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25 Business Motivational Quotes to Inspire You Today

Caroline Goldstein

Contributing Writer at Fundera
Caroline is a former Fundera staff writer and current freelance writer, specializing in small business and finance. She has an MFA in fiction from New York University. She loves finding creative ways to help entrepreneurs grow.
Editorial Note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone.

It’s lonely at the top. This may not be the most motivating quote to start out with, we know, but as a business owner—whether that business is a side hustle or a multi-location outfit that’s dozens of employees strong—you’ve probably found this sentiment to be true. Hopefully, you’ve developed a network of mentors, advisors, and fellow entrepreneurs to keep your morale high and your wheels turning. But it can’t hurt to heed a few business motivational quotes from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs as well, right? 

Right. So in this article, we’ve compiled a list of business motivational quotes from 25 of the most influential business leaders in the game, including CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, founders of major startups, thought leaders, and a few of our favorite entrepreneurial celebrities. Their advice runs the gamut from the importance of speaking up (especially if you’re a female entrepreneur), to seeking inspiration from unlikely places, to letting your entrepreneurial freak flag fly, and other crucial elements of success. 

Our hope is that a few of these business motivational quotes will speak to your particular predicament; or, more simply, that they’ll remind you of why you’re doing this crazy thing in the first place. Now let’s get inspired. 

25 Business Motivational Quotes To Get You Inspired

1. On getting started

“The greatest lesson that I learned in all of this is that you have to start. Start now, start here, start small, and keep it simple.”

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter

2. On the value of failure

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX; co-founder and CEO of Tesla

3. On the value of focusing on your customers

“You can spend your time on stage pleasing the heckler in the back, or you can devote it to the audience that came to hear you perform.”

Seth Godin, business author

4. On maintaining the right mindset

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

Oprah Winfrey

business motivational quotes

5. On creating your own rules

“I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world. I run my world.”

—Beyoncé

6. On the importance of thinking big (and being weird)

“If people around you don’t think what you’re doing is a bit strange, maybe it’s not strange enough.”

—Patrick Collison, co-founder and CEO of Stripe

7. On leadership

“The key difference between managers and leaders is that managers tell people what to do, while leaders inspire them to do it. Inspiration comes from three things: clarity of one’s vision, courage of their conviction, and the ability to effectively communicate both of those things.”

—Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn

8. On unwavering confidence

“Do every job you’re in like you’re going to do it for the rest of your life, and demonstrate that ownership of it.”

Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of GM

9. On prioritizing learning 

“The most important thing for any of us to be in our jobs is curious.”

—Ginni Rometty, chairman, president, and CEO of IBM

10. On prioritizing your time

“Realize that you won’t be able to bring the same focus to everything in the beginning. There won’t be enough people or enough hours in the day. So focus on the 20 percent that makes 80 percent of the difference.”

Marc Benioff, founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Salesforce

11. On wielding power for good

Companies, and by extension their management teams and their CEOs, have a moral obligation to try to be a force for good. I don’t think there’s any way that we can shirk that responsibility, and I don’t think there’s any way to fully stand away from the culture wars around us. You have to take a stand. That stand shouldn’t be a political one. But it should be one that is based on your values and your mission.”

Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal

business motivational quotes

12. On pushing past fear

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”

Marissa Mayer, former CEO of Yahoo!, co-founder of Lumi Labs

13. On tuning out detractors

“Bullies will attack your confidence, but you cannot let them kill your ambition.

—Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble

14. On what it means to be an executive

“Somebody asked me, ‘What’s the job of a CEO?’ and there’s a number of things a CEO does. What you mostly do is articulate the vision, develop the strategy, and hire people to fit the culture. If you do those three things, you basically have a company. And that company will hopefully be successful, if you have the right vision, the right strategy, and good people.”

Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb

15. On democratizing inspiration

“I go out and seek ideas from lower parts of company, maybe a new designer fresh out of school. Sometimes it’s good to see raw ideas at a basic level. I like to pull that out, put it in the spotlight, celebrate that ideas come from everywhere. There’s real value to show everyone in the company that you can make a difference. In many cases, things that happened off the grid have become a massive success.”

—Mark Parker, chairman, president, and CEO of Nike

business motivational quotes

16. On hiring nice people

“Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost to teamwork is too high.”

Reed Hastings, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Netflix

17. On experimentation and innovation

The most successful partnerships we’ve had have been with brands and marketers who are willing to take risks and be experimental. You have to feel a little bit uncomfortable to create something that people are going to remember. People who are sort of following an old, more traditional playbook or are still rigid in their approach are not going to be able to innovate with the pace of how quickly the culture is moving and changing.”

Audrey Gelman, co-founder and CEO of The Wing

18. On problem solving

“You can’t be afraid of the problem. Don’t be afraid of failure; don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Make sure you learn from each step; iterate, and stay as efficient as possible without being paralyzed by a difficult situation.”

Jon Oringer, founder and CEO of Shutterstock

19. On trusting your gut

“There are times in all of our lives when a reliance on gut or intuition just seems more appropriate—when a particular course of action just feels right. And interestingly, I’ve discovered it’s in facing life’s most important decisions that intuition seems the most indispensable to getting it right.”

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

20. On maintaining momentum

“The worst thing to do is get to a point where things aren’t … moving forward. To me, that’s the death of any company. You have got to do whatever you need to do in order to keep the engine going.”

—Payal Kadakia, founder and executive chairman of ClassPass

21. On hitting refresh 

“Knowing how to declutter and move the unimportant things out of the way has been really important for success. The things that made you successful in the past don’t necessarily make you successful in the future.“

Anthony Casalena, founder and CEO of Squarespace

22. On nurturing your creativity 

“Surround yourself with people who are doing interesting things, who are thinking interesting thoughts, who challenge you to be better, and who come from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences. That, combined with appropriate moments of ‘me’ time, provides the perfect breeding ground for great ideas. And whatever you do, don’t get hung up on what competitors are doing. Be aware of what’s going on in the industry, but don’t let it dictate your own creative process.”

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder and executive chairman of Reddit

23. On speaking up

“I didn’t learn to be quiet when I had an opinion. The reason they knew who I was is because I told them.”

—Ursula Burns, chairman and former CEO of Xerox

24. On a positive mental attitude 

“Live your life as if everything is rigged in your favor.”

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post

business motivational quotes

25. On being fearless

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

—Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

What You Can Learn From These 25 Business Motivational Quotes

We hope this collection of business motivational quotes has you seeing the light at the end of the tunnel—so print them out, tack them to the wall above your desk, and make them your mantras. Because although it may seem lonely at the top, in reality, you’re part of a huge ecosystem of fellow entrepreneurs—whether they’re the storeowner next door or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company—who’ve overcome exactly the same issues you’re facing now. And if they can do it, why can’t you?

Caroline Goldstein

Contributing Writer at Fundera
Caroline is a former Fundera staff writer and current freelance writer, specializing in small business and finance. She has an MFA in fiction from New York University. She loves finding creative ways to help entrepreneurs grow.

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