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26 Entrepreneurs Share Their Favorite Inspirational Business Quote

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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- Two quotes

Photo Credit: Mark Aselstine

Elon Musk has said two that I think go together well. First: Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough. To me that largely says, even for a retail shop, there are going to be things we create which simply don’t stick. That’s ok. Secondly, Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up. I take that to mean, just because something doesn’t sell well, doesn’t mean it’s a major issue. Instead I can continue to innovate and create something that will. Unless I don’t have the option any longer.

Thanks to Mark Aselstine, Uncorked Ventures!

#2- Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. ~ Jim Rohn

Photo Credit:  Fiona Adler

When things get tough, this quote reminds me that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s pushing through tough times, solving problems and continuing to persevere that results in business success.

Thanks to Fiona Adler, Actioned.com!

#3- Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value. *– Albert Einstein

Photo Credit: Kate Sullivan

Switch that to person and you have the quote that defines my approach to business. Being a successful entrepreneur isn’t about pursuing success – it’s about pursuing the best possible value for the people you serve. You have to know who your audience or market is, what they want, where other products or services let them down, and how you’re going to fill that need in the very best way you can. What value can you offer? How can you help make your audience’s lives easier, better, or happier? Find that, do that to the very best of your ability, and success will follow.

Thanks to Kate Sullivan, TCK Publishing!

#4- As a startup CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every 2 hours and cried.” – Ben Horowitz

Photo Credit: Maxim Godin

I think that people who aspire to be entrepreneurs don’t really understand how hard it is until they actually go and do it. There’s a good reason to why 50%+ of new businesses fail during the first year and nine out of 10 startups fail. The brutal truth is that it’s extremely hard to start your own business, there are countless of obstacles you have to overcome along the way and a new challenge presents itself on a weekly basis. Grit is an essential personality trait to work your way out of stressful business dilemmas and carry on to grow a successful company.

Thanks to Maxim Godin, Crazylister!

#5-A quote on resilience

Photo Credit: Rod Brown

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan This Quote by Arguably The Best NBA Player Is Proof That One Must Remain Resilience After Each And Every Failure In Order to see future Success. It teaches the idea to keep going.

Thanks to Rod Brown, OnceLogix!

#6- If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less

Photo Credit: Bob Clary

The quote is from Eric Shinseki, a former US Army General, so while note really a business quote, I love it because it summarizes perfectly the fast-paced technological world we’re currently living in.

Thanks to Bob Clary, DevelopIntelligence!

#7- If you need inspiring words, you should not do it. – Elon Musk

Photo Credit: Dave Robinson

This is a favorite quote (directed at wannabee entrepreneurs) because it implies one needs to be self-motivated to overcome all of the obstacles that invariably surface while building a business.

Thanks to Dave Robinson, Driven Insights!

#8- We are a product of the choices we make, not the circumstances we face

Image Credit: Serena Holmes

I absolutely love quotes – both personally and professionally. Some of my favourite are from Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins, whom I’ve seen speak in person. This said, I think my favourite of all time must be from Rogers Crawford, ‘we are a product of the choices we make, not the circumstances  we face’. I resonate with it on so many levels. I am sure I’m not the only entrepreneur who had to overcome some big personal challenges in life, long before running a business was even a thought; however, I came out stronger on the other side. I truly believe that It is our decisions that will define and dictate our future, not our past.

Thanks to Serena Holmes, Tigris Events Inc!

#9- Action Cures Fear

Photo Credit: Jess Tiffany

As a young salesman in the 90’s I struggled with the thought of what would people think about me. I consistently would get scared as I was thinking about knocking on the door to sell something, or about to make cold calls to book an appointment.. My life changed after reading the Magic of Thinking big. I wrote down a powerful quote Action Cures Fear on the back of a business card and kept it in my wallet. Every time, I was panicking I would read that statement over and over and then I would take the action. Once I did one cold call, I could easily do 100. All it took was getting over that initial fear and then I became unstoppable.

Thanks to Jess Tiffany, Marketing and Networking University!

#10- Quote by Mike Tyson

My favorite quote is from boxing but it is now widely used as a metaphor in business and is widely used by many business gurus. ‘Everyone has a game plan until they get punched in the face.’

Thanks to Adam Watson, Decorelo!

#11- The way to get things done is to not mind who gets the credit for doing them-  Benjamin Jowett

Photo Credit: Andrew Schrage

Although this probably applies more towards your workers and employees, it’s something that’s not often talked about when running a small business or being an entrepreneur At any rate, when you take the whole who gets the credit facet out of projects and assignments, your folks will be more focused and less likely to become distracted with the unnecessary. And in the end, if you’re running a transparent and cutting edge operation, the answer to that question really doesn’t matter. When all team members are on board and rowing in the same direction with the main goal being high productivity and results, you’ll have an efficient company that is moving forward consistently, usually at a better pace than the competition.

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!

#12- Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t you are right. – Henry Ford

Photo Credit: Alexandra Isenegger

I love this quote because I feel it describes the essence of entrepreneurship perfectly. Entrepreneurship is about questioning the status quo and pushing the boundaries of what is thought possible.

Thanks to Alexandra Isenegger, Linkilaw!

#13- Two quotes

Photo Credit: Matt Meltzer

There are two entrepreneurial truisms that Howard Tullman, CEO of Chicago-based startup incubator 1871 hammered into my brain as I built Sage Corps 1) you need to nail it before you scale it; and 2) you get what you work for, not what you wish for. Howard’s first piece of advice helped guide our growth as a service business. We saw a huge global opportunity to run our entrepreneurial college abroad program in dozens of countries. But before scaling, we drilled down on the nuances of the product that we were offering to students – we listened to our customers, and still continue to iterate the model with each cohort of students that complete our program. He also reassured me, as a first-time entrepreneur (I’m a recovering lawyer), that there is no substitute for hard work. He was right. And inch by inch, Sage Corps continues to grow.

Thanks to Matt Meltzer, Sage Corps!

#14- A quote on valuing people

Photo Credit: Colette Lopane Capella

“People are chasing cash, not happiness. When you chase money, you’re going to lose. You’re just going to. Even if you get the money, you’re not going to be happy.” – Gary Vaynerchuk. I love this quote, as a business owner myself, It speaks volume. How much value is in doing something you hate but making the money? The reality is and although It may sound cliche you have to do what you love, find your passion and everything else falls into place. If we do what we our passionate about we never really work a day in our life. I’ve learned this first hand with my business, it’s not about the dollars, it’s about the happiness that’s brought to my life knowing that I am helping others on there journey and making a difference in there lives, for the better, and when I thought this way, what happened? Business took off!! People respect honestly and pure intent, do things from the right place and the things will flourish organically, follow your passion, follow your dreams and never ever give up.

Thanks to Colette Lopane Capella, Clopanetherapy.com!

#15- Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts

Photo Credit: James R. Nowlin

My favorite business quote is this one from Winston S. Churchill, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” It reminds me that it is okay to fall as long as I get up afterward. Failure is an important part of learning. In fact, I believe that mistakes and failure are the best types of experience to learn from. Failures can provide unique insights on how you can improve yourself.

Thanks to James R. Nowlin,  Excel Global Partners!

#16- Good Old Action is 1000x better than Ideas

Photo Credit: Jovim Ventura

I get pitched a new business idea every week. Ideas are exciting and fun, but ideas alone are worth a penny. Everyone has an idea. So if you’re worried about someone stealing your idea, chances are they won’t. But what’s 1000x better than ideas is our dear friend – Good Old Action.

Thanks to Jovim Ventura, InoPrints!

#17- Fortune favors the brave

Photo Credit: Danielle Tate

My favorite business quote is, Fortune favors the brave by Terence. As an  entrepreneur, you have to be brave, put yourself and your idea out there, and build the business. I truly believe that life unfolds in proportion to your courage. You have to be brave to be successful.

Thanks to Danielle Tate, MissNowMrs.com!

#18- A quote I think about often

Photo Credit: Ron Yates

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or gazelle. When the sun comes up, you’d better be running. To me being is business is like being in a competitive foot race.  (I was big into track during school)  If a business competitor is out in front of me I better run hard to try to catch them, if the competitor is behind me I better run hard to keep that distance between us.  So it doesn’t matter where I am at, I better be running!

Thanks to Ron Yates, Titanium-Jewelry.com!

#19- Don’t be afraid to fail. The more you fail, the more you succeed- Michael Jordan

Photo Credit: Fritz Colcol

The quote above is my favorite as it applies to my journey as a business owner. As a serial entrepreneur in Chicago, I may be known as a restaurant owner with a viral menu item featured on NBC as well as having businesses in the fitness, fashion, staffing and marketing industry. However, before I came to these other achievements I had failed in my first restaurant  acquisition, kept learning until I finally figured my strategy and went on to acquire my second and profitable restaurant. The same goes for my other succesful ventures. Behind every win is a series of trial and errors that did not deter me from putting in work and believing that I will emerge with a quality business.

Thanks to Fritz Colcol, Simply Thalia!

#20- A quote by Dr. Angelou

Photo Credit: Katiedid Langrock

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou Humans are looking to make connection. We seek that relationship, not just in people but in the businesses and brands we patron. Story is the connective tissue to the human experience. I love Dr. Angelou’s quote because it gets to the heart of what makes story so powerful; it’s the emotional connection. Too many businesses share a few lines of backstory and think they have told a tale that matters. But it is the businesses who are fearless enough to be open and tell an emotionally potent story who will attract consumers and keep them coming back. That’s the kind of storytelling we teach at The Brand Connective. People will always remember how you made them feel.

Thanks to Katiedid Langrock, Connective!

#21- The dream is free, the hustle is sold **separately.*

Photo Credit: Taylor Handberry

My favorite business quote was made by Tyrese Gibbons and reads *the dream is free, the hustle is sold **separately.* This resonated with me as motivation because, similar to many young and new entrepreneurs, it all starts with a dream or an idea. There are so many dreamers that never become doers because they underestimate the amount of sacrifice and handwork that is required to be successful.

Thanks to Taylor Handberry, Handberry Creative!

#22- Why join the navy if you can be a pirate? Steve Jobs

Photo Credit: Chris Sentz

I choose this quote not only for its slight humor, but because it embodies what it means to be an entrepreneur. Not just choosing the road less traveled, but throwing away almost all norms and challenging the status quo in your respective industry. This is what Apple has always been about. It isn’t always pretty and can often times come off as barbaric to others, but at the end of the day, chasing that “treasure” is part of journey.

Thanks to Chris Sentz, ProductPro!

#23- Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world

Photo Credit: Allen Klein

Why?: Not only because I’m the author of it, but because attitude is everything. We see everything through our own lens. Example: Two salesmen worked for competing shoe companies. Both were sent to a very remote part of the world. No one wore any shoes in this region. As soon as the salesmen realized the situation both emailed their home office. Their messages, however, were quite different. One salesman’s message read: Don’t send any more shoes. No one here wears any. The other message said: Send all the shoes you can. No one here has any.

Thanks to Allen Klein

#24- If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. – Jim Rohn

Photo Credit: Erdal Yazmaci

I like this quote, because it’s simple, relatable, and true. Anyone who’s founded a company or birthed an idea knows that it’s not easy. There will be many obstacles and chances to quit throughout the journey, but if you’re committed to the idea and remain persistent, you can always find a solution.

Thanks to Erdal Yazmaci, Cardtek!

#25- If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?

Photo Credit: Geoff Hoesch

I’ve always liked this quote by  John Wooden’s. Our goal has always been to sell quality services, and this quote is a great reminder that quality takes vigilance and dedication to doing things right from the beginning. From a business standpoint, it’s more efficient and less expensive to spend extra time initially, doing the right research and laying the groundwork for future success, than it is to rush through work and have to do it over again.

Thanks to Geoff Hoesch, Dragonfly Digital Marketing!

#26- It’s never crowded along the extra mile- Wayne Dyer

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

It’s never crowded along the extra mile. By Wayne Dyer I find this to be inspirational in that when you are allowing yourself to function at a higher level, you are likely to find inner peace and serenity. I envision pushing myself to my highest and best and then standing in an open field taking a deep breath of air when I hear this saying. I feel that it takes a lot to push toward that extra mile – confidence, focus, effort, a positive attitude – but when you put those things together, you stand tall and you stand strong. That is inspiring to me.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!

Which is your favorite business quotation? Tell us in the comments below.Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community

About Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. 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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