100 Inspiring Quotes for Entrepreneurs

Get inspired by these awesome quotes from experienced entrepreneurs.

Reviewed by Melina Theodorou

Illustration of a woman reading a book and surrounded by large speech bubbles

Over the last several years, entrepreneurship has been revived, facilitated by technological advancements and a globalised economy. More people than ever before are taking the business ownership journey. 

Is owning a business easy? Hardly. Being a successful entrepreneur requires certain characteristics, as well as enduring a wide range of lessons on the job. It takes a lot of grit, sacrifice, hard work and a focused mindset to survive and thrive in the cutthroat business world. 

When the going gets tough, you may start having second thoughts about your entrepreneurial journey. All it takes, however, is some inspiration to put you back to the path of success. Be it a quote or an incident – it takes a single spark to renew your confidence. 

Do you need something motivational? We have compiled a list of 100 of the best entrepreneur quotes. 

Ideas

1. ‘It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.’ – Scott Belsky, author and early-stage investor

2. ‘The value of an idea lies in the using of it.’ – Thomas Edison, cofounder of General Electric

3. ‘If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.’ – Brian Chesky, cofounder of Airbnb

4. ‘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’re 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 and 45th President of the United States

5. ‘Ideas are a dime a dozen, it is all about the people.’ – Neil Patel, founder of Crazy Egg

6. ‘Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.’ – Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter

7. ‘Ideas are commodity. The execution of them is not.’ – Michael Dell, CEO of Dell

8. ‘The heart and soul of a company is creativity and innovation.’ – Robert Iger, former CEO of Disney

9. ‘The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.’ – Nolan Bushnell, entrepreneur

10. ‘Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.’ – Guy Kawasaki, cofounder of AllTop

11. ‘When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.’ – Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple

12. ‘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

13. ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’ – Chinese proverb

Customers

14. ‘Forget about competitors, just focus on your customers.’ – Jack Ma, cofounder of Alibaba

15. ‘Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.’ – Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft

16. ‘No matter how many customers you have, each is an individual. The day you start thinking of them as this amorphous ‘collection’ and stop thinking of them as people is the day you start going out of business.’ – Dharmesh Shah, cofounder of HubSpot

Success

17. ‘Building a successful business requires a combination of human capital, financial resources, market opportunity, persistence, community support, and even luck.’ – Andrew Yang, entrepreneur 

18. ‘Failure is success if we learn from it.’ – Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine

19. ‘So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.’ – Caterina Fake, cofounder of Flickr

20. ‘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, motivational speaker and author

21. ‘If you tune it so that you have zero chance of failure, you usually also have zero chance of success. The key is to look at ways for when you get to your failure checkpoint, you know to stop.’ – Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn

22. ‘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 Hilton Hotels

23. ‘I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.’ – Estée Lauder, founder of Estée Lauder Companies

24. ‘Always deliver more than expected.’ – Larry Page, cofounder of Google

25. ‘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

26. ‘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, cofounder of Apple

27. ‘The next big thing is the one that makes the last big thing usable.’ – Blake Ross, cofounder of Mozilla

28. ‘Get big quietly, so you don’t tip off potential competitors.’ – Chris Dixon, cofounder of Hunch

29. ‘The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.’ – Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister

30. ‘Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.’ – Peter F Drucker, management consultant

31. ‘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

32. ‘Stick with it, even on the bad days.’ – Vivienne Harr, founder of Make A Stand

Character

33. ‘A person who is quietly confident makes the best leader.’ – Fred Wilson, cofounder of Union Square Ventures

34. ‘I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.’ – Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft

35. ‘Fall seven times, stand up eight.’ – Japanese proverb

36. ‘Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.’ – Mark Cuban, cofounder of AXS TV

37. ‘Persistence pushes me to be bold and seek out the opportunities I’ve wanted. It starts by envisioning what you want, no matter how big or small, and believing that you can achieve it.’ – Belinda Johnson, former CEO of Airbnb

38. ‘Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.’ – Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States

39. ‘I think the most important trait for an entrepreneur is persistence. When you try to do something new and difficult, you are more likely to fail than to succeed.’ – Trip Adler, cofounder of Scribd

40. ‘The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.’ – Napoleon Hill, author

41. ‘Quantity and persistence will get you the outcomes you need.’ – James Altucher, hedge fund manager

42. ‘The successful entrepreneurs that I see have two characteristics: self-awareness and persistence. They’re able to see problems in their companies through their self-awareness and be persistent enough to solve them.’ – Alan Schaaf, founder of Imgur

43. ‘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

44. ‘Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.’ – Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks

45. ‘But as an entrepreneur, you have to feel like you can jump out of an aeroplane because you’re confident that you’ll catch a bird flying by. It’s an act of stupidity, and most entrepreneurs go play because the bird doesn’t come by, but a few times it does.’ – Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix

46. ‘Don’t take too much advice. Most people who have a lot of advice to give — with a few exceptions — generalise whatever they did. Don’t over-analyse everything. I myself have been guilty of over-thinking problems. Just build things and find out if they work.’ – Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest

47. ‘Do every job you’re in like you’re going to do it for the rest of your life and demonstrate that ownership of it.’ – Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors

48. ‘A real entrepreneur is somebody who has no safety net underneath them.’ – Henry Kravis, cofoudner of KKR & Co.

49. ‘It is within everyone’s grasp to be a CEO.’ – Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia 

50. ‘Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.’ – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

51. ‘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

52. ‘One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.’ – Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States

53. ‘If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.’ – Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors

54. ‘Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.’ – Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks

55. ‘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

56. ‘If you start thinking you are good at something, that’s often the day you stop trying to be better and open the back door for someone to come after you. That’s why we always aim higher. We never feel like we’re done.’ – Drew Houston, cofounder of Dropbox

57. ‘The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.’ – Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company

58. ‘The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with dust and sweat; who strives valiantly, who errs and may fall again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming.’ – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

59. ‘It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business.’ – Mark Cuban, cofounder of AXS TV

Perspective

60. ‘Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.’ – Warren Buffett, cofounder of Berkshire Hathaway

61. ‘Find the smartest people you can and surround yourself with them.’ – Marissa Meyer, former CEO of Yahoo!

62. ‘If something is important enough, or you believe something is important enough, even if you are scared, you will keep going.’ – Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors

63. ‘Five days a week, I read my goals before I go to sleep and when I wake up. There are 10 goals around health, family and business with expiration dates, and I update them every six months.’ – Daymond John, founder, president and CEO of FUBU

64. ‘It starts with not having a hangover with the way things used to be.’ – Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour

65. ‘The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.’ – Rob Kalin, founder of Etsy

66. ‘Timing, perseverance, and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.’ – Biz Stone, cofounder of Twitter

67. ‘In the end, a vision without the ability to execute it is probably a hallucination.’ – Steve Case, cofounder of AOL

68. ‘My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had — every day I’m learning something new.’ – Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

69. ‘High expectations are the key to everything.’ – Sam Walton, founder of Walmart

70. ‘Show me a person who never made a mistake, and I will show you a person who never did anything.’ – William Rosenberg, founder of Dunkin’ Donuts

71. ‘Make your team feel respected, empowered and genuinely excited about the company’s mission.’ – Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora

72. ‘You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn’t going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You’re going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people.’ – Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines

73. ‘How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.’ – Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

74. ‘In business, things take three times as long, are three times as costly and are three times more difficult than you project them to be (or than they probably should be).’ – Carol Roth, entrepreneur and media personality

75. ‘If you define yourself by how you differ from the competition, you’re probably in trouble.’ – Omar Hamoui, cofounder of AdMob

76. ‘There’s nothing wrong with staying small. You can do big things with a small team.’ – Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp

77. ‘Anything that is measured and watched, improves.’ – Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy

78. ‘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

79. ‘Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.’ – John D Rockefeller, business magnate

80. ‘Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.’ – Michael Jordan, former NBA player

81. ‘To any entrepreneur: if you want to do it, do it now. If you don’t, you’re going to regret it.’ – Catherine Cook, cofounder of MyYearbook

82. ‘There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.’ – Aristotle, Ancient Greek philosopher

83. ‘The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.’ – Amelia Earhart, aviation pioneer

84. ‘A hard thing is done by figuring out how to start.’ – Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz

85. ‘Have the end in mind and every day make sure you are working towards it.’ – Ryan Allis, CEO at Hive

86. ‘I think I was very naive early on, but that also meant I didn’t know what couldn’t be done.’ – Matt Mickiewicz, founder of Flippa and 99designs

87. ‘One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.’ – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

88. ‘It’s not about how many years of experience you have. It’s about the quality of your years of experience.’ – Jacob Cass, founder of Logo of the Day

89. ‘Running a start-up is like eating glass. You just start to like the taste of your own blood.’ – Sean Parker, cofounder of Napster

90. ‘Every feature has some maintenance cost, and having fewer features lets us focus on the ones we care about and make sure they work very well.’ – David Karp, cofounder of Tumblr

91. ‘What are you here to do? What are you uniquely good at? Add to that the importance of doing it persistently, being dogged. There are massive returns to doggedness.’ – Daniel Pink, economist

92. ‘Hug your gold coins.’ – Robert Wenzel, publisher of the Economic Policy Journal

93. ‘Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it.’ – Ted Williams, baseball legend

94. ‘An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.’ – Roy Ash, cofounder of Litton Industries

95. ‘The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.’ – Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields 

96. ‘Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking. Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading: buying and selling.’ – Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop

97. ‘Only the paranoid survive.’ – Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel

98. ‘Selling is not a pushy, winner-takes-all, macho act. It is an empathy-led, process-driven, and knowledge-intensive discipline. Because, in the end, people buy from people.’ – Subroto Bagchi, cofounder of Mindtree

99. ‘It’s necessary to find a mentor who can invest time to know your personal capabilities and business model.’ – Nigel Davies, founder of Claromentis

100. ‘There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it, for whatever success I have attained has been the result of much hard work and many sleepless nights.’ – Madam CJ Walker, entrepreneur and philanthropist

Some of the most famous people in business have experienced some setbacks in their careers. It’s not easy starting a business, which explains why most new companies close their doors within a couple of years. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it and making a lot of money. That said, conceding defeat should not be an option for you and your firm. If it’s not for the top men and women in business today, why should it be for you? 

Which is you favourite entrepreneur quote? Share it with us in the comments section below!


This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 19 October 2018.