Business quotes are one of the most basic tools in every content marketer’s kit. They are audience-friendly and easily turned into images and videos.
Quotes are succinct, focused messages that touch people on an emotional level and are inspiring, educational, or at least entertaining. Whether you love them or hate them, they are one of the most popular types of social media content.
They are also incredibly versatile. Business quotes are valuable pearls of wisdom. So it stands to reason that there are endless ways to add “sizzle” to your content by integrating quotes.
I use them in both online and traditional content, including:
- Social media posts (usually as images)
- Blog posts
- Website pages
- Business cards
- Power point presentations
- Print materials
- Explainer videos
- And more…
Not surprisingly, I have I accumulated quite a collection of business quotes over the years. Some are direct observations and snippets of advice from respected leaders. But a good portion are more philosophical reflections on concepts like success and failure.
I can say truthfully that I love them all!
Here are 187 of my personal favourites. In case you’re wondering how I came up with such a random number… 187 represents the point at which I grew weary of writing out quotes. If I had more time and patience, I could have given you hundreds more!
I suppose it would have been kind to present them in neat little categories – but where’s the fun in that? I worked hard to dig up all these business quotes. Surely you can invest a little time into sorting them for your own purposes.
I DID break them up a bit, because there is no way you are going to read 187 business quotes and still be able to focus. So I went for chunks of 25 – with a few left over – because 187 doesn’t divide very well. Sorry about that.
Ready. Set. Go…
- “If you can’t explain it to a 6-year old, you don’t know it yourself.” – Albert Einstein
- “Express yourself. Have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee
- “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”— C.S.Lewis
- “If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.” – Bill Gates
- “Busy people multi-task. Productive people focus.” – Larry Kim (note that you can check out the source of this quote here)
- “If you don’t play, you can’t win.” — Judith McNaught
- “Change before you have to.” – Jack Welch
- “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the tiny voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow”.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
- “Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” —Mahatma Ghandi
- “Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.”— Janis Joplin
- “Don’t settle. Don’t read crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.” — Chris Brogan
- “You’re not real if you don’t suck at something.” – Marsha Collier
- “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”— Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
- “The secret of work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” — Pearl Buck
- “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” — Zig Ziglar
- “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” — Robert T. Kiyosaki
- “A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances.” – B.F. Skinner
- “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”—Ralph Nader
- “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”—Alice Walker
- “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”—Napoleon Hill
- “Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”—Iron Man
- “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki
- “If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough.”—Vicki Robin
- “Don’t be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson
Take a breath… Pause to pick a few favourites from the quotes you’ve read so far.
When you’re ready, let’s dive into the business quotes again. I promise there are lots of REALLY good ones yet to come…
- “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” –Dwight Eisenhower
- “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank
- “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
- “It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.” –Lena Horne
- “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
- “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
- “A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.” – Jonathan Swift
- “Money is a terrible master but a wonderful servant.” – P.T. Barnum
- “There is no such thing as a self-made person. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.” – George Shinn
- “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie
- “Politeness is the poison of collaboration.” – Edwin Land
- “Postponement is the sincerest form of rejection.” – Robert Half
- “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” – Peter Drucker
- “Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” – Maya Angelou
- “Make improvements, not excuses. Seek respect, not attention.” – Roy T. Bennett
- “Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.” – Gertrude Stein
- “Frequent small steps beat occasional big leaps every time.” – Jeff Goins
- “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” – Henry Ford
- “Stress is an alarm clock that lets you know you’re attached to something not true for you.” – Byron Katie
- “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” –Frederick Douglass
- “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
- “Life is not about sitting at home in front of the TV, waiting for your life to begin. Get out there and take some chances.” – Queen Latifah
- “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you always lose out to a team.” – Reid Hoffman
- “The past is a place of learning, not a place of living.” – Roy T. Bennett
- “Life doesn’t give us purpose; we give life purpose.” – The Flash
You may want to start cutting and pasting business quotes to create folders and files.
Organization is everything! So, if you want to make the most of all these business quotes, you should probably start making files, based on how you might use them. For example, I have a file with quotes by women. I have one that is exclusively fictional characters. And another dedicated to Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein (Maya and Albert rock! They seemingly walked though their days just saying and doing brilliant things).
You might also want to start differentiating between success quotes and failure quotes. Quotes about how to deal with (and move past) failure are especially popular on social media. I guess we can all relate to the idea of failing!
Before you get distracted and start googling “failure quotes”, please continue reading…
- “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” – Jim Rohn
- “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” – Erma Bombeck
- “You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream.” – C.S. Lewis
- “Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” – Dr. Lawrence J. Peter
- “Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.” – Ann Handley
- “You have to do what you dream of doing, even while you are afraid.” – Adrianna Huffington
- “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
- “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” – Henry Winkler
- “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” – Simone Weil
- “The single greatest people skill is a highly developed and authentic interest in the other person.” – Bob Burg
- “The question isn’t who is going to let me. It’s who is going to stop me?” – Ayn Rand
- “Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” – Betsy Johnson
- “If you see a bandwagon, it’s too late.” – James Goldsmith
- “The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend feeling sorry for themselves.” – Barbara Corcoran
- “Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.”—Seth Godin
- “When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.” — Walter Payton
- “Believe you can and you are halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
- “Choose to be optimistic. It feels better.” – Dalai Lama XIV
- “No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate!” – Jon Bon Jovi
- “Anything that is measured, and watched, improves.” – Bob Parsons
- “To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious, and doesn’t mind leading.” – Amy Poehlar
- “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
- “You can’t outsource relationship building.” – Scott Stratten
- “I’m all for conversations, but you need to have a message.” – Renee Blodgett
- “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.” – Truman Capote
Remember that brilliant business quotes don’t always have to be directly about business!
Some of my favourite business quotes apply as much to the personal as to the professional. Because it’s all a big, intertwined mess, isn’t it? Work. Life. Happiness. Success.
When you’re looking for shareable bites of wisdom, don’t limit yourself to business leaders or online influencers. I don’t. In fact, as I have mentioned already, I don’t even limit myself to real people…
- “Sometimes a feeling is all we humans have to go on.” – Captain Kirk
- “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Sir Winston Churchill
- “The most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.” – Stephen King
- “Sometimes we have to go deep inside ourselves to solve our problems.” – Patrick Star from SpongeBob SquarePants
- “Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it.” – Disney’s Rapunzel
- “Today is a good day to try.” – Disney’s Quasimodo
- “The origin of every excuse is the failure to do something.” – Andy Anderson
- “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.” – Mary Poppins
- “Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great?” – Jimmy Johnson
- “Even miracles take a little time.” – Cinderella’s God-Mother
- “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking any risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg
- “Your brand isn’t exactly about you. It’s about how others experience you.” – Mark W.Schaeffer
- “DO or DO NOT. There is no try.” – Yoda
- “All possibilities are on the other side of YES. You have to have a YES mindset to get to greatness.” – John C. Maxwell
- “A winner is someone who can look in the mirror at the end of the day and say, in pursuit of my goals and dreams, I gave my best.” – Dick Vitale
- “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Henry Ford
- “Don’t look back and ask “why?”. Look ahead and ask “why not?”.” – Neil Patel
- “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
- “When all think alike, then no one is thinking.” – Walter Lippman
- “The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.” – Walt Disney
- “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon
- “Different is better than better.” – Sally Hogshead
- “Stay true to yourself. People respond to authenticity.” – Barbra Streisand
- “The difference between try and triumph is just a little “UMPH”! – Marvin Phillips
- “Agility, within and of itself, is a strategy.” – Pearl Zhu
Focus on collecting quotes that match with the “vibe” of your personal and professional brand.
My authentic “voice” is casual, with a liberal dose of humour and a light sprinkling of sarcasm. So I don’t have a lot of those really deep, soul-searching types of quotes.
If you’re reading through these business quotes but NOT finding many that resonate with you, it is probably because your “vibe” is very different than mine.
Think about the quotes you like (and can imagine sharing with your ideal audience). This is an important exercise because it can help you figure out who you ARE – and who you ARE NOT – as a brand.
While you are pondering, keep reading. (And keep organizing the business quotes into files that you can grow over time) …
- “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” – Bill Bradley
- “A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell
- “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t.” — Peter Drucker
- “Comfort is a well-worn pair of shoes, seconds before the strap breaks.” – Connie Dedona, Boogie Fever
- “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
- “Confidence isn’t a function of how many affirmations you repeat each morning – but in how many steps you take in the path laid out in front of you.” – Amy Porterfield
- “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
- “The customer’s perception is your reality.” – Katie Zabriskie
- “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
- “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” – Dale Carnegie
- “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” – Dolly Parton
- “You always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” – General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
- “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” – Walt Disney
- “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss
- “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings
- “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” – Albert Einstein
- “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Don’t let temporary setbacks become permanent excuses.” – Jamie Dimon
- “Expect the unexpected and, whenever possible, BE the unexpected.” Lynda Barry
- “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
- “Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re going to fail at everything.” – Marilyn Monroe
- “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott
- “Things don’t turn up in the world until somebody turns them up.” – James Garfield
- “Retention is the game. The game in business is not how many customers you can get, it’s how many you can keep.” – Gary Veynerchuk
Ponder the words of wisdom you may have in your own repertoire.
Now that you are knee-deep in business quotes, you may want to start thinking about your own sage words of advice:
- Look at the content of your blog posts (If you don’t have a blog – start one!)
- Examine your social media posts and comments (Have you said anything that is quote-worthy?)
- Review your website content (If you don’t have a website – shame on you! Social media does NOT replace the need for a website)
- And really THINK about your own opinions. What do YOU think it takes to succeed? How do YOU move past failures and setbacks? What attributes do YOU value most?
Don’t under-estimate yourself! Sharing your own business quotes can be a wonderful way to highlight your expertise and enhance your brand!
Now… back to my endless list of business quotes …
- “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
- “Name the fears that are holding you back. It’s the equivalent of flooding the Bogeyman with light.” – Gina Greenlee
- “Here is the simple but powerful rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell
- “In business, successful people reach goals, not quotas.” – Stephen Jermyn
- “The hardest habit to develop is to win. The people who develop this habit never take winning for granted, they never feel entitled to victory.” – Mike Krzyewski
- “Sometimes it takes a good fall to really know where you stand.” – Hailey Williams
- “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” – William Feather
- “Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of travelling.” – Margaret Lee Runbeck
- “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.” – Herman Cain
- “Be happy with what you have. Be excited about what you want.” – Alan Cohen
- “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work.” – Ann Landers
- “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Henry Ford
- “Passion without a plan is a hobby.” – Mark W. Schaefer
- “Ideas in secret die. They need light and air or they starve to death.” – Seth Godin
- “Perfection is highly over-rated. Real learning and growth come with imperfection.” – Felicia Watlington
- “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” – Indira Ghandi
- “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” – Brene Brown
- “When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts.” – Larry Ellison
- “People who refer to out-of-the-box see the box. People who don’t know the box even exists are the innovative thinkers.” – Lisa Goldenberg
- “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody is going to know if you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey
- “Someday is not a day of the week.” – Janet Dailey
- “You can’t change your destination overnight, but you CAN change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn
- “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” – John Steinbeck
- “Make each day your masterpiece.” – John Wooden
- “Find what brings you joy and go there.” – Jan Phillips
Sick of reading – and thinking about – business quotes?
I understand. This is a LONG list of quotes. At this point, you may be sick of the whole article and wish you had watched another TED Talk instead.
Our attention spans have become ridiculously short. So congratulations for sticking it out this far. And if you haven’t bothered to start putting your favourite business quotes into files – I forgive you. But I still think it’s a good idea!
You’re on the final lap. The finish line is almost in sight! So hang in there – and think of all the ways you can re-purpose this ridiculously rich collection of business quotes…
- “You will never be completely ready. Start from where you are.” – C.J. Hayden
- “Be creative while inventing ideas, but disciplined while implementing them.” – Amit Kalantri
- “If you always do what pleases you, at least one person is happy.” – Katherine Hepburn
- “Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.” – Kenichi Ohmae
- “When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.” – A.W. Tozer
- “It’s not a sin to get knocked down. It’s a sin to stay down.” – Linley Wartenberg
- “Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.” – Zen Proverb
- “If you’re creating anything at all, it’s really dangerous to care about what people think.” – Kristen Wiig
- “Nothing I say this day will teach me anything, so if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” – Larry King
- “You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That’s assault, not leadership.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
- “Apply yourself. Get all the education you can. But then, by God, DO SOMETHING. Don’t just stand there. Make it happen.” – Lee Iacocca
- “Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou
- “The road to success is always under construction.” – Lily Tomlin
- “It’s surprising how much you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” – Abraham Lincoln
- ”Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Some of us have speeds we never use.” Linus from The Peanuts
- “If people are doubting how far you’ll go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore.” – Michele Ruiz
- “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.” – Mae West
- “Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen.” – Bradley Whitford
- “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe
- “Focus on what you can control.” – Michelle Obama
- “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” – Mario Andretti
- “When no one around you seems to measure up, it’s time to check your yardstick.” – Bill Lemley
- “It’s better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation.” – Herman Melville
- “There’s no good idea that cannot be improved on.” – Michael Eisner
- “Excellence I can strive for; perfection is God’s business.” – Michael J. Fox
There are only 12 more!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, 187 is a very difficult number to divide. (I am a Digital Marketing Strategist, NOT a mathematician.)
187 is also a BIG number of business quotes, so “Congratulations” for getting to the last dozen! And an extra level of congrats to those who started quote files AND those who began to ponder their authentic voice.
- “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan
- “Winning provides happiness. Losing provides wisdom.” – Neil Patel
- “The true entrepreneur is a do-er not a dreamer.” – Nolan Bushnell
- “The essential question is not “how busy are you?” but “what are you busy at?”. – Oprah Winfrey
- “The path of least resistance will eventually lead to no path at all.” – Kenneth Holland
- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso
- “On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson
- “If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.” – Charles Kettering
- “The best revenge is massive success.” – Frank Sinatra
- “When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.” – Theodore Roosevelt
- “Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller
- “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved away the dessert cart.” – Erma Bombeck
Business quotes are not the have-all, end-all of content options. In fact, there is nothing I find more distasteful than social media feeds dedicated to nothing but the endless distribution of quotes!
But they are useful. Popular. And versatile.
I hope that having this giant list saves you a bit of time (because searching for quotes is a drag). More than that, I hope reading all of these business quotes helps you think about bigger things, like the type of content you create, and the authentic voice you want to express through your content.
Best of luck in all that you do!