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37 Entrepreneurs Share Their Favorite Inspirational Business Quote

André Gide wrote that,”Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” Quotes are an important part of motivation, though many of them are repeats of another turn of phrase. Business owners are particularly partial to famous quotations. Reading a motivational speech from a business legend or famous creative mind can give you a spark. It doesn’t matter if it has been said before and repeated numerous times, quotes can give you the fire you need to be a better entrepreneur or learn how to handle a difficult situation. Below are some of those quotes sent in by entrepreneurs throughout the country.

#1 – The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing – Walt Disney

Image Credit: Ahmed Khalifa

Some of us have thought about building our own business for a long time before we actually did it. But we then talk about it for weeks, months or even years without doing anything about it. It doesn’t matter whether there is a hint of interest or a strong desire to become an entrepreneur, it probably didn’t happen immediately. For all the procrastination, for all the talks, for all the complaining about your job, lifestyle, work/life balance…nothing will change until you quit talking and begin doing as Walt Disney would say. And you don’t have to begin doing by dramatically altering your life either. Nobody is asking you to quit your job today, cancel family time and limit your sleep so can start now. It can all begin by putting time aside, even a few hours every week, and that can start the ball rolling.

Thanks to Ahmed Khalifa, IgniteRock!

#2 – You can have everything you want in life, If you will just help enough people get what they want – Zig Ziglar

Image Credit: Michael Kern

From one of the best salesman ever, and the best motivational speaker I ever heard. I like the quote, because it’s true… Any entrepreneur can that can apply the business principles of supply and demand to this quote, sprinkle in some business fundamentals, like accounting and marketing, can be a success! Its capitalistic, with a splash of business spiritual. Get in the game and help some people. Help millions if you can!

Thanks to Michael Kern, Inform Local!

#3 – Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not. – Michael Dell.

Image Credit: Brian Davis

There’s the obvious meaning, of course: that success is less about having an idea that no one’s ever had before (which is unlikely), but rather it’s about going out there and working tirelessly and intelligently. But I feel it also encompasses a broader truth, that you don’t have to be first in a field, or come up with some splashy new approach, or have celebrities do handstands on TV while endorsing your business. In business, you’ll succeed if you work hard and constantly push yourself and your company to improve. It doesn’t have to be sexy, it doesn’t have to be brand new, but you do have to commit to grinding forward against plenty of obstacles.

Thanks to Brian Davis, Spark Rental!

#4 – The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary – Vince Lombardi

Image Credit: Brittany King

I love this quote because so many budding entrepreneurs make the mistake of looking at someone who they deem successful and expecting to have the same success with little to no work. For me as a solopreneur who runs my business primarily online, it was easy to look at other online entrepreneurs and think that it would be easy to build a business online. Boy was I wrong! Success in any realm, but especially in business, requires an insane amount of hard work. Hard work is the catalyst that propels people to success and it is foolish to think that success can be accomplished without putting in the work. Entrepreneurs must know and understand that hard work precipitates, not follows, success.

Thanks to Brittany King, The Career Collective!

#5 – No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making some other poor dumb bastard die for his country. – General Patton

Meaning: So while you start a business knowing all the risks and know that failure is a definite outcome, you better don’t work to fail, but work to win!

Thanks to Annkur P Agarwal, Pricebab!

#6 – Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.  – Mark Twain

Image Credit: Johannes Kanter

I’m a big believer of lean startup. People often are ashamed of shipping their products before they are truly completed. I think it’s a myth that you only get one chance to come out with a new product or solution. You can always say that it’s an early beta and even make some interesting marketing campaigns around it. Validate as early as possible and keep improving the product / solution. Things are never truly finished and never perfect. By accepting that you can move your business forward much faster and stress free.

Thanks to Johannes Kanter, GettingGrowth!

#7 – Your next step is simple, you are the first domino’ – Gary Keller.

Image Credit: Stefan Zugor

This really struck me because I was trying to do too much at once, but it’s always best to focus on the ONE thing you have to do that makes everything else easier, that’s the first step, and the part about you being the first domino really hit me hard! That quote has helped me triple the income of my lucid dreaming website over the last year, and reduce my stress. It makes so much sense as well; just focus on the one most important thing at any given time and the dominos start falling away.

Thanks to Stefan Zugor, TranscendYourLimits.com!

#8 – Always do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest. — Mark Twain

Image Credit: Suzanne Ratti

This has been the quote I try to live my life and career by. I find that it is a game changer for the relationships I establish, both personally and professionally. By establishing this level of credibility, my clients always trust me to have their best interests at heart. Back in the day, when I worked for Xerox, it was a true differentiator from the typical copier salesperson. Today, as a business owner, my clients are savvy CEOs who truly value and respect this core philosophy that I practice. The most important aspect of any quote or philosophy is that it be genuine. You can’t just say that you believe something, your words and actions must demonstrate your convictions.

Thanks to Suzanne Ratti, Ideas 360, LLC!

#9 – Just Keep Swimming -Dory

Image Credit: Lisa Chastain

There are many highs and lows to being an entrepreneur. Sometimes the client hires you, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes your marketing is targeted and working perfectly, and then it needs to be tweaked. It’s a never ending game that is as exhilarating as it is frustrating. I wake up each morning telling myself that the most important thing to do is keep swimming with intention and clarity. This keeps me focused and it keeps me from staying in the lows for too long.

Thanks to Lisa Chastain, Lisa Chastain Coaching!

#10 – Perfect is the enemy of good – Voltaire

As an e-commerce entrepreneur, this quote resonates with me greatly and it is has guided many aspects of my business operations, especially the user experience design of my website. Getting things done well takes considerable testing and hinges on agile changes; striving for perfection is the opposite mentality. So, Im convinced that perfection is a pernicious barrier to success.

Thanks to Peter James Lovisek, Fossil Realm Inc.!

#11 – Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right. – Henry Ford

Image Credit: Michael Rangel

This is my favorite business quote because it removes all external factors and focuses on the most important one for launching a business — the founder. The company’s success is a determinant of the founder. And Henry Ford posits that it is the sole responsibility of the founder to determine the company’s fate — everything else is secondary!

Thanks to Michael Rangel, Clear Financial Corp.!

#12 – The goal is not to simply eliminate the bad, which does nothing more than leave you with a vacuum, but to pursue and experience the best in the world.– Tim Ferriss

Image Credit: Cheryl Clarke

I am often congratulated for having the courage to leave my corporate job as if it’s the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur. Leaving might feel difficult at the time, but in fact it’s the easiest bit to do, what comes next is the most challenging, life changing and difficult years of your life. I love this quote from Tim Ferris which demonstrates this. It is easy to leave, but what do you create in it’s place, that’s the tough bit.

With so much freedom thrust into your hands, what will you do with it?

Thanks to Cheryl Clarke, Ginger Marketing!

#13 – Surround yourself with a trusted and loyal team. It makes all the difference. – Alison Pincus

Image Credit: Russell Tuchman

I love this quote because it’s inspiring and reminds me that you can’t succeed alone. I truly believe that teamwork makes the dream work. You have to surround yourself with smart people that share the same vision you do for your company’s success. With my company we have a team where everyone gets to share their opinions on how the company can best succeed. It’s because I respect my team and without them my company would not be a growing success.

Thanks to Russell Tuchman, BashPros!

#14 – Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently –they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.- Steve Jobs

Image Credit: Lori Cheek

In September of 2013, I landed myself into one of the coveted spots on ABC’s Shark Tank. When I proclaimed I was going to change the population with my reverse-engineered online dating business, serial entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, rolled his eyes, called me delusional and immediately snapped, “I’m out.” Finally, after getting shot down by all five Sharks, I looked them in the eye and said, “Trust that you’ll all see me again…After nearly 6 years of building my dream, I’m in the midst of a major pivot that I know will ultimately turn the world of online dating on its head… Call me “crazy,” but it might just change the world.

Thanks to Lori Cheek, Cheekd!

#15 – Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success. – Biz Stone

Image Credit: Angela Mader

This has always resonated with me because almost ten (9 to be exact) years after starting fitlosophy out of my living room, we haven’t just survived – but we’ve thrived. And it’s never been easy or overnight. While many people see the logos of stores that carry our products, like Target, Walgreens, Vitamin Shoppe & many more, what they don’t see are all the deals I lost, how many sleepless nights went into landing those clients, and how much stress goes into making it look “easy.” There is nothing easy about being an entrepreneur and I often say that passion is what gets you started, but perseverance is what keeps you going. In a recent interview with Huffington Post, I shared my thoughts on this topic: “My life has on the outside has looked pristine, but people don’t see the losses in my life. They see the articles, and the magazines, and the external successes. They don’t know the days I wanted to give up. They don’t see how hard I work. They aren’t aware of the days where the best thing I did was get out of my pajamas. I do my best to share my struggles along the way. I’m not perfect and life isn’t always easy, but we have choice everyday to handle what life gives us. I’m not saying I handle it perfectly every time. Life has knocked me down. But one of my gifts is perseverance.”

Thanks to Angela Mader, GetFitBook.com

#16 – Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else. – Sara Blakely

Image Credit: Bryanne Lawless

The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, is someone who I admire because she never gave power to intimidation — she simply found a way to make it happen without fear. Blakely was able to secure a meeting with Neiman Marcus for an unknown product, then soon followed her success. She didn’t let rules or other’s fear become instilled into her work ethic; Blakley’s strength lies in the acceptance of endless possibilities as long as you’re willing to work for it and make it happen, so long as you stand out from the rest.

Thanks to Bryanne Lawless, BLND PR!

#17 – You have everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself. The people around you realize this, and they are ready to follow if you’re ready to lead. – Seth Godin

Image Credit: Noé Khalfa

It’s such a powerful message because it constantly reminds me to loosen my grip of control and become a leader not by pushing, but by empowering those around me to get involved, work together and teach each other. And believe me, I’m a total control freak! It’s honestly been a hard letting go process. But, with a little help from my friends and Mr. Godin, I’m learning that I simply can’t do all the heavy lifting myself, and that others are actually delighted to get involved in my business.

Thanks to Noé Khalfa, Worth The Journey!

#18 – The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but a lack of will. – Vince Lombardi

Image Credit: Steve Benson

This quote is my favorite business quote as I personally think that you need to have ‘grit’ to be successful in your career. People less often fail in business because they weren’t smart enough, and more often fail from not trying hard enough. There are a million challenges and you just have to pound your way through them. When I run into a problem, I wrap my head around it and find a strategy for attacking it. Then I grab one or two people on my team to attack it with me.

Thanks to Steve Benson, Badger Maps!

#19 – The only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs

Image Credit: Courtnie Nein

I have this quote on my wall next to my computer. It is visible to everyone who sits at my desk. I want everyone who walks into my desk to know I truly love what I do and the result of that is going to be great work. When you love what you do, love the assistance you are providing people, and love the positive impact you are making on your community, you are destined to do an amazing job on behalf of your clients. The day you fall out of love or become complacent in what you are doing is the day you need to make a change. You need to ask yourself if you changed or if the industry itself changed. Either one is okay but the day you become complacent is the day you need to go in a new direction.

Thanks to Courtnie Nein, Good Life Advisors!

#20 – CFO asks CEO, What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us? CEO: What happens if we don’t, and they stay?

Image Credit: Jennifer Kalita

It’s important for management to remember that a commitment to professional development is essential to attracting and retaining good talent, as well as advancing the capability, the reliability, and ultimately, the profitability of the organization. Millennials in particular are looking for coaches, not task masters. Investing in an employee is much like launching a new product or service; it’s always a resource risk, but we do it anyway, because growing businesses do not sit still.and it might just be a marketplace game-changer.

Thanks to Jennifer Kalita!

#21 – When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. – Henry Ford

Image Credit: Kristen Moon

Whenever I read this quote I think of the entrepreneur’s journey. Sadly, most do not complete the journey. Once they encounter a failure, they give up. Once it gets hard, they throw in the towel. One word separates a successful entrepreneur from a non-successful one: resilience. The journey involves many failures and setbacks, but with each struggle comes a lesson. If you are strong enough to get back up, after being knocked down many times, eventually the company, just like the airplane, soars.

Thanks to Kristen Moon, Kristen Moon Moon Prep LLC!

#22 – A man must take advantage of any opportunity that comes along – Ray Kroc

Image Credit: Bryan Koontz

In 2009, during a hunting trip in Montana, I realized there wasn’t a “go-to” brand on the Internet to research hunts and outfitters and connect with other people. For most consumer purchases there are well-known sites designed for customer reviews and research. Want to buy a house? Realtor.com or Zillow.com. Looking for a hotel room? Travelocity or Expedia. What most find with hunting and fishing guides are hundreds of websites with flat, uninteresting listings and outdated business models. Understanding the opportunity in the marketplace, I set out to create something of value for other outdoor enthusiasts like myself. Our platform can help outfitters find new clients, connect them with other professionals, and provide a hub for users to read reviews and find their next outdoor adventure. In 2015 we saw a nearly 90% increase in our outfitter membership, a 230% increase in consumer engagement, and also a surge in demand from gear manufacturers seeking to participate in our community. A source of motivation to create Guidefitter, Ray Kroc’s quote on taking advantage of opportunities continues to inspire the growth and development within our company.

Thanks to Bryan Koontz, Guidefitter!

#23 – If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together – African Proverb

Image Credit: Dan Eyman

Why this is my favorite quote – Too often in today’s high tech and hyper-individual society I see professionals thinking that ego, pride, and their own contributions are what it takes to get ahead. In reality, to really go far require the ability to be humble and to realize the extent to which we are interconnected. I depend on all of those around me, clients, co-workers, and our own service providers. None of our business is possible without others.

Thanks to Dan Eyman, Meld Valuation!

#24 – The secret to being in business five years is … being in business four years.

Image Credit: Jeff Kear

Yes, this may sound obvious, but it drives home the fact that with every new month and every new year comes new challenges, and there’s no guarantee that a successful year will lead to more success. You should never rest on your laurels but always be working on your business and focusing on improvement, while at the same time always being thankful for what you have already achieved. It’s a very Zen quote, but it makes you think and consider what you have been doing in your business and if you need to modify or change it to better accomplish your goals.

Thanks to Jeff Kear, Planning Pod!

#25 – The object of life is not to be on the side of the masses, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. – MJ DeMarco

Image Credit: Jarett Horton

I read this quote in the book The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco. It fits perfectly to the battle of starting a business. From the moment you enter adulthood, everybody expects you to get a job like everybody else. Live like everybody else. When you want to start a business and work the 12+ hours, 6 to 7 days a week, you are looked at like you’re insane. But the goal of an entrepreneur is not to be like the masses. It’s to stand out and prove you were not insane all along. You had a plan. It is a very motivational quote.

Thanks to Jarett Horton, Finally Real Estate Photography!

#26 – It is so easy to be passionate as a business owner because by now, we should have already figured out what we love to do. However, all employees may not share the same passion and when you hire or if your employees have already been there for some time, they can tend to lose track of that end goal. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Image credit: Sarah Sagredo-Hammond

I love the quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery – because it reminds us what the definition of passion is – If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. If you only hire to work, to fill a spot, to complete a task, that is all you will ever get from an employee, is a task done. But when you hire with the same attitude and end game you get so much more from individuals and for the company. You truly can aspire to create greatness and passion within your company. Teach the endless immensity of the sea! Train your staff, take leadership courses together, encourage customer service training. People-mainly staff, do not know what they do not know. You have to teach them to know MORE, just like you have to guide them to be passionate.

Thanks to Sarah Sagredo-Hammond, Atlas Electrical, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Plumbing, Services, Inc

#27 – Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Image Credit: Brandon Welch

I love this quote because as an entrepreneur, I’m doing what I love. A lot of people don’t enjoy their work, and aren’t truly happy. My job doesn’t feel like work because helping others brings me happiness. Love what you do, and do what you love!

Thanks to Brandon Welch, Doxy.me!

#28 – Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. Failure is a part of success anywhere you look. It’s how you overcome it that truly defines you. – Winston Churchill

Image Credit: Brady Keller

I really like a quote that comes from Winston Churchill. This quote inspires me to keep trying, always.

Thanks to Brady Keller, Atlantic.net!

#29 – Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in awhile, you don’t do things right once in awhile, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. – Vince
Lombardi

Image Credit: Kristopher Johnson

I find this quote extremely relatable to business. Invest the time into doing things the right way, or don’t even bother. It will catch up to you in the end!

Thanks to Kristopher Johnson, The Gantry Restaurant & Bar!

 

#30 – You are the CEO of you’re life.

Image Credit: Eboni Harris

I heard this quote about a year into private practice. I am not sure where I first heard it but I have quoted it several times since, As a therapist, this immediately resonated with me as something I’d love for my clients to believe. I wanted everyone that encountered me to recognize their own power in creating the life they desired. As I continued on my own career path, I applied this quote to my life regularly. If I was not happy in a position, I made the necessary steps to quit the job comfortably. When deciding what I would do next within my business, I looked at how it would affect my whole life. I believe that I can live a life where I receive happiness and peace from all areas. I only get one life and I am going to make it the best one I can in business and personally.

Thanks to Eboni Harris, Room for Relations!

#31 – To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. – Anatole France

Image Credit: Billie Jean Bateson

I always dream awake and I follow my dreams. When I make plans I believe in them and in myself. I understand that if I wait the perfect conditions, I will never get anything done. When I have an idea – I go for it, because there is no time to wait.

Thanks to  Billie Jean Bateson, Amazing Wristbands!

#32 – Most organizations have too many top priorities to achieve the level of focus they need to succeed. – Shawn Boyer

Image Credit: Shawn Boyer

The thing that I thought was hardest with Snagajob and am finding again with DieHappy is limiting yourself and the organization to 3 or fewer priorities at any one time. That can be hard for any size organization, but I think it can become even more difficult when you’re in that start-up mode, and you’re always looking for that opportunity that will put you over the top, which can then lead to running in a bunch of different directions. And, inevitably when that happens, you don’t do any of it very well. So, as hard as it might be to say no to some things that look like great opportunities, I’m convinced that you have to have that discipline and stay focused on 3 or fewer priorities at any one time.

Thanks to Shawn Boyer, Die Happy!

#33 – If you think you’re too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito – Anita Roddick

Image Credit: Dee Nand

This quote gives me a lot of perspective when my fears start to take hold. It reminds me that however small I am, I can still create a legacy. I can sometimes get stuck on not feeling ‘enough’. Not successful enough. Not sustainable enough. Not hungry enough. Not motivated enough. The list goes on. When I look at this quote, I imagine myself as a mosquito biting the most successful person I can think of. It gives me power knowing that if something as small as a mosquito can make it’s mark on the world, then surely I can too.

Thanks to Dee Nand, SolvingMe!

#34 – Go the extra mile, there’s nobody on it. – Grant Cardone

Image Credit: Jason Bond

A few short years ago Jason Bond was buried in consumer debt and was living paycheck to paycheck. He decided to buck the trend and take control of his future by changing careers and becoming an Entrepreneur. As an Entrepreneur, he knew that it would become very important to change his thinking. After reading a book by Dave Ramsey, he knew he was on track. He decided to read only educational and thought inspiring books pertaining to finance. He knew that changing his thinking would result in a change of actions and produce results. He needed hope and a new vision. This vision became so empowering, that he eventually had no choice but to take a risk. He walked away from his career to start something new in an industry that he knew little about. He eventually became a pioneer in the financial world by designing a service to help people grow their portfolios. Today, he encourages his students and clients, to not be afraid to re-invent themselves and try a new thing in their lives and to *Go the extra mile, there’s nobody on it. *

Thanks to Jason Bond, Jason Bond Picks!

#35 – It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela

Image Credit: Andrew Fiebert

I have always been motivated by Nelson Mandela’s quote. There is no question that as an entrepreneur it can oftentimes feel as though you are fighting an uphill battle. This quote reminds me that with dedication and personal drive, I am able to overcome obstacles that once seemed insurmountable, and see my vision come to life.

Thanks to Andrew Fiebert, Listen Money Matters!

#36 – If I never try anything, I never learn anything. – Hugh Prather

Image Credit: Jenny Kile

Since business is rapidly on the move, I believe company’s must be willing to try things new. Although this can be nerve-racking at times, it is also exciting. What you learn from trying new things will propel yourself, and your business, to much greater heights than those company’s afraid to try anything. The quote inspires and reminds me that even if what I try ‘fails’, it only fails in itself, and yet helps me move further along in this wonderful entrepreneur journey!

Thanks to Jenny Kile, Kardtects Building Cards!

#37 – It’s not easy, but it will be worth it – Maria Andros Buckley

Image Credit: Alison Brehme

This quote may seem simplistic at first; however, it’s spot on in terms of what it means to have your own business. There will be days you want to quit or pull your hair out so it’s important to understand going in that managing yourself and a business will have it’s challenges. Realize that if you continue to push through and stay focused it will all be worth it as your dreams and vision become a reality.

Thanks to Alison Brehme, Virtual Corporate Wellness!

What are some of your favorite business quotes? Let us know in the comments below!

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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