30 Best Business Quotes to Inspire Entrepreneurs & Go-Getters

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Daily affirmations have long been used to boost self-esteem. They compel people to start their days on the right foot. But while letting a smile be your umbrella might fortify your positive attitude, it’s not going to inspire your business ventures.

Everyone must work, but for many of us that job isn’t just a paycheck, it’s an opportunity to express ourselves and make something better. Entrepreneurs and go-getters often feel as if they carry the weight of an entire organization on their backs, and therefore could always use a little extra motivation.

To all the entrepreneurs and go-getters out there, these 30 inspiring business quotes are for you. Now, get out there and change the world—one project at a time!

1. “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Churchill lead Britain through one of its darkest periods. With enemies threatening to advance across the English Channel, bombing London daily, the pressure to survive was paramount. But Churchill, like any entrepreneur worth their salt, understood that failure was part of the process. One learned from their mistakes, and the greatest lesson was that there was always another day to fight on.

Related: 10 Motivational Speeches That Will Change Your Life

winston Churchill business quote

2. “Play by the rules, but be ferocious.” – Phil Knight

The brand that gave us “Just do it!” qualifies that tagline, which always felt a bit broad, to include boundaries. You can’t “just do it” without regard to the rules, as Knight clearly states. Those rules are what level the playing field and protect fair competition. But rules have nothing to do with the passion in which you play within them.

Phil knight business quote

3. “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson

Branson’s Virgin has proven that from record labels to airlines, where there is a will there is a way. The door isn’t always open, but sometimes it’s ajar or the key is on the floor. All you must do is pick it up and turn the lock. Basically, the right environment for success ebbs and flows, but a keen businessperson is never passive.

Richard Branson business quote

4. “Every problem is a gift—without problems we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins

The idea that one can go through life without conflict or issues arising is unrealistic. Some might dream of a frictionless ride through the world as the ideal journey, but without some form of pushback, growth is impossible. It is these problems that we face which build our character, engage our creativity and build humility.

Related: 10 Conflict Resolution Strategies That Actually Work

Anthony robbins business quote

5. “You only have to do a few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.” – Warren Buffett

The idea of right and wrong is a construct, of course, and it might feel overly simplistic to suggest that making the right choices will smooth the path forward. But the famous investor is merely noting with this business quote that avoiding a wrong decision is as important as making the right one. Avoiding bad decisions is aided, of course, with careful planning.

Warren Buffett business quote

6. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

Philosopher, naturalist, essayist, etc.—Thoreau knew a thing or two about productivity. He wisely saw that those who are seeking success are more likely romanticizing the idea and not doing the hard, practical work necessary to achieve it.

Henry David Thoreau business quote

7. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin

Nin was no stranger to the creative act. As a writer, she had to take pen to paper or her stories would remain phantoms in her mind. It is safer to keep these ideas to oneself. There’s no rejection or criticism that way, but there’s also no way to hone one’s skills and produce something of value.

Anais non business quote

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

Writer and former dotcom businessman, Godin is saying that talk is cheap, but in a nicer way. Yes, ideas are a dime a dozen, but the real meat on those bones comes from trying to realize them. It is only then that the problems show up and the real work of resolving them starts.

Related: 10 Strategies for Successful Project Execution

Seth Godin business quote

9. “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” – G.K. Chesterton

Chesterton, a writer of paradoxical stories, is the contrarian on our list. He speaks for the pig-headed and visionary alike. Sometimes one must buck the conventional wisdom. The hard part is knowing whether you’re acting out of conviction for your ideals or if you’re just being deluded by ego.

g.k Chesterton business quote

10. “I don’t know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.” – Susan Butcher

She’s not being literal, but rather exaggerating to make a point. There comes a time in everyone’s life where the idea of just throwing in the towel is attractive. You’re exhausted. The obstacles feel insurmountable. But those who can reject the idea of quitting and tap an unforeseen reservoir are usually those who cross the finish line.

Susan butcher business quote

11. “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

People get caught up in the product and forget the worth of anything lies in the process. Win or lose, it’s the fact that you tried, with all you could offer, to do the best at something you feel is of value. That alone is rewarding.

Theodore roosevelt business quote

12. “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

We only see the success after it’s been reached. Like a tree that reaches the clouds, the roots that hold it up are invisible. They’re beneath the ground, having spent years digging through the hard ground to stabilize and feed the tree’s growth. It is also so with business.

Steve Jobs business quote

13. “Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying into space.” – Chris Hadfield

True, but not all risks are created equally. Going into space feels like a bigger risk than starting a company. That puts things in perspective, though, and acknowledges the fact that nothing is without risk, therefore, don’t try to completely bubble-wrap your enterprise. Play it safe, of course, but not to the point of inertia.

Chris Hadfield business quote

14. “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rodgers

America’s ambassador of good cheer did more than pass out smiles in his life. He offered practical business advice: complacency is death. Even if you’re doing the right thing, if you’re not moving forward, constantly pushing yourself to reach beyond your comfort zone, then you’re in trouble. The competition will overtake you.

will Rodgers business quote

15. “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

The president knows a lot about failure and success. The Affordable Healthcare Act was more than once dead in the water, but the president didn’t give up. He compromised, he convinced and he labored, but not once did he allow himself to become embittered.

Related: The 25 Most Inspiring Leadership Quotes

barak Obama business quote

16. “Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” – William Durant

There is only the present, so the enlightened ones tell us, and we cannot allow ourselves to become tied to the past or enchanted by the future. There is only the here and now. We must concentrate on that and act. This quote doesn’t reject the lessons of the past or the plans for the future, but we only have this moment, so do your best in it.

William durant business quote

17. “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

You’ll have noticed that often one inspirational quote contradicts the next. That’s because it is in these paradoxes that real wisdom is born. There is never just one way to look at something and with perspective comes opportunity. Ideas might be nothing without execution, but without those ideas the execution is empty.

Albert Einstein business quote

18. “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

People should take failure as a badge of honor. It’s a crucible that burns things down to their essence and shows us what we’re really made from. If the path to success was clear, then everyone would be one it and success would lose all meaning.

Helen Keller business quote

19. “The first one gets the oyster, the second gets the shell.” – Andrew Carnegie

It sounds brutal, and one doesn’t become a steel baron without nerves of steel, but there is a harsh truth in this statement. Resources are exploited by businesses to achieve their goals. They’re not a collective, sharing the wealth, so like the early bird, if you want the worm, then get up early.

Andrew Carnegie business quote

20. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

The more business quotes from these masters of industry and history, the more you notice a common thread knitting them together. They tend to same things only in different ways. That alone should make it clear that actions speak louder than words, to use another old axiom.

Walt Disney business quote

21. “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” – Henry Ford

This statement might confuse at first, but once you get it, like a Zen koan, it makes perfect sense. What the father of automotive automation is imparting with this quote is that success is as much a mind game as it is determined by fate. With the right attitude you can do almost anything.

Henry ford business quote

22. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Inspiration is great, but there’s no point in reinventing the wheel. The general is right. Success is being prepared, working hard and learning from mistakes, as many others have also stated. If we can edit the quote a wee bit, we’d add luck to fill out the recipe for success. There’s always an unknown element in the mix.

Related: 9 Ways to Be a Lucky Project Manager

Colin Powell business quote

23. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

Many people have it backwards, struggling to achieve success in order to feel good about themselves. But the irony is that it’s in the doing, not the goal, where the happiness resides. Even if you fail at your enterprise, if you enjoy the process, then you’ll be happy.

Albert Schweitzer business quote

24. “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel

If you’re keeping your eyes on what can go wrong, it will go wrong. Successful people strive to move on. They aren’t ignorant of failure, but they’re also not stymied by it. They don’t know what failure is, because to them it’s merely a bump in the road, not its terminus.

coco Chanel business quote

25. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

The famous story about Edison and the incandescent lightbulb, which took thousands of tries to find a filament that would burn but not extinguish, is proof to the pudding of his statement. You just never know what’s around the corner until you get there.

Thomas Edison business quote

26. “I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey

We spoke of luck as a crucial element to any success. There are always those forces beyond our control, but there are also those forces which are within our ability to regulate. If opportunities are rare, then one must be ready for them when they come in order to take advantage. That might not be the definition of luck, but it does feel like good fortune.

Oprah Winfrey business quote

27. “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estée Lauder

People can get lost in thought. In their mind’s eye success is clearly laid out. It’s as if they’re already there. Daydreaming might be creative, but creativity takes work. You’re not going to get anywhere standing in place.

Estee Lauder business quote

28. “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” – Babe Ruth

This has been said in many ways, but sometimes it takes the sports analogy to get it to sink through. Of course, for Ruth this wasn’t a metaphor but fact. However, it also applies to business. We can’t rest on past glory.

babe ruth business quote

29. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon

It’s a funny way to look at things, but there’s truth in the fact that success is not something we are handed. It is something we must work at. Success isn’t inheritance. While we might get handed great wealth, power and prestige, it’s what we do with it that counts.

Vidal Sassoon business quote

30. “The only way around is through.” – Robert Frost

What the great America poet is saying is that there is no way to avoid what must be done. We cannot go around the difficulties in our life or business but face them head on and work through them. Just having the courage to do that is the hallmark of success.

Robert frost business quote

Are you feeling inspired? Ready to start the day with gusto? Before you go, don’t forget to equip yourself with the tools that will take that ambition and give it the means to achieve your lofty goals. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that has the features that your work needs to succeed. Visualize workflow with kanban boards, schedule collaboratively with online Gantt charts and keep updated on progress with a real-time dashboard. Try it today with this free 30-day trial.

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