Business Quotes

We’ve collected inspiring, motivational quotes from business leaders, entrepreneurs and small business owners offering tips and nuggets of wisdom on how to succeed in business.  If you know of any business-related quotes (including your own!), please feel free to submit it to us.

Here are business quotes and success tips for entrepreneurs:

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Business Quotes and Success Tips

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Many times they’re talking about risk as a bad thing. The way I think about risk is, I want to take some risks. The most dangerous thing is not taking a risk.

— Michael Dell, From the Huffington Post article “Michael Dell: ‘The Most Dangerous Thing Is Not Taking A Risk’”, Jan. 23, 2015

The key challenge—and the biggest change from business as usual—is changing the focus from how much inventory there is to how fast it’s moving.

— Michael Dell, From the article “The Power of Virtual Integration: An Interview with Dell Computer’s Michael Dell”, by Joan Magretta, published in the March 1998 issue of Harvard Business Review

The best customers for us are the ones that present us with a new problem, because chances are, if one customer has that problem, 100 more have it, or 1,000, or 10,000. So you start thinking about solution development rather than product development. That can mean anything from a new feature or capability to a new way to finance purchases or a new way to link things together.

— Michael Dell, From the article “Michael Dell: How I Became an Entrepreneur Again”, by Tom Foster, published in the July-August 2014 issue of Inc. Magazine

The point is, you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect it to keep working. We had to do something different, but the really hard question was, What is it? We made plenty of mistakes along the way to answering that question, but the most important thing we identified was that we needed to know more about our customers and what problems they were really trying to solve in their businesses–even if they didn’t neatly fit into an existing category of ours.

— Michael Dell, From the article “Michael Dell: How I Became an Entrepreneur Again”, by Tom Foster, published in the July-August 2014 issue of Inc. Magazine

The changes headed our way require more than incremental progress; they demand fundamental reinvention. We need to de-materialize heavy processes and drive radical efficiencies across the entire global economy. Think about what’s happened in music, publishing, travel and taxi cabs. Entirely new, digital business models are replacing resource-intensive ones. The opportunities in the digital economy for both growth and sustainability are limitless.

— Michael Dell, From the article “How can businesses prepare for a world of 9 billion?”, by Michael Dell, published Feb. 20, 2015 at

Customers don’t care how much time something takes to build. They only care that it serves their needs.

— Eric Reis, From the book “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses”

I always feel that failure is nothing more than life’s way of nudging you and letting you know you’re off course.

— Sarah Blakely, Founder and President of Spanx, in the book “The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Share their Entrepreneurial Strategies for Success” by Renee and Don Martin (Vanguard Press, published 2010, pp. 156)

Failure is a prerequisite for great success. If you want to succeed faster, double your rate of failure.

— Brian Tracy, From the book “Great Little Book on Universal Laws of Success” (Successories Publishing, 1996, p. 73)

The line between failure and success is so fine, that we are often on the line and do not know it.

— Elbert Hubbard

Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it’s very hard to fail completely.

— Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO, in the book “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes our Lives,” by Steven Levy, published by Simon and Shuster (2011), p. 12

One of the things that really define an entrepreneur is you get punched in the stomach over and over and over again, and you just have to show up the next day and keep it going. It really is just persistence.

— Jen Bilik, Founder of stationary and gift company Knock Knock in the Inc. Magazine interview “The Way I Work,” October 2011, pp. 114-116

I was not an overnight superstar, but I was willing to work and willing to learn, and that paid off for me. Every change I made was a small step forward, and as long as I took more steps forward than backward I felt as though I was making progress. I learned that if things weren’t working for me, I had to change, and not expect others to change. But the single greatest lesson I learned was that it takes courage, not confidence, to build a business.

— Mary Christensen, Author and popular speaker on direct selling and network marketing, in the book “Be a Party Plan Superstar: Build a $100,000-a-Year Direct Selling Business from Home”

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to trust my instincts. Go with your gut and respect what your instincts tell you. I’ve seen the truth of this play out so many times in a lot of different situations. The truth is that while you can (and should) do all your research and due diligence and analyze all your options, in the end it comes down to taking a leap of faith and trusting yourself.

If your gut tells you that a deal is too risky or that your partners seem untrustworthy, pay attention, step back, and reflect. If you go ahead anyway, do so with extra protection, especially in terms of documentation.

— R. Donahue Peebles, Owner of the real estate development company The Peebles Corporation in his book The Peebles Principles, p. 112.

Whether you sell B-to-B or B-to-C, humans buy based on emotion.

— Brian Lewis, Vice President of Engine Ready, speaking in August 2011 at the InterACT! Virtual Conference and Expo Session “Pureflo Landing Page Case Study”

You have to be a detail oriented person while still seeing the big picture and have another picture that you can go to seamlessly if that picture gets lost.

The trick is not to develop something that’s years ahead of its time. A big payoff results from creating something that’s about 15 minutes ahead of its time. And you’ll hit the jackpot if you come up with something that’s about 5 minutes ahead. Like a surfer looking for the perfect wave, if you time it just right, you may be in for an exciting ride.

— Harvey Reese, From the book “How to License Your Million Dollar Idea: Everything You Need to Know to Make Money from Your New Product Idea,” p. 45

Timing is a critical aspect of any negotiation. Whenever you make an offer, give a deadline for acceptance. On the other hand, if someone tries to give you a deadline to accept a deal, simply say, ‘If that’s all the time I have, then the answer is no.

— Brian Tracy, From the book “Great Little Book on Universal Laws of Success,” p. 50

You can’t understand Google, unless you know that both Larry and Sergey were Montessori kids … It’s really ingrained in their personalities. To ask their own questions, do their own things. To disrespect authority. Do something because it makes sense, not because some authority figure told you. In Montessori school you go paint because you have something to express or you just want to do it that afternoon, not because the teacher said so. This is really baked into how Larry and Sergey approach problems. They’re always asking ‘Why should it be like that?’ It’s the way their brains were programmed early on

— Marissa Mayer, From the book “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes our Lives” by Steven Levy (Simon and Shuster, 2011), pp.121-122

Whether you have a product, a service or a brand, it is not easy to start a company and to survive and thrive in the modern world. In fact, you’ve got to do something radically different to make a mark today. Look at the most successful businesses of the past 20 years. Microsoft, Google or Apple, for example, shook up a sector by doing something that hadn’t ever been done and by continually innovating. They are now among the dominant forces.

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