10 entrepreneurs weigh in on the business icons that inspired them the most

by Ana Lopez

Many professionals look up to entrepreneurs for their determination, perseverance and freedom to have more control over their day-to-day lives. But even entrepreneurs have role models they look up to. Whether it’s other highly successful entrepreneurs, billionaires or just inspiring people, the world is full of people with amazing stories that serve as inspiration for today’s business leaders.

Members below Council for Young Entrepreneurs each shares someone they look up to in the business world, an important business lesson they learned from them and how that lesson has influenced the decisions they make as entrepreneurs.

1.Anand Mahindra

I admire Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group. His dedication to ethical business, innovation and philanthropy is extremely inspiring to me as an entrepreneur. An important lesson I learned from him is to always focus on the customer experience. This has greatly influenced my decisions as a business owner, in that I strive to ensure that every interaction with customers reflects my company’s commitment to quality service and satisfaction. His example also helped me understand the importance of giving back. It has become a cornerstone of my mission as an entrepreneur: to create positive change by investing in people, communities and technology for long-term success. – Pratik Chaskar, spectra

2. Bob Parsons

I look up to Bob Parsons, the founder of the GoDaddy group. The story of how this Vietnam veteran built one of the largest domain registration companies in the world is inspiring. To quote him, “You have to go down a lot of wrong roads to find the right one.” This has been an important business lesson. I learned from him perseverance and the gift of finding wealth in the most unnatural places. When he founded GoDaddy in the 1990s, he tried many things, like building networks and selling education, but it didn’t work out. He lost millions of dollars until the domain name registration business caught on. Every company has to reinvent itself again and again to stay relevant and successful in business. – Brian David Crane, Spread great ideas

3. Tim Cook

I have deep respect for Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple. He has continued to push the brand forward even after the death of the legendary Steve Jobs. A quote that stays with me is, “Let your joy be in your journey – not in some distant goal.” I think we would all do well to remember this advice. The suggestion is that if you spend all your time focusing on the next goal instead of enjoying the journey, you will never be truly satisfied with your achievements. This advice helped me open up and enjoy my journey as an entrepreneur instead of just focusing on numbers and our next big win. – Chris Christopher, Monster Insights

4.Sam Walton

I look up to Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart and a man admired the world over for his work ethic. His hard work and leadership paved the way for Walmart to become the huge brand it is today. He grew the company and did so in a humble but effective way. Walton’s vision led to Walmart becoming one of the most recognizable brands in the world. The lesson I learned from him is that hard work is the key to making your dreams come true. It may take countless failures and years before you recognize success, but if you keep working hard and keep believing in what you’re doing, nothing can stop you from reaching your goal. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes

5. Oprah Winfrey

I look up to Oprah Winfrey as a business woman. She is a great example of someone who achieved success through hard work and dedication. An important business lesson I learned from Oprah is that no matter how hard the journey may be, you should never give up. Her determination to succeed has been an inspiration to me. This lesson has influenced the decisions I make as an entrepreneur by reminding me to stay focused and never give up no matter how hard things seem. It also emphasizes the importance of taking risks in business and believing in yourself even when others don’t. Knowing that failure is a possibility, I am encouraged to make informed decisions and remain persistent no matter the outcome. – Andrew Munro, AffiliateWP

6. Jack Ma

I frequently quote Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba Group, and his example of using his business vision to make doing business easier as a filter for every business decision he has to make. With all the proposals brought to his attention, he would run any idea through the decision filter of “Does this make business easier?” Staying aligned with a clear business vision by using it as a filter for the choices you make will help you stay on track with the direction you want your business to grow. Having a vision, mission and core values ​​is something I have always put at the forefront of my businesses, but I also apply this practice to my personal and family life. By always making decisions according to the principles I’ve set for myself, I know my time and energy will be conserved for what matters most. – David Henzel, TaskDrive

7. Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton has a very “calculated risk” approach to business and life. She admits to having more guts than talent, and that’s a brave thing to say as someone who rose to fame decades ago when women were often expected to play the roles of mother, wife, and supporter of the man of the house. Part of the reason she is so successful in life, love, and business is because of her courage, self-awareness, and how she embraces failure as part of the process. She has thick skin and can poke her for being “too blonde” or “idiot” because deep down she knows who she is, what she values ​​and what she wants to achieve. She also runs a program that sends free books to kids, so she’s someone who uses her profits for philanthropy. – Givelle Lamano, Lamano Law Firm

8.Bill Porter

He’s not very well known, but I’ve always been inspired by the late Bill Porter, a former salesman at Watkins. Porter’s story was told in a book and the movie Door to door. He suffered from cerebral palsy and had to beg to work for Watkins as a salesman. He then asked to have the worst sales area. Porter worked in that area for many years and became the company’s top salesman. He probably worked for Watkins for 40 years or more. I had to chuckle that he even monitored Watkins’ sales at the end of the movie and asked people to contact him if they wanted Watkins products. The lesson I learned from his life is not to limit yourself. Stick to what you know you can do well and don’t let the fear of failure stop you from doing it the best you can. – Baruch Labunski, Rank safe

9. Ariana Huffington

I take inspiration from Arianna Huffington. She is an inspiring entrepreneur who has built successful media companies that promote well-being in the workplace. She is an inspiration to many people and I believe her success reminds us of the importance of finding balance and meaning in our work. – Benjamin Royas, All in one SEO

10. Richard Branson

Richard Branson stands out for his innovative approach to business and his ability to move from one industry to another. Turning is not necessarily something I strive for myself, but it does show an incredibly creative attitude. For example, Virgin Records was a very influential company in the music business, but Branson eventually sold it as the music industry evolved and new technologies began to replace record stores. Like many airlines, Virgin Atlantic has struggled in recent years, but I expect Branson will always find a way to get on its feet and provide the services it needs in the years to come. – Kalin Kassabov, ProText

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