30 Small Business Quotes That Inspire Success

If you write down every skill and attribute that a small business owner needs to succeed, you’ll have a book thicker than War and Peace. It’s no easy feat to run a small business, which is why we put together a list of 30 small business quotes that will inspire success.

Print out your favorites and hang them in your office to stay motivated throughout the year.

Inspirational quotes for small businesses

  • “Mom & pop stores are not about something small; they are about something big. Ninety percent of all U.S. businesses are family owned or controlled. They are important not only for the food, drink, clothing, and tools they sell us, but also for providing us with intellectual stimulation, social interaction, and connection to our communities. We must have mom & pop stores because we are social animals. We crave to be part of the marketplace. ” –Robert Spector, author
  • “Why help make big companies bigger when you can get the same thing from the little guy and actually help someone accomplish their dream?” –Trevor D. Richardson, author
  • “Many small businesses are doomed from day one, not from competition or the economy, but from the ignorance of their owners . . . their destiny is already decided because they have no idea how a business should be operated.” –William Manchee, author
  • “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” –Thomas Edison, inventor 
  • “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, founder of Atari
  • “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, Co-Founder, Apple
  • “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 The Huffington Post Media Group
  • “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”  –Walt Disney, Co-Founder, Disney

Quotes to help small businesses learn from failure

  • “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just means you haven’t succeeded yet.”-Robert H. Schuller, pastor
  • “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” –Thomas A. Edison, inventor
  • “It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” -Ellen DeGeneres, comedian 
  • “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
  • “The very first company I started failed with a great bang. The second one failed a little bit less, but still failed. The third one, you know, proper failed, but it was kind of OK. I recovered quickly. Number four almost didn’t fail. It still didn’t really feel great, but it did OK. Number five was PayPal.” –Max Levchin, co-founder of Affirm
  • “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, Amazon Founder and CEO

Leadership quotes for small businesses

  • “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower, former president
  • “There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.” –Klaus Balkenhol, Olympic medalist 
  • “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” –Ralph Nader, political activist
  • “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” –John Maxwell, author
  • “Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” –Brian Tracy, author

Small business quotes that will make you laugh

  • “Running a startup is like being punched in the face repeatedly, but working for a large company is like being waterboarded.” –Paul Graham, co-founder of Viaweb
  • “Timing, perseverance, and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” -Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter
  • “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” –Robert Frost, poet
  • “Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders.” –Sloan Wilson, writer
  • “First rule of leadership: everything is your fault.” –A Bug’s Life

Small business quotes to inspire women

  • “I’m tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” –Madonna, singer
  • “A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” –Melinda Gates, businesswoman
  • “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” –Maya Angelou, author
  • “There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it, for if I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard.” –Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first female entrepreneur millionaire
  • “Don’t just stand for the success of other women – insist on it.” –Gail Blanke, President and CEO, Lifedesigns

What’s your favorite small business quote? How does it inspire you? Share it with us in the comment section below.

Lisa Furgison
About the Author
Lisa Furgison

Lisa is a writer at FiveStars, a freelance journalist, and co-owner of a media company, McEwen's Media.

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