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By Elise Moores Updated on December 3, 2021

50 Inspirational Small Business Quotes to Spark Motivation (and Success)

As a small business owner, you face an excessive amount of pressure. At times, the sheer responsibility of it all can feel overwhelming.

When you find yourself in need of a little motivation, reference these 50 inspirational quotes for business owners from some of the world’s top minds.

Use these sayings as a quote of the day for your business, or share them on your social channels as a small business meme. Words have power and they just might encourage and energize your organization.

Mountain range illustration

12 Motivational Quotes for Business Owners Overcoming Failure

Ask small business owners what they fear most, and you’ll likely hear your fair share of “failure.”

When you spend weeks, months or even years working on something that doesn’t pan out, don’t let it stop you: Learn from your small business challenges and mistakes, move on and succeed.

Find inspiration in these supportive small business quotes on failure:

  1. “Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.” – Tom Peters, author
  2. “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden, basketball player and head coach at the University of California
  3. “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” – Ken Robinson, author, speaker and international advisor
  4. “If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail. It takes backbone to lead the life you want.” – Richard Yates, fiction writer
  5. “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley, motivational speaker
  6. “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” – Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator, author
  7. “Failure is an attitude, not an outcome.” – Harvey Mackay, businessman, author
  8. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister
  9. “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki, founder of Rich Global LLC and the Rich Dad Company
  10. “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar, author, salesman and motivational speaker
  11. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston, founder and CEO of Dropbox
  12. “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” – Japanese proverb

“It’s not how far you fall but how high you bounce that counts” is a quote that will inspire your small business team.

10 Small Business Quotes to Inspire Perseverance

Even if you’ve read some of the best business books for entrepreneurs, short motivational quotes provide a quick reminder about what’s important when you’re trying to grow your business.

As you know, the road to entrepreneurship is rarely smooth, and few people achieve anything significant without first overcoming obstacles. Perseverance is what gets you through the obstacles and keeps you going when the going gets tough.

Reference these small business quotes for inspiration to overcome whatever obstacle is currently standing in your way:

  1. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., minister and activist
  2. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison, inventor
  3. “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. president
  4. “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” – Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister
  5. “I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars — I look for 1-foot bars that I can step over.” – Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
  6. “There is no finish line. There are only mile markers.” – Michael Ventura, novelist
  7. “Success is dependent upon the glands – sweat glands.” – Zig Ziglar,  author, salesman and motivational speaker
  8. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford, industrialist, inventor
  9. “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” – Newt Gingrich, politician, author
  10. “Success is the child of drudgery and perseverance. It cannot be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is yours.” – Orison Swett Mard, inspirational author

This meme illustrates the motivational quote that says: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”

6 Business Quotes on Innovation

In today’s tech-driven world, change is the only constant. The rate of change throughout every industry is steadily increasing and shows no signs of slowing down. Although it’s not easy, the good news for small businesses and startups seeking success is that your size makes you agile enough to adapt to it.

If you find yourself at the crossroads of choosing to pursue innovation or stick with the status quo, remember these quotes from breakthrough innovators:

  1. “You can’t ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple
  2. “Without change there is no innovation, creativity or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” – William Pollard, physicist
  3. “The only way you survive is you continuously transform into something else. It’s this idea of continuous transformation that makes you an innovation company.” – Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM
  4. “If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” – Steven Johnson, author and speaker
  5. “Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open.” – Thomas Dewar, distiller, businessman
  6. “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin, naturalist, biologist, author

This meme illustrates the small business motivational quote about how minds work best when they’re open, like parachutes.

10 Motivational Quotes for Business Risk-Taking

As a small business owner, you’re used to taking risks. After all, the act of starting a business is inherently risky in and of itself. When you’re contemplating taking a risk that could lead to success, here are some words to consider.

  1. “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” – Paulo Coelho, author
  2. “When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres, television host, comedian, writer
  3. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.” – Mark Zuckerberg, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Facebook
  4. “Make the choices that make you nervous. If you make the choice that’s the easy way out, that wasn’t the big vision or big choice to make.” – Eileen Burbidge, partner of Passion Capital
  5. “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.” – Steve Case, co-founder of AOL
  6. “Life has no limitations, except the ones you make.” – Les Brown, motivational speaker, author
  7. “Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” – Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. president and philanthropist
  8. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller, industrialist and philanthropist
  9. “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
  10. “Creative risk-taking is essential to success in any goal where the stakes are high. Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity.” – Gary Ryan Blair, author, speaker, consultant

An arm reaches for an apple at the very end of a tree branch. illustrating the motivational quote about going out on a limb.

12 Quotes to Inspire Success in Your Small Business

Success. It’s a destination all business owners aspire to reach. But what defines success, and how do you know you’ve “made it”?

The definition varies, but there’s one thing that we all can agree on: success is the product of hard work. Whether you’re seeking quotes for starting a business or driving ongoing business success, refer to these sayings to maintain your forward momentum.

  1. “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn, entrepreneur
  2. “The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well.” – John D. Rockefeller, Jr., businessman and philanthropist
  3. “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
  4. “In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” – Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek writer and Nobel Prize nominee
  5. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton, hotelier and founder of Hilton Hotels
  6. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell, former U.S. National Security Advisor
  7. “Have the end in mind and every day make sure you’re working towards it.” – Ryan Allis, co-founder of iContact Corporation
  8. “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
  9. “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill, self-help author
  10. “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey, media proprietor, talk show host, actress, philanthropist
  11. “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric
  12. “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee, martial artist, actor and director

An image of a long road illustrates the small business quote that says to have the end in mind and work towards it.

Prose That Drives Passion

Running a business is not for the faint of heart. It takes vision, talent and pure determination. Take James Dyson, inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner. When Dyson invented his first Dual Cyclone vacuum, he spent 15 years creating 5,126 versions that failed before he made one that was successful. The payoff was a multi-billion dollar company known for its creativity and forward-thinking design.

While the challenges can feel overwhelming at times, with the right mindset, you can surmount any obstacle. We hope this list of 50 business owner quotes has inspired you to rise above failure, take risks, innovate and succeed. Now create a business vision that stirs inspiration too.

Elise Moores is the Managing Editor at Fast Capital 360, reporting on all things small business. She distills complex topics into consumable bites so you, the business owner, can make better decisions.
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