No matter how passionate, dedicated, and hard-working you are as a new entrepreneur, the road to success is littered with pitfalls and setbacks. Product launches gone awry. Investors not coming through. And now, of course, the corona pandemic.
In such times, when motivation falters and conviction is shaken, get back into focus by listening to the wisdom of others who have faced the same challenges. And persevered.
One of the best ways to find fresh inspiration, gather new strength and adjust your perspective is by looking at quotes. The purposeful words of successful entrepreneurs past and present are full of valuable advice and wisdom.
Struggling with financial setbacks? Robert Schuller’s words may help you reorient yourself towards the future:
“Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.”
Having trouble assembling a coherent team? Kevin Rose knows how to unite them: “A team aligned behind a vision will move mountains.”
Facing an absolutely overwhelming business situation? Anthony Robbins can change your perspective:
“Every problem is a gift. Without problems, we would not grow.”
Reading the biographies and business credos of successful entrepreneurs can definitely give you deeper insights. But their knowledge, competence, and conviction are distilled in their most famous quotations. And these are absolutely unbeatable in terms of quick motivation boosters.
So whether you are looking for a new personal mantra, something to set as your desktop background as a perpetual source of inspiration, or just a grain of wisdom to pull yourself out of a slump, here are the 500 best quotes of all time.
A ‘startup’ is a company that is confused about. 1. What its product is, 2. Who its customers are. 3. How to make money.
A team aligned behind a vision will move mountain.
Business is a game, played for fantastic stakes, and you’re in competition with experts. If you want to win, you have to learn to be a master of the game. Sidney Sheldon
Business is still more often about whom you know, not what you know. Alejandro Cremades
Business opportunities are like buses there’s always another one coming.Richard Branson
Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost. Robert H. Schuller
Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed. Robert H. Schuller
Build your business success around something that you love – something that is inherently and endlessly interesting to you.Martha Stewart
Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.Dee Hock
Concentration is my motto – first honesty, then industry, then concentration. Andrew Carnegie
“Loyalty is not won by being first. It is won by being best. Stefan Persson
9 out of 10 businesses fail_ so I came up with a foolproof plan, create ten businesses.
A team aligned behind a vision will move mountains. Sell them on your roadmap and don’t compromise – care about the details, the fit and finish. – Kevin Rose.
Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing… layout, processes, and procedures. Tom Peters
As an entrepreneur, I try to push the limits. Pedal to the metal. Travis Kalanick
Being an entrepreneur is my dream job, as it tests ones tenacity.Gautam Adani
Competition is the keen cutting edge of business, always shaving away at costs. Henry Ford
Don’t count the things you do, do the things that count. Zig Ziglar
Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise.
‘Entrepreneur ‘just denotes that you recognize that you’re doing things across disciplines and that you’re blazing your own path. Pharrell Williams
Every problem is a gift. Without problems we would not grow. Anthony Robbins
For me, the winning strategy in any start-up business is, ‘Think big but start small. Carmen Busquets
Fortunes are built during the down market and collected in the up market. – Jason Calacanis
Hire character. Train skill. Peter Schutz
I have had some great successes and great failures. I think every entrepreneur has. I try to learn from all of them.Kevin O’Leary
I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. Steve Jobs
If you want to change the fruits, you will first have to change the roots. If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible. T. Harv Eker
It’s not about the content we are creating but how much content our customers are creating for us. roger james hamilton
Markets come and go. Good businesses don’t. Fred Wilson
Running a startup is like being punched in the face repeatedly, but working for a large company is like being waterboarded. – Paul Graham
There is no luck in business. There’s only drive, determination, and more drive. Sophie Kinsella
Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success. Biz Stone
To be outstanding – get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Alrik Koudenburg
You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die. Jack Ma
In the startup world, ‘not working’ is normal.Paul Graham
It’s better to make a few people really happy than to make a lot of people semi-happy. Paul Graham
It’s easier to stand on the sidelines, criticize, and say why you shouldn’t do something. The sidelines are crowded. Get in the game. Robert Kiyosaki
It’s pretty clear that [customers] know what their budgets are now, and what they want to. Ben Horowitz
The absolute fundamental aim is to make money out of satisfying customers. John Egan
The more successful you are, the more you need to learn and grow. Your commitment to learning has to be continuous and unrelenting. John Donahoe
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. Steve Jobs
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. Elon Musk
Work for someone who believes in you, because when they believe in you, they’ll invest in you. Marissa Mayer
You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. Marissa Mayer
Your business has to work when it’s small in order to survive to the point where it gets big. Seth Godin
Your employees know each other better than they know you. Ben Horowitz
When it gets difficult is often right before you succeed.
Write your principles in pen and your business model in pencil. Josh Kopelman
You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere. Lee Iacocca
You know your business model is broken when you’re suing your customers. Paul Graham
The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works. Jeff Bezos
The big value of the founder running the company is really two things_ the knowledge and the commitment. Ben Horowitz
The courage of leadership is giving others the chance to succeed even though you bear the responsibility for getting things done. – Simon Sinek.
The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then to not just meet them but to exceed them—preferably in unexpected and helpful ways. Richard Branson
We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful_ Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient. Jeff Bezos
Often any decision, even the wrong decision, is better than no decision. Ben Horowitz
Startups are rapidly changing systems. If you use an annual review cycle, you aren’t getting feedback at the same pace that you need to adapt and change the business. Fred Wilson
Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.
The ability to concentrate and to use time well is everything. Lee Iacocca
If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion. Elon Musk
In 1998, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos became an early investor in Google. He invested US$250,000, which was worth about US$2.2 billion today.
Make your marketing so useful people would pay you for it.Jay Baer
Marketing is a contest for people’s attention. Seth Godin
Building product is not about having a large team to manage. It is about having a small team with the right people on it. Fred Wilson
Everyone can tell you the risk. An entrepreneur can see the reward. Robert Kiyosaki
For the most ambitious young people, the corporate ladder is obsolete. Paul Graham
I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way.
I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.
I wake up every morning and think to myself, ‘How far can I push the company forward in the next 24 hours.
If you push through that feeling of being scared, that feeling of taking risk, really amazing.
If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new. Jeff Bezos
If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success. John D. Rockefeller
Long-term goals are dangerous. They limit you. They hinder you from reacting to new conditions. Ben Casnocha
Never go into business purely to make money. If that’s the motive you’re better. Richard Branson
Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you. – Matt Goulart
Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from. Robert Kiyosaki
Talk of nothing but business, and dispatch that business quickly. Aldus Manutius
The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you are the pilot. Michael Altshuler
The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing. Seth Godin
“Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
A great business success was probably never attained by chasing the dollar, but is due to pride in one’s work – the pride that makes business an art. Henry L. Doherty
Artists work best alone. Work alone.Steve Wozniak
Be daring. Be first. Be different. Anita Roddick
Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or the fastest way to do it, think ‘what’s the most amazing way to do it. Richard Branson
Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create. David Karp
Get big quietly, so you don’t tip off potential competitors. – Chris Dixon.
Good behavior is everybody’s business, and good taste can be everyone’s goal. Millicent Fenwick
If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete. Jack Welch
If you get tired learn to rest, not to quit. Banksy
If hard work is your weapon, success will be your slave.
Success comes in cans not in can’ts.
Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you INSPIRE others to do.
Successful people are not gifted_ they just work hard, then succeed on purpose. G.K. Nelson
Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent. Bill Gates
We innovate by starting with the customer and working backwards. That becomes the touchstone for how we invent. Jeff Bezos
We try to solve very complicated problems without letting people know how complicated the problem was. Jonathan Ive
When you receive criticism from well-meaning people, it pays to ask, ‘Are they right’ And if they are, you need to adapt what they’re doing. If they’re not right, if you really have conviction that they’re not right, you need to have that long-term willingness to be misunderstood. It’s a key part of invention. Jeff Bezos
You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential. Jonathan Ive
You should pursue your passion. If you’re passionate about something and you work hard, then I think you will be successful. Pierre Omidyar
Innovation is moving at a scarily fast pace. Bill Gates
Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things. Steve Jobs
It’s important to give a better country to your children, but it is more important to give better children to your country. Carlos Slim
Life can be much broader. You can embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it. Steve Jobs
Look for 3 things in a person. Intelligence, Energy, & Integrity. If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two. Warren Buffett
Only fools use their mouth to speak. A smart man uses his brain, and a wise man uses his heart. Jack Ma
Small groups of people can have a really huge impact. Larry Page
Success is never owned, it is rented, and the rent is due every day. Rory Vaden
Great achievers are driven, not so much by the pursuit of success, but by the fear of failure. Larry Ellison
Great companies with the way they work, first start with great leaders. Steve Ballmer
If you do everything that everyone else does in business, you’re going to lose. The only way to really be ahead, is to ‘be different’. Larry Ellison
I like to tell people that all of our products and business will go through three phases. There’s vision, patience, and execution. Steve Ballmer
Anything you can imagine probably is doable, you just have to imagine it and work on it. Larry Page
A good job isn’t something you go out and find, it’s something you discover while you’re working.
Build a platform – prepare for the unexpected…you’ ll know you’re successful when the platform you’ve built serves you in unexpected ways. Pierre Omidyar
Improve the organization, you have to improve yourself and the organization gets pulled up with you.That is a big lesson.Indra Nooyi
Sustaining a successful business is a hell of a lot of work, and staying hungry is half the battle. Wendy Tan White
The secret to successful hiring is this; look for the people who want to change the world. Marc Benioff
You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets. Arnold Schwarzenegger
If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do. Michael Phelps
Nothing works better than just improving your product. Joel Spolsky
Remember; It’s not innovation until it gets built. Garry Tan
Solving big problems is easier than solving little problems. Sergey Brin
I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress. Mark Zuckerberg
If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow. Steve Jobs
A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. Steve Jobs
All entrepreneurs make decisions. Some will go right, and some will not go that right. Sunil Mittal
Be simple and reliable. Jan Koum
Business dispatched is business well done, but business hurried is business ill done. Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton
Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. Gail Devers
The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. Vince Lombardi
You’re only as good as the people you hire.Ray Kroc
The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake. You can’t learn anything from being perfect. Adam Osborne
Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going, because a straight line even in an ECG means we are not alive. Ratan Tata
With the right people anything is possible. Richard Branson
Surviving a failure gives you more self-confidence. Failures are great learning tools.. but they must be kept to a minimum. Jeffrey R. Immelt
The customer’s perception is your reality.Kate Zabriskie
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
If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand. Howard Schultz
If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth.Jeff Bezos
In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities_ integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. Warren Buffett
In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words_ people, product, and profits. Lee Iacocca
Make a customer, not a sale. Katherine Barchetti
Charge less, but charge. Otherwise, you will not be taken seriously, and you do your fellow artists no favours if you undercut the market. Elizabeth Aston
Doing a common thing uncommon brings SUCCESS. Henry John Heinz
Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice. Peter Drucker
Every risk is worth taking as long as it’s for a good cause, and contributes to a good life. Richard Branson
Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great. Fernando Flores
I am deaf to the word ‘no’. Dhirubhai Ambani
Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time. – Arnold H. Glasow
The jewelry business is a very, very tough business – tougher than the computer business. You truly have to understand how to take care of your customers. Guy Kawasaki
The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient. – Warren Buffet
To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like. Mike Gafka
Always deliver more than expected. Larry Page
Success doesn’t lie in the results but in the effort. Being the best is not so important. Doing your best is all that matters.
Success comes from delegating, risk-taking and having a good TEAM! – Richard Branson
Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much. Tony Robbins
Success is not just what you accomplish in your life, it is about what you inspire others to do.
Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes its built on catastrophe. Sumner Redstone
Entrepreneurs are hungry for success not money.
Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40. Lori Greiner
If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure.
Never get too hung up on mistakes. – Warren Buffett
Never invest in a business you can’t understand – Warren Buffett
Old habits will never ever open new doors for you.
Any business plan won’t survive its first encounter with reality. The reality will always be different. It will never be the plan. Jeff Bezos
Creativity is people who care enough to keep thinking about something until they find the simplest way to do it. Tim Cook
Discipline gives you the freedom to be creative. Denise Morrison
Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. Richard Branson
Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first. Angela Ahrendts
Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough. Elon Musk
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
I’m in no hurry to get anywhere. I don’t have any plans. I don’t have a map. If you did in this business, you’d destroy yourself. Colin Farrell
It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do_ we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. Steve Jobs
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. Warren Buffett
Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong, They usually miss the future. Larry Page
Lots of people will give you advice… and depending upon how well they know you, the advice might be valid or not so valid. Abigail Johnson
Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could. Steve Jobs
Most people think companies are basically evil. They get a bad rap. And I think that’s somewhat correct. Larry Page
People’s interest is in the product, not in its authorship. Jonathan Ive
Profitability is coming from productivity, efficiency, management, austerity, and the way to manage the business. Carlos Slim
Success is very much the intersection of luck and hard work. Dustin Moskovitz
The first rule is not to lose. The second rule is not to forget the first rule. Warren Buffett
The greatest lesson that I learned in all of this is that you have to start. Start now, start here, and start small. Keep it Simple. Jack Dorsey
The only reason you should be an entrepreneur is because that’s the only way the idea will come into the world. Dustin Moskovitz
We run the company by questions, not by answers. Eric Schmidt
When you’re building a business or joining a company, you have to be transparent; you can’t have two sets of information for two sets of people. Howard Schultz
You have got to be willing to be poor as an entrepreneur. Sean Parker
You want people using your product because it’s a part of your life, then they can’t stop using it. Sean Parker
A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management.
Approach your business partners with concepts that they can get their heads around, and try to respond to their needs. Chad Hurley
Companies that change best over time know first and foremost what should not change. James C. Collins
Don’t be afraid to give up the good for the great. Steve Prefontaine
Follow your passion, and success will follow you.Terri Guillemets
I think the success around any product is really about subtle insights. You need a great product and a bigger vision to execute against
I think when you do things outside of what you’re interested in, you meet people and get ideas to bring in to whatever it is you love doing the most. Gia Coppola.
In markets, you have rich years, and you have less rich years. Arpad Busson
In the business world, you have exams every day. Akio Morita
One of Netscape’s main attractions to customers from Day One is that we provide alternatives. And that’s cherished by many customers – certainly not all. Jim Barksdale
Strong organizations with strong risk controls will survive and prosper. Arpad Busson
The biggest risk is not taking any risk. Mark Zuckerberg
The secret of success is to be in harmony with existence, to be always calm to let each wave of life wash us a little farther up the shore.Cyril Connolly
There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else. Sam Walton
Too many people, including the ad industry, believe the future is something that happens and just rolls them over in it’s wake. Cindy Gallop
Well, the sales of our products clearly demonstrate their value to businesses and to individuals. Jim Barksdale
What interests me is starting businesses on our own, finding ideas that we can support, and simply investing in invention. Barry Diller
What I’ve learned over the years is that focus and singular purpose is the best approach for businesses. Barry Diller
Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise. Frank Ocean.
You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well. Jeff Bezos
A creative idea plus a fresh network is the best way to go from zero to millions. Jonah Peretti
A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. David Brinkley
Business owners should think of designers as architects, not decorators. … Jeffrey Zeldman
Cable is a niche business. If you can own a niche, that can be a very strong business. David Zaslav
Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. David Frost
First, find the best people you can in the world. And second, let them do their work. Just get out of their way. Matt Mullenweg
I am placed in situations with opportunities in those situations that others are not. I don’t believe that that is happenstance. I believe that there is a God that has a plan for me. Ronald Perelman
I don’t care how someone lives or how good their spoken English is. I do all of my interviews on Skype text chat – all that matters is their work. Matt Mullenweg
I’m not a driven businessman, but a driven artist. I never think about money. Beautiful things make money. Lord Acton
Paying good wages is not in opposition to good productivity. James Sinegal
People don’t do good work when they feel like losers and are second-class citizens within their own company. Jonah Peretti
Retiring is getting ready to die. Rodger Ward
Standing alone doesn’t mean I am alone, it means I’m strong enough to handle things all by myself.
Tech is a funny industry; I don’t think there is any other industry on the planet that reinvents itself every 10-12 years. Edward Zander
The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works. Jeff Bezos
The goal is to do things that are exciting and respectable. Jared Kushner
When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful. Eric Thomas
You have to understand the separation between what exists in the print media and what exists in reality. It’s important to never lose track of reality. Jared Kushner