From family and friends to colleagues or even celebrities, anyone can become an important business influence. So, I have asked the contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to explain who their biggest influences are for their own businesses. Their answers are presented below in no particular order. Hopefully, you can find some inspiration from their inspirations!

You may notice some similar influences and ideas, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.

1. Lessons From Dad

As my father had his own business as I was growing up, I was able to see both the good and bad times of owning a business. At age 10, I was answering the phone, performing basic accounting, typing, cleaning, and painting new business locations. He shared with me what made a business successful and when times were economically hard from the poor economy, it was explained in detail what types of changes needed to be made. My being in business today is all based on the lessons I learned when I was young.
Thanks to: Carol Coots of Practical Cost Reduction.

2. My Family Inspires Me the Most

I once was a corporate executive assistant. I moved from job to job. I was stuck. I dreamed, desired and oh, so badly wanted to live a creative lifestyle and have a creative career. One day, I stopped, looked around and re-determined my future. I taught myself graphic design and launched my biz. 32 months ago, I quit the cube life. My kiddos inspire me the MOST, because they are fearless, creative + following my every business move. I want to succeed to show them that DREAMS ARE REAL + POSSIBLE.
Thanks to: Julie Holloway of JMH Cre8ive Solutions.

3. A Sale is Not a Sale...

When I started my career in marketing 35 years ago at a small radio station, my sales manager Arnie Schwartz told me "A sale is not a sale until the money is in the bank. If you can't collect it, don't bill it." Those words stuck with me and caused us to put procedures in place that resulted in a 99% collection rate for our agency over the past 15 years. In part, that advice was responsible for keeping us in business.
Thanks to: Barry Cohen of AdLab Media Communications, LLC.

4. He Told Me Where My Head Was

Frank Blau was a columnist for a plumbing magazine. He wrote a compelling article on crafting a profitable selling price. As the wife of a plumber and the financial manager of our struggling family biz, I read the article. Then, I wrote Frank a letter, explaining why what he suggested wouldn't work. He called me up and told me where my head was. HINT: a dark place. The good news is...I listened to this wise, though gruff, man. That was the beginning of my life as a biz pro.
Thanks to: Ellen Rohr of Bare Bones Biz, Inc.

5. Give Your Word, Be Your Word

My father was the most influential person in my professional and personal life. He taught me integrity as a young child by demonstrating it each and every day of his life. He told me to give my word, keep my word and be my word, as that is all we have! As a result, I honor him (and myself) by doing just that. It makes life much easier and people are happy to interact and do business with me because of it.
Thanks to: Rosanne DAusilio, PhD of Human Technologies Global Inc.

6. An Oldie but a Goodie

My biggest influence in business is Napoleon Hill, author of the book, "Think and Grow Rich." This is quite possibly the best book ever written on the formula for how people become rich and how you can follow that formula to become very successful too. I recommend that everyone reads this book at least once per year. It WILL change your life. It sure changed mine.
Thanks to: Peter Geisheker of The Geisheker Group Marketing Firm.

7. Biggest Blogger Influence

John McDougall of McDougal Interactive.

I interview him and his team on my NPR Radio show "That Was Zen, This is Tao". I asked him core questions of confusion concerning back links, SEO, how to post etc. He suggested I create "Ask Lewis" as a brand because I wrote about so many areas of interest - business, current affairs, public policy, futurism and wellness. He has been invaluable and very generous. He was especially helpful with blogging for my book "Gamification for Business".
Thanks to: Lewis Harrison of Ask Lewis.

8. You Can Do Anything

My father, deceased since 1976, was, is, and always will be the biggest influence in my life. He told me when I was very young, "you can do anything you put your mind to". I often think of that! He was right!
Thanks to: Kathleen Anderson.

9. Aunt Minnie

Aunt Minnie was the pinnacle of chic. Clothes, style and fit mattered. She transfused her elegance and chic wherever she went. It was understood that when you visited in her in NYC, you made every attempt to walk differently, talk differently and essentially "be" different from any "suburban" ways.
Culture was in her blood, chic was in her blood and I couldn't wait to be invited into her world. Being around her has definitely influenced me to create Measuringupapp.
Thanks to: Lauri Chertok of Measuringupapp.

10. OJOC's #1 Benefactor Donor

Operation Just One Can is moving along effectively because of Sprocket Media CEO Kyle Walkenhorst in Los Angeles. EVERY organization needs an advocate who inspires and offers positive feedback. The social media, web site creation, and web hosting issues his group provided is ALL free! We are a stronger project because of HIS willingness to offer support ANYWAY that is possible.
Thanks to: Tony Marren of Operation Just One Can.

11. Up the Organization

The book by Robert Townsend, UP THE ORGANIZATION was a book that influenced me and set an example to follow throughout my very successful business career. Robert Townsend was the man who turned money-losing Avis into a profitable and effective organization. Over the years, I have read many books on business, but quite honestly, nothing competes with UP THE ORGANIZATION in its simplicity and effectiveness. Too many words in a strategy lead to boredom. Townsend kept it simple and effective.
Thanks to: Jacob Singer of

12. A College Grad Student in 1975

What a fellow College student told me before we went our separate ways at graduation in 1975. He knew how hard I worked to put myself through school. My job involved very hard labor. He asked if I knew how he paid for his education- a MBA. I answered no. Keep in mind this was the day when "Space Ads" in magazines were king (no internet). He placed about ten ads in Tabloid type of magazines that read such as "Mastic answers 5 questions $5." Checks flooded his PO Box, paying for 6 yrs of college.
Thanks to: Gary Bronga of Clipeze Worldwide, Inc.

13. Collective Influence Matters

As we shape our planetary future, we are shifting individually and in collaboration with each other to evolve. Less influenced by a single person, I am most positively inspired by the collective of clients who are willing to discard outworn/false beliefs and embrace the uncertainty of moving forward without a plan crafted by the ego/mind/personality. This is the definition of true courage. I am continually amazed at how many are willing to be truly transformed by welcoming the unknown. So bold!
Thanks to: Charlon Bobo of Alchemy For Men.

14. Dad Always Said, "Go for it!"

My father was my biggest influence in business. A lifelong entrepreneur, he taught me to seek out opportunities in every situation. He encouraged me to control my own destiny by starting my own business. He had a go-for-it attitude that helped me to be decisive and take action. Finally, he taught me to learn from all experiences, good and bad.
Thanks to: Susan Greene of Greene Marketing, LLC.

15. Stop Being the Lone Monkey

Kelly O'Neill, a top business strategist, gave me this advice: "Bring on the best book editors you can find to work for you, so you can have multiple projects happening. Otherwise, you are just trading your precious time for dollars. You can't really increase your income that way." So, I brought on people who are some of the best editors in the country. As a result, my reputation became solidified within the publishing industry and my business grew considerably. It was the best advice ever.
Thanks to: Randy Peyser of Author One Stop, Inc.

16. Richard Branson

Richard Branson is probably my single biggest influence in business because he has taken so many risks, both inside his various ventures as well outside with his personal quests. He truly thinks "outside the box". He is in my opinion a true visionary, trailblazer, as well as humanitarian. The thing that amazes me most about him is that he has failed probably more than he has succeeded in his ventures, yet his successes have been massive. Branson's passion is what makes Virgin such a global success.
Thanks to: Eric Knight of Eric Knight Online.

17. How to Get a Shark to Bite

Last year, we enrolled in E Freedom with Kevin Harrington, former Shark from Shark Tank. We were skeptical about our ROI from this program! Kevin proved to be the real deal. Kevin taught us that not all products are successful, but you have to keep inventing- he is always searching for the next big catch.
Kevin did not invest in our first product, so we keep designing and will pitch until the shark bites!
Thanks to: Kathleen Brosmith of KOEZY.

18. Mom Showed Me How to Do it All

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember just how hard my mother worked. Though, on top of all that she did with her job, I remember her being at every single one of my performances, games, and important milestones. She not only taught me the importance of hard work and helping to provide for my family, but the importance of being there for my family as well. Because of her, I knew it was possible to run a business and be an amazing, attentive mother as well.
Thanks to: Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation.

19. Chocolate Inspirations

The most inspirational person in my business life is Milton Hershey. He failed at least three times and became totally bankrupt before his great success. He never gave up, had great passion, and created a niche for products that were different from what existed. But what is just as inspirational is how he used his money to support so many non-profits and people and children in need. Plus ,he gave away virtually all of his wealth when he was still alive...truly one extraordinary man!
Thanks to: Craig Wolfe of Cocoa Canard.

20. The Start of a Journey

There's one person that has influenced my business more than anyone else.

It's not a well-known author, speaker or even a business coach.

It was my university lecturer (Carl Barton from Staffordshire University in the United Kingdom) who gave one presentation that showed me exactly what was possible to achieve with an entrepreneurial mind-set.

That single presentation set the course of my entire career, my business and the growth of other businesses I have consulted with.
Thanks to: Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard.

21. Grandma's Brilliant Wisdom!

At age 90, grandma could empty a bag of groceries and perfectly calculate the total cost in her head. This feat was acquired from years of experience having home businesses. A masterful craftswoman raising and selling vegetables/fruits, chickens, distilled wine, crocheted blankets, and being a seamstress and chef, all to supplement her coal miner husband's meager income of $5 a week, she taught me creativity, resourcefulness, finance, simplicity, perseverance, patience, economy and the importance of gratitude.
Thanks to: Dr. Daria M. Brezinski of What Wize Women Want.

22. Business Lessons From Mom

My mom’s childhood dream was to become an artist. However, artists were classified as a bad social class in Mao’s China. So, she became a nurse. She was forced to move to a small town far from home and work at a tiny clinic. She was the best nurse there, even though she received no salary increase for 17 years. Later, she learned painting after she retired. In 2013, she held a successful art show in the US. She taught me to never give up a dream, but always give the best effort here and now.
Thanks to: Helen Raleigh of Red Meadow Advisors, LLC.

23. Friends Teach Friends

Several publicist pals and I hung out our PR shingles at the same time. We knew little about running a business. I gathered them together for monthly meetings. We invited a guest speaker each time (accountant, another publicist, a journalist). We learned about billing, expenses, client acquisition, vendors, etc. We cheered each other’s successes and supported each other over the rough patches. I’m in a similar group now and it’s invaluable!
Thanks to: Flo Selfman of Words à la Mode.

24. Inspiring Hubs

Thirty-four years ago, I started my video production company with my best friend. Thirty-three years ago, I married him.

My husband always tells me if I have spinach in my teeth. He has my back. He tells me I can do anything I think I can. If I (we) fail, he says we've succeeded in trying. We¹re batting about 300, so 90% of the game really is half mental, to quote Yogi Bera!

How could he not be my greatest inspiration?
Thanks to: Christine Scioli of Zan Media.

25. Keep the Faith

My biggest influence is my father, Mike Ward. Growing up, my dad was a Firefighter, my soccer & basketball coach, team-dad, & competed in Iron Man Triathlons. He was literally super dad! In 1997, my dad was paralyzed in a mountain biking accident, making him a quadriplegic. Our lives were forever changed. My dad lost the use of his physical body, but did not lose his faith, which is contagious! My dad has taught me "I can do all things," to keep the faith, work hard, & most importantly, be myself.
Thanks to: Rebecca Stewart of VIP Nannies Inc., Household Staffin.

26. Our Kings & Queens of Feedback

Our greatest influencers have been the people we serve; our customers and team. We ask our customers regularly what we can provide for them. We've of course read several books and attend numerous live events and webinars on business and leadership, but none of them have impacted us like the feedback of our customers and team. They help us refine our core values, measure the degree to which we are hitting our mission, and provide us with ideas for products and services.
Thanks to: Eric Dingler of Whole Life Leadership.

27. Seinfeld Told Me "Work Clean"!

Years ago, Jerry Seinfeld dropped in unannounced to do a set at a club in New York. Despite being terrified, I got up the nerve to approach him and ask if he had any tips for a beginning comedian. "Work clean - you will work everywhere", he said.

Since then, I've performed in 22 countries and for Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Mike Bloomberg, Steve Wozniak, Arianna Huffington and others, at events where dirty comedy would never be tolerated. Seinfeld's advice changed my life.
Thanks to: Dan Nainan of

28. Sometimes Dad Does Know Best

I grew up in a house with an entrepreneur. In fact, a serial entrepreneur. Some things went really well, some things... not so much. However, through everything, my father taught me valuable lessons about business. He taught me the expressions "whatever it takes" and "don't think short term". These expressions have followed me throughout my business life. Take care of the customer, make it right and focus on long term goals and you will always succeed in the end. Hmmm, he did know best!
Thanks to: Ben Baker of CMYK Solutions Inc.

29. Businesses Inspired By Love

My business inspiration has nothing to do with business. My inspiration comes from my husband and son, knowing that all I do is spiritually motivated by my love for them. My husband survived a near fatal injury, I overcame an incident prior, add two legal battles and a high risk pregnancy, but regardless we overcame it all to have a happy, healthy family, a successful medical practice, a luxury skincare line, a publishing company & more. We’ve come a long way and belief is only the beginning.
Thanks to: Stephanie Adams-Nicolai of Wall Street Chiropractic & Wellness.

30. Global Walk Motivated My Steps

The woman who physically WALKED around THE WORLD motivated me to start my own business. Polly Letofsky took five years to complete her global trek and launched a speaking career about it. I thought to myself, if this little thing (Well, she's my height) can get around the entire world by putting one step in front of the other, what was I afraid of? Because of her unshakable faith that she would complete her journey, I started mine, and have now celebrated my own local and national recognitions.
Thanks to: Anthonette Klinkerman of Courtesy Bootcamp™.

31. Work Less, Play Golf More

The biggest influence in my business is Timothy Feriss and his book "The 4 Hour Work Week". Like most people, I want to make more while working less to spend more time with my family, etc. But I SPECIFICALLY wanted more time for myself so I can play golf more. One of my ultimate goals in life is to have the freedom to play golf as often as I want whenever I want. I even play golf during winter, in Utah, which is not easy. And it's fun to know I can play anytime I want without the worry.
Thanks to: John Jonas of Replace Myself.

32. Teddy Roosevelt

I read two biographies on Teddy Roosevelt years ago, and they had a great influence on me (both written by Edmund Morris). What I learned was that Roosevelt did not have an easy road to success, based on his family's money. He dealt with severe health problems as a child. His father died when he was young. His mother and first wife died in the same house- on the same day. In spite of all of this, Roosevelt had an almost super-human work ethic and positive outlook. A great role model for me.
Thanks to: Ken Boyd of St Louis Test Prep.

33. A Lawyer Like Dad

My father, who was a lawyer, has been my greatest influence to also practice law. Growing up, I always marveled at his command of facts and figures, his ability to persuade with compelling arguments and to lead people to trust his authority. I often think back to my dad when interacting with clients. My father taught me to treat clients with the patience that is often needed to explain complex legal concepts to laypeople that are unfamiliar with the law. He has been my greatest influence.
Thanks to: Matthew Reischer of Legal Marketing Pages Corp.

34. Deliberate Practice

Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger grew up knowing they wanted to build big profitable businesses. They were driven not by practice but rather by a deep driven desire to learn, then apply. Warren Buffet worked as an intern with no pay to learn his trade. These business titans have built an empire in middle America far from the clutches of Wall Street. I am inspired by their dedication and commitment along with holding true to their core values.
Thanks to: Jerry Pollio of Franchise Futures.

35. Can't Beat Motherly Love

My mother, who left her career at Goldman Sachs to raise my brother and I, assists and inspires me with my business. When I check my email in the morning, there are multiple messages regarding potential business recommendations for Teenager Entrepreneur. In addition to helping my brother and I with our businesses, she runs her own functional nutrition practice, guiding others to live fulfilled, healthy lives. Lastly, she acts in a pure sense of kindness unmatched by anyone I know.
Thanks to: Michael Guberti of Teenager Entrepreneur.

36. Fabulous Fabienne

The single most important influence in my business has been my coach Fabienne Frederickson from The Client Attraction Business School. I've worked in her programs for about three years. The incredible guidance, support and surety has helped me create a client-focused website, clarify my brand messaging, be consistent, and get out of my own way. Her program is comprehensive and a total game-changer. I am very grateful for the guidance, generosity and results I've received as a client.
Thanks to: Cena Block of Sane Spaces, LLC.

37. He Was Wise

My Dad. When I went into business, he gave me very clear advice about happiness and money.

Although never rich, he was obviously a very happy person. He had found a balance between working hard at business, enjoying family life & having personal time.

This made him a joy to be around. No matter how tough things got at business, he kept his attitude of being happy in spite of it all.

By osmosis, I too have become that same type of being, and business & life are a place to play.
Thanks to: Harris Glasser of Serving The People Press.

38. An Unlikely Teacher

The biggest influence on my business was a person who never worked… that is outside the home. My mom never earned a college degree. She never held a full-time job. She never created a new product or service. So, how did she know so much about business? She had what most people lack- a curiosity about the world and a common sense approach to problem-solving. She taught me how to ask questions and find answers. That has served me well in every aspect of doing business.
Thanks to: Cynthia Kay of Cynthia Kay and Company.

39. Always Ask "Why?"

I learned more about business from a cinema professor in college than anything since: He told us (directors of graduate projects at USC) this: "All I'm going to do all year long is ask you 'Why?'--And "It seemed like a good idea at the time" is a perfectly okay answer." Since then, in every business including my current one, constantly asking "Why?" of myself and others helps me anticipate problems, really LEARN my business, and make it stronger, better, and successful, too! Ask "Why?" It works!
Thanks to: Dan Fendel of Float Plan One.

40. It's All Because of Him

As a former teacher, I can't say that being an entrepreneur ever crossed my mind. My husband on the other hand, has that entrepreneurial spirit and it totally rubbed off on me. Believe it or not, it turns out that teachers make great entrepreneurs. Our minds are always thinking about how we can improve things. If it wasn't for him, I don't think I'd ever have given entrepreneurship (and writing/blogging) a thought. He has truly changed how I view my role the World and the legacy I leave behind.
Thanks to: Katy Tafoya of Success for Solopreneurs.

41. A Child Inspires Me Daily

My biggest business influencer is a child named Ajia. I met Ajai at a character building camp for kids run by NFL player Montell Owens. Ajia wasn't feeling well. He was hungry. I joyfully took care of him. I founded Insightful Player to partner with NFL role models like Montell to empower youth. Breaking into the NFL was hard.I thought about giving up. Ajia kept me going. Many kids do not have a positive champion in their life. I created Insightful Player for Ajia & kids like him. Thanks Ajia!
Thanks to: Chrissy Carew of Insightful Player, LLC.

42. Talk to Your Bartender!

The person who influenced me the most is the person who inspired me to start my business. His name was Gib Whiteman; I met him while I was working food-and-beverage at a hotel and he was a speaker/trainer for a company that was using a meeting room in our hotel. I happened to work the cocktail reception after their day of training and started chatting with him about what he did and how much I, too, would like to be a trainer. He took me under his wing and 25 years later, I am still in business!
Thanks to: Nanette Miner of The Training Doctor, LLC.

43. Inspired By a Bad Example

I am a consultant who was inspired by a slick and charismatic (but useless) consultant. He took a huge paycheck, barely showed up and had few solutions. But I was inspired. I thought, "There must be a better way!" and decided to start my own consulting company. My mission was to avoid the "what not to do" precedent and, instead, bring conscientious, swift and economic results to my clients. By heeding his bad example, I was able to create lasting results for my many clients. A precious thing!
Thanks to: Kate Edwards of Kate Edwards Consulting, LLC.

44. My Two Biggest Biz Influences

Far too many biz gurus aren't truly experiencing success themselves, yet they confidently share faulty info about creating biz profits. These 2 are the real deal.

DAN KENNEDY is brilliant, bold, harsh & always tells it like it is. He affirms my entrepreneurial drive & equips me w/ strategies necessary to reach new & impressive $$ goals in my biz.

STEVE CHANDLER is brilliant at the process of marketing one conversation at a time & his simplistic approach has transformed my biz & bottom-line.
Thanks to: Michelle Pippin of Women Who WOW.

45. Gary V Made Me Quit My Job

My biggest influence in business right now is Gary Vaynerchuk. His no-bullshit style is very refreshing. Gary says to care about the customer and use social media to go where people are. I quit my successful financial planning business to start a digital marketing agency because of him. I have listened to all his keynotes and read all his books. He tells it like it is and has an authenticity that I really admire.
Thanks to: Simon Granner of Next Gen Digital Marketing.

46. Forgiveness, Not Permission

I worked for a very prominent person in Chicago. He once said to me, “Here is how I was raised by my parents. I was taught to coldly calculate the upside and downside of what I was about to do. And, typically the downside wasn't so bad. Then, just go ahead and do it. If you wind up doing something wrong, just say that you're sorry and you'll never do it again. What can you say to a person after they've said they're sorry?”

It's much better to beg for forgiveness than it is for permission.
Thanks to: Paul Dillon of Dillon Consulting Services LLC.

47. Mark Cuban's Our MVP

Mark Cuban has been a phenomenal mentor to HourlyNerd. He's been in every business situation that we've faced and has seen what worked and what didn't. His philosophy (that sales is the 1st, 2nd and 3rd most important part of any business) is simple yet elegant. As he correctly explains, no business has ever gone belly-up from too many sales, but many have from excessive expenses. We're living a real-life shark tank, having him as an investor & loving every minute of it.
Thanks to: Rob Biederman of HourlyNerd.

48. Ludwig and Me

Beethoven dedicated his Symphony #3 to Napoleon. He wrote that if he "understood war the way he understood music he would be the equal of Napoleon", he saw himself was a King, or Emperor, in his chosen field.

When I started my business, I had clients who were corporate executives and I was somewhat intimidated. Thinking of Beethoven, I came to see myself as the King of my chosen field, Graphic Design. It gave me the confidence to deal clients as an equal, rather than in a subservient role.
Thanks to: Michael Pilla of pilla creative marketing.

49. Chicken Soup for My Business?

Jack Canfield (of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series) has been the biggest influence on my business with 3 of his principles: (1) E+R=O (event+my response=outcome) has helped me take 100% ownership in my actions; (2) Ask! Ask! Ask! I'm now more comfortable in asking for whatever it is I may need in my business; and (3) SWSWSWSW – Some will, some won’t, so what, someone’s waiting – meaning that not everyone will be a customer, so get over it and move on to someone who will be.
Thanks to: Carol Margolis of Smart Women Travelers, Inc.

50. Lights off. Hard Work on.

My inspiration: Coach Roy Williams (UNC Men's Basketball)

Starting a business and building traction is hard, grueling work. And when it gets tough, I often fall back on North Carolina Men's Basketball coach Roy William's words:

1) Outwork your competition every single day, not just when the lights are shining bright.
2) Character counts.
3) Win on and off the court.

These wise words, though gleaned during his basketball coaching career, are very relevant in every aspect of life.
Thanks to: Rahul Razdan of Charity Footprints.

51. Keep it Positive

I'd already been in business for over two decades when I happened to work on a project with a CMO from another company who inspired me to really turn my ideas of business around. Too many people in business talk about "win-win" situations, and too few of them actually make those work. She did. "Only work with positive people, and only work in a positive way," she counseled me. "It means that you'll look forward to every day—and success will follow." She was right.
Thanks to: Jeannette de Beauvoir of Customline Wordware.

52. My Influence: Martin Scorsese

My biggest inspiration in business is Martin Scorsese, legendary filmmaker of: Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Wolf of Wall Street and more.


1. Powerful storytelling
2. Drive and passion for his work despite setbacks and controversy
3. Innovative techniques and creativity
4. Inspires the very best performances out of those around him
5. Student of the game who is constantly studying and learning his industry

All are essential for people starting a business.
Thanks to: Justin Lyon of Critical.

53. Inspired By Dad

My Dad started his own business working alone. His first shop was in an old metal building that he rented. His paper work was inside a shoe box and he had one employee. Today, he owns 3 buildings and employs over 60 workers. He was not afraid to work hard. He was the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. My Dad never taught me how to weld; instead, he taught me to how to succeed in business by applying myself, working hard and being persistent. Knowing what he achieved is inspiring me every day.
Thanks to: Orit Pennington of TPGTEX Label Solutions.

54. When Realtors Are Connectors

A local Realtor, Linda McCaffrey, has been my biggest influence in business in recent years. Her enthusiasm and energy make her a pleasure to be around.

She's a strong, confident woman with the ability to lead, delegate and nurture. But more importantly, she is a connector.

She understands the value of bringing people together. When others succeed in their endeavors, Linda does too.

She inspires me to connect more, be more, and reach for more, knowing that I have more to give too.
Thanks to: Tara Alemany of Aleweb Social Marketing.

55. Inspirational Millionaire Jerk

Reza Satchu has been the most influential for me and my business. As Co-founder of the Next 36 and creator of the popular Economics of Entrepreneurship course at the University of Toronto, he's known as the millionaire jerk. He's shared countless stories at the Next Founders program (a program I've been accepted in) and continues to be an inspiration to entrepreneurs.
Thanks to: Ryan Austin of In.Acuity.

56. My Dear Dad

My dad has been my biggest influence in business, which is interesting since he was never an entrepreneur and held the same government job for many years. He valued security over risk. However, he influences me in all my business relationships. He was known for his kindness and how he treated others. To me, business success depends on relationships. I try to show kindness to everyone I interact with through my business no matter their title.
Thanks to: Emily Kristofferson of Emily Kristofferson.

57. Bigger Than Big Influence

My biggest business influence in my life is my sister Amy. She has started a major company and created it into what it is today from the ground up. I started with her desire of customer care and satisfaction for all. When growing up, my sister was always teaching me the business, but she didn't know it. I always hung out with her at her office, so I picked up on little things here and there. Before you know it, I was ready to go out on my own and apply her principles to Mason.
Thanks to: Michael Kleinman of Mason Eyewear.

58. The Rhythm of Life

Many speak on influences including a variety of famous and people from their daily lives. I can attribute the same measures to my influences and to choose the largest would come from within. My biggest influence is myself. I have always been a lover of music and film, especially hip hop culture. It took listening to my inner self and simply taking a leap forward which got my juices flowing in the right direction. It is a desire that had gotten me creating hip hop entertainment.
Thanks to: Chun Ko of ChangsterDJ.

59. Desire and Will: All it takes!

Richard Simmons. Who would have ever thought someone in spandex, ridiculous hair, and fluorescent colors could motivate people to believe in themselves and take charge of their own weight loss? He strongly believes in what he does and preaches, he pours his heart and soul into his message, his enthusiasm is contagious and therefore, people are compelled to follow his advice! He took exercise videos to the next level. Compassion, conviction and funky wardrobe make him a forever successful health coach!
Thanks to: Carolina Jantac of Kid Kritics.

60. Biggest Business Influence

When I first started Crown & Caliber, I, along with other employees, worked long hours. On one of these late nights, one colleague said to me, "Remember: The purpose of working is to provide for your family." His statement reminded me that it's important to keep things in perspective. It is very easy to get consumed with working hard to build a business. But one must remember that all of this hard work is for loved ones. This statement has had a strong influence on how I manage Crown & Caliber.
Thanks to: Hamilton Powell of Crown and Caliber.

61. Ugh! Why Didn't I Listen?!!!

Ok. I'll admit it, sometimes I'm thick.

The same intense focus and determination that has brought success can also hurt me. I can get so focused on opportunity and helping others that I can miss major landmines.

That's where my wife comes in.

She loves me, cares for me and wants the best for me and our family. She is excellent at seeing potential problems. Some of my biggest failures came when I didn't lend a keen ear to her.

Now, I listen intently before making final decisions.
Thanks to: Chris Goegan of Engineered Marketing Solutions.

62. It's All About Marketing

Marketing is a business’s most important activity. This truth was articulated by the late business guru Peter Drucker, who has most influenced my writing and teaching. “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. The customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence,” Drucker said. If a business exists to create customers and marketing’s purpose is to bring in customers, then marketing is a business’s most central function.
Thanks to: Dave Ramacitti of

63. Is Dad...Was Dad

My father came home from work and said he'd been made a laborer ( a fetch this, fetch that man). I was upset at the thought of him being ordered around by other men.
"Listen" he said "I'm going to be the best laborer in the place. Any gang is only as good as its laborer and they'll treat me with respect."
All through his life that was his motto and when he left us, his funeral was attended by many people from his "gang."
I hope to carry on his message... "Be the best you can be."
Thanks to: Ernie Boxall of Balance Health and Fitness.

64. A Grandma's Lasting Legacy

My Swedish grandmother (Farmor) who passed away just before I entered high school continues to have the greatest impact on my business. Her clarity of thought as a teenager helped her to put together a 20 year plan to come to America. She was a small woman and yet to this day, I cannot fill her shoes. Hard work was always present, yet there was time for fun and enjoying life. I still remember her words of wisdom and share those with my clients. She epitomized self leadership.
Thanks to: Leanne Hoagland-Smith of ADVANCED SYSTEMS.

65. And a Child Shall Lead Them

My biggest business influences are my sons. They are my motivation to succeed. I was not fulfilled in the career that I chose. I didn't want my kids see me stay in a job where I was unhappy so I started Happy Fix. It is important to show my sons that they have the ability to set goals and reach them through hard work and dedication. I want to show them that they can do anything they want to do in life through focus and continual learning. I’m setting that example.
Thanks to: Stacy Menzies of Happy Fix.

66. The Innovative Chiropractor

In my early twenties, I experienced bad lower back pain. This began trips to the chiropractor, where surprisingly, he would always want to provide information about mattresses and sleeping positions. Finally he just blurted out, "it's 1/3 of your life and most people get back problems because they never think about it. That should be your next company, tell people how to improve their lives through sleep!" I went home, researched the market, and launched my company two months later.
Thanks to: Kenny Kline of Slumber Sage.

67. Desire to Tell it All...

I was a teenager when I realized my desire for sharing stories. I was a reformed tattletale who now channels my storytelling powers for good.

Being excommunicated from sibling affection & inside jokes during childhood – as well as the target of many retaliatory sibling ambushes & assaults – I forged ahead in honing the talent of sharing stories & other vital news. Capturing & sharing the entrepreneurial journey on behalf of small business owners is a dream come true.

That's my story.
Thanks to: Annesa L Lacey, B2B Ghostwriter of @.l.interpretations.

68. Never Accepting Failure

Pride in creating and dealing with the rigors of sustaining a business, never accepting failure as the ultimate cop-out, is a core family value, instilled by my parents, Emmanuel & Emma Weaver. I built my successful 25+ year firm, Alignment Strategies, on those values. I learned "gutsiness"/"real-time", working in my family's cab business--started in the 1940s--because my family refused to accept the limitations of segregation. I learned that Blacks could be successful architects of their own fate.
Thanks to: Dr. Vanessa Weaver of Alignment Strategies Inc.

69. Taking Care of Your Team

I would have to say my boss from many years ago, Carol Ruth. She believed in taking care of her team and tried to make it fun for everyone, and in return, everyone dedicated themselves completely to their job. When I started my business and was going through issues of being a firm no one knew about and not having the backing as a big conglomerate, I often thought of Carol Ruth and the struggles she had gone through initially and I kept moving forward. She is a woman of great power.
Thanks to: Patricia Baronowski of Pristine Advisers.

70. Nintendo Can Shape Your Life

Technology has been a big part of my life. Saturo Iwata, President/CEO of Nintendo has been an inspiration in my career development.

Today, a lot of the games on Nintendo’s platform have focused on helping people communicate. Technology has advanced because of people like Iwata. I pursued a career in tech & started a GPS tracking company. In many countries, homicides & missing children are a concern. With my GPS Solutions, families are confident knowing their loved ones stay safe.
Thanks to: Andres Ramirez of Anio GPS.

Who is the biggest influence to you and your business? Please share yours below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!

And if you would like to become a part of the contributor network and find out about opportunities to contribute to future articles, sign up here: