Starting a business is tough. And not just practically, or financially — emotionally, too. Which is why these top 100 inspirational business quotes are so valuable.
Each of these business quotes is a bite-sized morsel of wisdom, capable of injecting that much-needed hit of inspiration, encouragement, and motivation.
So, when you’re exhausted, frustrated, anxious, worried, or just plain freaking out, read these business quotes.
But don’t just scan through these business quotes.
Try to think about how each one applies to your business.
Read. Re-read. Reflect. Apply.
Okay, let’s get stuck into the top 100 business quotes!
100 Best Business Quotes of All Time
These business quotes are a gamechanger. Get ready for some inspiration and action-packed advice.
1. “The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” — Socrates, father of Western philosophy (Click to tweet)
2. “Always deliver more than expected.” — Larry Page, co-founder of Google (Click to tweet)
3. “Don’t take too much advice. Most people who have a lot of advice to give — with a few exceptions — generalize whatever they did. Don’t over-analyze everything. I myself have been guilty of over-thinking problems. Just build things and find out if they work.” — Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest (Click to tweet)
4. “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” — Ray Goforth, director of strategy and partnerships at Spredfast (Click to tweet)
5. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II (Click to tweet)
6. “If you can push through that feeling of being scared, that feeling of taking a risk, really amazing things can happen.” — Marissa Mayer, president & CEO of Yahoo! (Click to tweet)
7. “Every time we launch a feature, people yell at us.” — Angelo Sotira, co-founder of deviantART (Click to tweet)
8.“Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” — Anthony Volodkin, founder of Hype Machine (Click to tweet)
9. “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” — Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy’s (Click to tweet)
10. “If you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, it’s too large.” — Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon (Click to tweet)
90 more great business quotes to go!
11. “If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” — Zig Ziglar, author, salesman, and motivational speaker (Click to tweet)
12. “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” — Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn (Click to tweet)
13. “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” — Thomas Edison, co-founder of General Electric (Click to tweet)
14. “The stars will never align, and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.” — Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week (Click to tweet)
Tim Ferriss business quotes are always so on point.
15. “Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” — Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter (Click to tweet)
16. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. (Click to tweet)
17. “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” — David Brinkley, newscaster for NBC and ABC (Click to tweet)
18. “Always look for the fool in the deal. If you don’t find one, it’s you.” — Mark Cuban, AXS TV Chairman and entrepreneur (Click to tweet)
19. “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” — Jim Rohn, one of America’s foremost business philosophers (Click to tweet)
20. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” — Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft (Click to tweet)
Bill Gates business quotes are so full of wisdom.
21. “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” — Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook (Click to tweet)
22. “If you define yourself by how you differ from the competition, you’re probably in trouble.” — Omar Hamoui, co-founder of AdMob (Click to tweet)
23. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” — Walt Disney, founder of the Disney Brother Studio and Disneyland (Click to tweet)
24. “Wonder what your customer really wants? Ask. Don’t tell.” — Lisa Stone, co-founder and CEO of BlogHer (Click to tweet)
25. “If you’re passionate about something and you work hard, then I think you will be successful.”— Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman of Ebay (Click to tweet)
Are these business quotes inspiring you yet? No? Then keep reading…!
26. “When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” — Josh James, CEO and co-founder of Omniture (Click to tweet)
27. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” — Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance (Click to tweet)
28. “Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” — Golda Meir, fourth Prime Minister of Israel (Click to tweet)
29. “There’s nothing wrong with staying small. You can do big things with a small team.” — Jason Fried, 37signals founder and co-author of Rework (Click to tweet)
30. “The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.” — Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder (Click to tweet)
31. “Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” — Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos (Click to tweet)
32. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” — Colin Powell, US statesman and retired four-star General in the United States Army (Click to tweet)
33. “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.” — Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA (Click to tweet)
34. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” — Drew Houston, founder and CEO of Dropbox (Click to tweet)
35. “Nothing works better than just improving your product.” — Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Stack Overflow (Click to tweet)
36. “Get five or six of your smartest friends in a room and ask them to rate your idea.” — Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga (Click to tweet)
37. “Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations.” — Tim O’Reilly, founder, and CEO of O’Reilly Media (Click to tweet)
38. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson, 2nd President of IBM, political figure, and philanthropist (Click to tweet)
Business quotes like this really hit home.
39. “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs, co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. (Click to tweet)
40. “The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” — Colin R. Davis, English conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra (Click to tweet)
41. “Get big quietly, so you don’t tip off potential competitors.” — Chris Dixon, an investor at Andreessen Horowitz (Click to tweet)
42. “Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.” — Wayne Huizenga, prolific American business person, owner of Blockbuster Video and the Miami Dolphins. (Click to tweet)
43. “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” — Tony Robbins, life and business strategist, and author (Click to tweet)
44. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” — Helen Keller, American author, political activist and lecturer (Click to tweet)
45. “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.” — Paul Rand, Graphic Designer (Click to tweet)
46. “Always think outside the box and embrace opportunities that appear, wherever they might be.” — Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman & CEO of ArcelorMittal (Click to tweet)
47. “Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.” — Jeffrey Zeldman, entrepreneur and web designer (Click to tweet)
These business quotes have some pretty sound advice.
48. “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” — Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author (Click to tweet)
49. “The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.” — Rob Kalin, founder of Etsy (Click to tweet)
50. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” — Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States (Click to tweet)
Well done — you’ve made it halfway through our list of the top 100 business quotes!
51. “If you’re interested in the living heart of what you do, focus on building things rather than talking about them.” — Ryan Freitas, co-founder of About.me (Click to tweet)
52. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” — Thomas Edison, entrepreneur and inventor (Click to tweet)
53. “Best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch.” — Michael Arrington, founder and co-editor of TechCrunch (Click to tweet)
54. “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” — Japanese Proverb (Click to tweet)
We’re going to be throwing in a couple more Tony Hsieh business quotes in here.
55. “Don’t play games that you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.” — Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos (Click to tweet)
56. “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” — Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter (Click to tweet)
57. “An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.” — David Karp, founder, and CEO of Tumblr (Click to tweet)
58. “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” — Guy Kawasaki, entrepreneur and co-founder of Alltop (Click to tweet)
59. “I got lucky because I never gave up the search. Are you quitting too soon? Or, are you willing to pursue luck with a vengeance?” — Jill Konrath, speaker, author and thought leader (Click to tweet)
60. “Get a mentor in the applicable field if you’re at all unsure of what you’re looking for.” — Kyle Bragger, founder of Forrst, and co-founder of Exposure (Click to tweet)
61. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt, known as “First Lady of the World” for her human rights advocacy. (Click to tweet)
62. “Every day that we spent not improving our products was a wasted day.” — Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Stack Overflow (Click to tweet)
63. “The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.” — Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur, and blogger (Click to tweet)
Business quotes like this sure do push you towards taking action.
64. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II (Click to tweet)
65. “Anything that is measured and watched, improves.” — Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy (Click to tweet)
66. “Stay self-funded as long as possible.” — Garrett Camp, founder of Expa, Uber, and StumbleUpon (Click to tweet)
67. “When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say ‘wow, that was an adventure,’ not ‘wow, I sure felt safe.’” — Tom Preston-Werner, co-founder of Github (Click to tweet)
68. “Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined and connected to one another. And, when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.” — Daniel Pink, author (Click to tweet)
69. “Fortunes are built during the down market and collected in the upmarket.” — Jason Calacanis, founder of LAUNCH Ticker (Click to tweet)
This next one is one of my favorite business quotes.
70. “I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” — Estee Lauder, founder of Estee Lauder Cosmetics (Click to tweet)
71. “If you can’t fly then run. If you can’t run, then walk. And, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” — Martin Luther King Jr., leader of the civil rights movement (Click to tweet)
72. “It’s more effective to do something valuable than to hope a logo or name will say it for you.” — Jason Cohen, founder of Smartbear Software (Click to tweet)
73. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” — Henry David Thoreau, essayist, poet, and philosopher (Click to tweet)
74. “No more romanticizing about how cool it is to be an entrepreneur. It’s a struggle to save your company’s life – and your own skin – every day of the week.” — Spencer Fry, co-founder of CarbonMade (Click to tweet)
75. “I try not to make any decisions that I’m not excited about.” — Jake Nickell, founder and CEO of Threadless (Click to tweet)
Nice going — 75 business quotes down, 25 to go…
76. “See things in the present, even if they are in the future.” — Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle (Click to tweet)
77. “You can’t make anything viral, but you can make something good.” — Peter Shankman, founder of HARO (Click to tweet)
78. “Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.” — Robert Collier, author (Click to tweet)
79. “Don’t worry about funding if you don’t need it. Today it’s cheaper to start a business than ever.” — Noah Everett, founder of Twitpic (Click to tweet)
80. “Data beats emotions.” — Sean Rad, founder of Tinder (Click to tweet)
81. “You don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.” — Larry Page, co-founder of Google (Click to tweet)
These business quotes are also great for small businesses.
82. “Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.” — Michael Dell, chairman, and CEO of Dell (Click to tweet)
83. “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” — Jeff Bezos, founder, and CEO of Amazon (Click to tweet)
84. “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” — Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company (Click to tweet)
85. “All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.” — Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn (Click to tweet)
86. “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” — Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft (Click to tweet)
87. “In the end, a vision without the ability to execute it is probably a hallucination.” — Steve Case, co-founder of AOL (Click to tweet)
88. “Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” — Oprah Winfrey, media proprietor (Click to tweet)
89. “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” — Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder (Click to tweet)
90. “Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.” — Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos (Click to tweet)
These business quotes may be blunt but they’re pretty accurate.
91. “Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.” — Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX (Click to tweet)
92. “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” — Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and President of the United States (Click to tweet)
93. “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” — Arianna Huffington, president of The Huffington Post Media Group (Click to tweet)
94. “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” — Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father of the United States (Click to tweet)
95. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because all that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.” — Mark Cuban, entrepreneur, owner of Landmark Theaters and Chairman of AXS TV (Click to tweet)
96. “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” — Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks (Click to tweet)
These business quotes are on fire.
97. “A person who is quietly confident makes the best leader.” — Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures (Click to tweet)
98. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” — Walt Disney, founder of the Disney Brother Studio and Disneyland (Click to tweet)
99. “So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” — Caterina Fake, Flickr co-founder (Click to tweet)
And last, but not least, in our list of business quotes…
100. “I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.” — Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder (Click to tweet)
Business Quotes Summary
Okay, that’s a lot of business quotes!
One other thing:
Did you notice some of the recurring themes throughout these business quotes?
- Work hard
- Belief in yourself
- Focusing on quality
So, which of these business quotes stood out most to you? Comment below!