Inspirational Small Business Quotes for Entrepreneur Motivation

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road, especially for sole proprietors. Let these small business quotes from successful businesspeople motivate and uplift.

Motivation in business is a critical key to success. It is easy to lose focus and become overwhelmed with the demands of entrepreneurship. Operating a business often takes the owner away from family and creates financial stress or burden, especially during the start-up stages or in rough economic times.

This collection of small business quotes features pearls of wisdom and motivation from those who have gone before and were able to persevere through challenging times. Others in this collection are simply humorous and meant to lift an entrepreneur's spirits and provide the motivation to push through obstacles and build a better business.

Small Business Quotes from 20th Century American Business Leaders

Harvard Business School recognizes outstanding leaders in 20th century American business on their Leadership database. In addition to their contributions through their actions, these inspirational figures were able to impart important life and business lessons in quotes of just a few words or sentences each.

One such leader is Benjamin F. Fairless (1890-1962), former Chairman of the Board with United States Steel Corporation, the world's largest iron and steel producer. Said Fairless, "What is the recipe for successful achievement? Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team."

These quotes from American business leaders are direct and priceless:

  • "Be smart, but never show it." - Louis B. Mayer, known as the "czar of Hollywood."
  • "When you expect things to happen - strangely enough - they do happen." - John P. Morgan, financier and power broker.
  • "It's choice, not chance, that determines your destiny." - Jean Nidetch, who started Weight Watchers in her New York apartment in 1963 and sold it with revenues of $1 billion in 1978.
Elizabeth Arden is an inspiration to businesspeople as a pioneer in the personal care industry, but also to women for doing it in a time (the 1920s) women weren't generally expected to work, let alone build multimillion dollar companies. Perhaps her most memorable quote demonstrates just the type of person it took to accomplish such a feat: "Dear, never forget one little point. It's my business. You just work here."

Entrepreneur Motivation with Small Business Quotes from Visionaries

Arguably the greatest success story of the past century, Sam Walton's retail giant Walmart began as a small variety store called Walton's 5 & 10 in Arkansas. Walton surprised himself with his own success, quipping, "There's a lot more business out there in small town America than I ever dreamed of." Once he discovered the potential, he became a visionary in American retail.

More from visionaries with the entrepreneurial motivation and drive to create an empire:

  • "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." - Apple co-founder 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." - Berkshire Hathaway CEO and stock market legend Warren Buffett
  • The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity." - Peter F. Drucker, management consultant and self-described social ecologist.
The father of electronic gaming, Nolan Bushnell, invented Pong, then founded Atari with a $500 budget in 1972 and sold it to Times Warner four years later for $28 million. As of 1998, Bushnell had founded 18 companies, including popular chain restaurant empire Chuck E. Cheese. His thoughts on entrepreneur motivation and success: "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."

How Inspirational Small Business Quotes Help Build Successful Entrepreneurs

Do your finance homework and avoid becoming bogged down in the day-to-day operation and troubleshooting of small business ownership. Reading success stories and emulating those who have demonstrated motivation in business with the drive to achieve goals helps entrepreneurs see the bigger picture and gain the confidence to take calculated risks.

See Memorable Rock Quotes for another collection of inspirational and motivational quotes, this time by (or about) famous rock stars. Or see Surviving as an Online Business Owner for tips on creating work-life balance as a sole proprietor.

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