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Running a small business is a huge leap of faith, one that takes time, money and a whole lot of self-belief. But you’re only human (we haven’t heard of any robot entrepreneurs – yet!), and even the world’s most successful business owners need the occasional pick-me-up when things get tough.
So, when you’ve got a serious case of small-business struggles, where do you turn?
How about the wisdom of fellow entrepreneurs and industry experts? Maybe even an ancient Chinese military strategist or a country music singer?
We’ve compiled a list of 30 small business quotes that speak to the highs and lows of life as a business owner. If you’re in search of some extra motivation, inspiration or even commiseration, read on for quotes about hard work, failure, risk-taking and work-life balance from the likes of Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Sun Tzu, Dolly Parton and more.
Table of contents:
- Small business quotes about going with the flow
- Small business quotes about work ethic
- Small business quotes about failure
- Small business quotes about taking risks
- Small business quotes about work-life balance
- Other helpful quotes for small business
- Keep inspiration in mind
Small business quotes about going with the flow
Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce. – Vivian Komori, CEO and founder of The Broad Perspective
Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. – Lou Holtz, American football coach and analyst
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. – Alan. W. Watts, British writer and philosopher
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost, American poet
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Small business quotes about work ethic
Play by the rules, but be ferocious. – Phil Knight, co-founder and former CEO of Nike
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. – Arthur Ashe, American tennis player
Be so good they can’t ignore you. – Steve Martin, American comedian
I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. – Thomas Jefferson, US president
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. – Robert Collier, American writer
Plan for what is difficult while it is easy. Do what is great while it is small. – Sun Tzu, Chinese military strategist and philosopher
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Small business quotes about failure
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. – Vidal Sassoon, British hairstylist
Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dreams become impossible: the fear of failure. – Paulo Coelho, Brazilian writer
Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently. – Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company
Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable. – Coco Chanel, French fashion designer
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas A. Edison, American inventor
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. – Truman Capote, American writer
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Small business quotes about taking risks
Whatever you do, be different – that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out. – Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop
“[Don’t] let anyone convince you that your dream, your vision to be an entrepreneur, is something that you shouldn’t do. What often happens is that people who are well-meaning, who really care for us, are afraid for us and talk us out of it.” – Cathy Hughes, American entrepreneur
Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself. – Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish writer
Small business quotes about work-life balance
Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. – Dolly Parton, American country singer
You can have it all, just not all at once. – Oprah Winfrey, talk show host and media magnate
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you. – Anne Lamott, American writer
I work for myself, which is fun. Except when I call in sick, I know I’m lying. – Rita Rudner, American comedian
You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. – Marissa Mayer, business executive and former CEO of Yahoo!
Other helpful quotes for small business
Content is fire. Social media is gasoline. – Jay Baer, customer experience consultant
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. – Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, American writer and poet
If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t know it yourself. – Albert Einstein, physicist
Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like. – Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb
The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come. – Steve Jobs, co-founder, Apple
Keep inspiration in mind
Whether you’re running a small business or just thinking about starting one, keep these business quotes on hand for the tricky days, weeks or months when you need a little extra emotional support. Or, you can turn one of these pearls of wisdom into a mantra for your business, something to add to business cards or write on your office wall. Just a few words that have meaning to you can help you refocus, make tough decisions and remember why you’re in business in the first place.
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