Get All Access for $5/mo

3 Clichés Entrepreneurs Should Actually Follow While some clichés shortcuts and euphemisms that serve only to shield people's true thoughts and keep them from voicing their opinions, these three have stood the test of time and are well known for a reason.

By Cassie Petrey Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Clichés wouldn't have become clichés unless they resonated. But these days, it feels like businesses are afraid to embrace these fundamental truths and instead work desperately to "think outside the box" and "reinvent the wheel" (without phrasing it that way, of course, or they would perpetuate more dreaded clichés).

Obviously, not all clichés are helpful. Some are shortcuts and euphemisms that serve only to shield people's true thoughts and keep them from voicing their opinions. However, these three clichés stand the test of time and should be reintroduced into the workplace vernacular:

Related: The Best Business Advice You'll Ever Get

1. The customer is always right.

This notion might be frustrating, but it's important to respect customers' points of view and to try to please them, no matter how difficult they might be. A recent study found that 76 percent of Americans consider customer service the "true test" of how much a company values them. Companies that rank customers as their top priorities will naturally have better customer service.

Those who object to this cliché are probably taking it too literally. Clients always being "right" doesn't necessarily mean that anything they say goes, but they must feel satisfied. The customer isn't always right, of course, but it usually doesn't matter: Every problem is an opportunity to make the customer happier.

2. It's a win-win situation.

Everybody involved in a transaction should feel like they're winning; it's the core concept of any great business. Whenever one side ceases to "win," it signals a work relationship starting to go bad.

For years, my company Crowd Surf usually ended up on the losing end of our customer relationships. We would go above and beyond to make our clients and employees happy but often, without realizing it, did so without direct benefit to us. Taking on too much makes leading more difficult because becoming exhausted hinders communication and judgment.

More recently, we've prioritized making all our relationships "win-win" and have seen positive changes in every level of our organization.

Related: How Reflection Sets You Up for Success

3. It is what it is.

In business, some factors are completely out of the entrepreneur's control, so he just needs to learn how to let go and realize "it is what it is." No matter how many emails you send, you can't change a bad deal or a terrible concept.

When Jade and I started Crowd Surf, we took on any client who would pay us, thinking our online marketing campaigns could be successful -- regardless of the product's quality. Big mistake. No matter how amazing our campaigns, the bad products failed. We had to accept that "it is what it is" -- that we weren't going to make a lousy product better with an awesome campaign.

When a strategy has been experimented with and given time to succeed and is still underperforming, it can be smart to quit and move on. It's important to know when to preserve energy for use when it matters. The sooner entrepreneurs can shrug their shoulders and move to the next task, the sooner they can focus on innovating, growing and making customers happy.

These phrases are as simple as they come, but each can influence mindsets, and therefore careers, in a positive way. They can help maintain the focus on nurturing happy client-vendor relationships and prevent entrepreneurs from expending too much energy on situations that aren't worthwhile. Reconsider these clichés, remembering that they're well-worn for a reason.

Related: Why Leaders Should Think Like Teenagers

Cassie Petrey

CEO and Founder at Crowd Surf

Always seeking innovative ways to create organic, meaningful connections between artists and their fans, Cassie Petrey formed Crowd Surf in 2007. The company has offices in Los Angeles and Nashville, Tenn., and provides specialized marketing services to some of the biggest names in music and entertainment.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.


This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.


Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.