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Women’s History Month – Maya Angelou and Beggars Choosing

“Ask for what you want and prepared to get it.”


During the month of March each year all across the United States, people celebrate Women’s History Month. This blog was created to encourage, inspire, and motivate people to be their best at work and home. During the month of March each year, we share quotes from Maya Angelou. Each quote is analyzed to show why Angelou’s words, written so long ago are appropriate for today’s entrepreneurs.

So, sit back read the beautiful words, then check out the analysis. Stay with us for the entire month and feel free to share your own interpretation in the comments. Today’s quote is:


“Ask for what you want and prepared to get it.”


This quote is important because it has 3 lessons for entrepreneurs. These lessons are:

  1. Pay attention to what is going on.
  2. Beggars can be choosers.
  3. Don’t get ready, stay ready.


Pay attention to what is going on.


If you want to succeed in business you must pay attention to what is going on with your business. Do you know your profit margin? Do you know your break-even numbers? Do you know cost flow patterns for your business? DO you know which employees are most productive? All of these questions and many more are pieces of information entrepreneurs must pay attention to on a regular basis. You must know what is going on in your business if you are going to operate it successfully.

Smart entrepreneurs make decisions from a place of knowledge. Even when they guess or estimate, they are making those guesses and estimates based up facts that they know from paying attention to what is going on in the business. Smart entrepreneurs do not make decisions in a vacuum with no idea what is going on in their businesses. So, be sure to pay attention to what is going on in your business.


Beggars can be choosers.

I have always believed that beggars can be choosers. I know that goes against popular thought. However, if you want to succeed in business, you must learn to be a choosy beggar. For example, if you need to hire more employees, don’t take computers. If you need marketing help, do not ask for computer paper. When you pay attention to what is going on in your business, even if you need to beg for or ask for things, you will know what you need to ask for.

When it comes to asking for things for your business, ask with authority. This means take time to prepare your ask. A wise person once said, “you have not because you ask not and when you ask you ask amiss.” In other words, if your business needs things, ask for them. When you ask for them, be specific. Ask for 10 computers, not some computers. Ask for help developing a social media marketing strategy for Facebook, not for marketing help. Never forget that beggars actually can be choosers.

Don’t get ready, stay ready.


In order to succeed in business, don’t get ready, stay ready. In other words, be prepared to accept new business that comes. Be ready to deal with customer complaints. Have your refund policy in place before a customer asks for a refund. Be ready to hire new employees, don’t get ready once they have been hired. To succeed in business, be proactive, in other words, don’t get ready, stay ready.

Never forget Maya Angelou was correct when she said, “Ask for what you want and prepared to get it.” Also remember the three lessons for entrepreneurs from that quote: pay attention to what is going on, beggars can be choosers, don’t get ready, stay ready.

Come back tomorrow when the quote of the day will be: “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me.”

Janeane Davis

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Janeane Davis

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