25 Inspirational Quotes and Tips for Small Businesses

Running a small business is far from easy. There will always be times when the going is tough and your energy levels are lower than a snake’s belly. Are you in one of those troughs right now? Looking for encouragement and inspiration? Read on!

The internet is full of lists of great thoughts and sayings but they rarely apply to the small business owner. We’ve searched far and wide and come up with 25 quotes from (mostly) well-known business gurus that will kickstart your day and give you the strength to keep striving towards your goals.

Illustration of a magician

Many of these people, admittedly, now run big businesses. All of them started small though, the majority started from scratch, and they understand the struggles that all businesses must go through to succeed. And what they teach us, more than anything, is that there is nothing wrong with trying hard and dreaming big.

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25 Inspirational Quotes and Tips for Small Businesses

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.”
– Michael Jordan, businessman and basketball star.

“My best advice to entrepreneurs is this; forget about making mistakes, just do it.”
– Ajaero Tony Martins, entrepreneur and investor.

“The greatest failure is not to try. Had I listened to all the people during the course of my life who said, ‘you can’t. You’ll fail. It won’t work. You don’t have…,’ I wouldn’t be here today.”
– Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs Fields Bakeries.

“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they don’t quit.”
– Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotels chain.

“Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you are generally better off sticking with what you know and the third is that sometimes, your best investments are the ones you don’t make.”
– Donald Trump, entrepreneur.

“Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”
– Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company.

“Above all, you want to create something you are proud of. That’s always been my philosophy of business. I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off doing nothing.”
– Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group.

“Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
– J.K. Rowling, author.

“Patience, this is the greatest business asset. Wait for the right time to make your moves.”
– J. Paul Getty, industrialist.

“When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.”
– Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics.

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
– Vidal Sassoon, hairdresser and businessman.

“I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.”
– Jonathan Winters, comedian, actor, author.

“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.”
– Steve Jobs, founder of Apple.

“There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.”
– Seth Godin, entrepreneur.

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”
– Thomas Watson Sr., chairman and CEO of IBM.

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!”
– Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company.

“The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do.”
– Dennis Waitley, motivational speaker and writer.

“Once you free yourself from the need for perfect acceptance it’s a lot easier to launch work that matters.”
– Seth Godin, entrepreneur.

“The golden rule for every business is this: put yourself in your customer’s place.”
– Orison Swett Marden, founder of Success magazine.

“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.

“Do or do not. There is no try.”
– Yoda.

“If it really was a no-brainer to make it on your own in business there’d be millions of no-brained, harebrained, and otherwise dubiously brained individuals quitting their day jobs and hanging out their own shingles. Nobody would be left to round out the workforce and execute the business plan.”
– Bill Rancic, first winner of the US version of The Apprentice.

“Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.”
– Zig Ziglar, author and salesman.

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”
– Ray Kroc, the business brain behind McDonald’s success.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs, founder of Apple.


When you look at the thoughts of these business greats (and Yoda) what really stands out? Is there a common theme we can identify? A few points leap out at me:

  • Tenacity: One thing is crystal clear – you may or may not ultimately make it, but you’re certain to fail if you don’t try and try again.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail: All our business giants had the ability to see every setback as an opportunity. Every business fails at some point; what counts is how you react.
  • Follow your instincts: Don’t let others sway your decisions. You’re the only one who can decide what is or isn’t right for you, and you have the power to shape your future.

Got a great quote you set your small business’ sail by? Get in touch via the comments section below and let us know!

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