197 quotes by 12 prosperous and famous entrepreneurs

The biggest and famous entrepreneurs have a long history of entrepreneurship under their belts. Through determination, patience, creativity and hard work, some have achieved global prosperity, building colossal empires along the way. And they are all endowed with unquestionable experience. Over the course of speeches, writings and interviews, these big entrepreneurs share the immense value of the lessons they acquired through experience. In this article, I am offering 197 quotes from some of the biggest entrepreneurs from the past and the present. These words embody the singular journey, both inspiring and rich in teaching that only dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneurs can tell us about.

The biggest leaders at the helm of the biggest corporations often worked for years before scaling the summits. They have precious knowledge to teach us when it comes to personal motivation, leadership, human resource management, sales strategies or management systems. Their advice and experience are an infinite well of improvement on which those of us who know how to listen can draw.

From Elon Musk (Space X, Tesla and Paypal) to Soichiro Honda (Honda), not forgetting Bill Gates (Microsoft), Walt Disney (Walt Disney Company), Ingvar Kamprad (Ikea), Coco Chanel (Chanel), Philip Knight (Nike), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Ray Kroc (McDonald’s), Steve Jobs (Apple), Richard Branson (Virgin) or Xavier Niel (Free), in this article you will find the best quotes from the 12 of the biggest, most prosperous and famous entrepreneurs in the world.

1. Quotes from Elon Musk – Space X, Tesla Motors and Paypal

197 quotes by 12 prosperous and famous entrepreneurs

  • “People should pursue what they are passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else.”
  • “Many things are improbable, only a few are impossible.”
  • “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
  • “I don’t create companies for the sake of creating companies, but to get things done.”
  • “I think that’s an important thing to do, to really pay attention to negative feedback, and solicit it, particularly from friends.  This may sound like simple advice, but hardly anyone does that, and it’s incredibly helpful.”
  • “When I was in college, I wanted to be involved in things that would change the world. Now I am.”
  • “Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.”
  • “If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion.”
  • “It’s OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket.”
  • “I could either watch it happen or be part of it.”
  • What makes innovative thinking happen? I think it’s really a mindset. You have to decide.”
  • Talent is extremely important. It’s like a sports team, the team that has the best individual player will often win, but then there’s a multiplier from how those players work together and the strategy they employ.”
  • “It is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.”
  • “I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.”
  • “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.”
  • “Life is too short for long-term grudges.”
  • “If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic – being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago.”

2. Quotes from Bill Gates – Microsoft

  • “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job.  Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
  • “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
  • “Success is a lousy teacher. It makes smart people think they can’t lose.”
  • “My ambition has always been to make dreams achievable.”
  • “If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.”
  • “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
  • “People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they?”
  • “I failed in some subjects in exam, but my friend passed in all.  Now he is an engineer in Microsoft and I am the owner of Microsoft.”
  • “Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.”
  • “The best advertising is a satisfied customer.”
  • “We tell our staff that if no-one laughs at least once at your ideas, then you probably aren’t being creative enough.”
  • “’I don’t know’ has become ‘I don’t know yet’.”
  • “Life is not fair – get used to it!”
  • “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s more important to draw lessons from failure.”
  • “Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”
  • “If you can’t make it good,at least make it look good.”
  • “Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
  • “If you are born poor it’s not your mistake, but if you die poor it’s your mistake.”
  • “Patience is a key element of success.”
  • “To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”

3. Quotes from Walt Disney – Walt Disney Company

197 quotes by 12 prosperous and famous entrepreneurs

  • “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
  • “Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things.”
  • “That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.”
  • “Oh yes, the past can hurt.  But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.”
  • “Your children don’t expect you to be perfect. They simply need you to believe in them.”
  • “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
  • To realize something really extraordinary, you have to begin by dreaming about it.  Then, wake up calmly and go to the end of your dream.”
  • “Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.”
  • “The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.”
  • “Believe in your dreams no matter how impossible they seem.”
  • “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”
  • “Laughter is no enemy to learning.”
  •  “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.”  “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.”
  • “Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”
  • “Dream your life in colour, this is the secret of happiness.”
  • “If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.”
  • “Always fight for quality, whether giving or receiving.”
  • “To succeed, work hard, never give up and above all cherish a magnificent obsession.”
  • “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

4. Quotes from Ingvar Kamprad – Ikea

  • “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement.  The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.”
  • “Making mistakes is the privilege of the active — of those who can correct their mistakes and put them right. It is always the mediocre people who are negative, who spend their time proving that they were not wrong.”
  • “The word impossible has been and must remain deleted from our dictionary.”
  • “What is good for our customers is also in the long run good for us.”
  • “Time is your most important resource. You can do so much in ten minutes. Ten minutes; once gone is gone for good.”  Divide your life into 10-minute units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activity.”
  • “I’m not afraid of turning 80 and I have lots of things to do. I don’t have time for dying.”
  • “To design a desk which may cost $1,000 is easy for a furniture designer, but to design a functional and good desk which shall cost $50 can only be done by the very best.”
  • “A better everyday life means getting away from status and conventions — being freer and more at ease as human beings.”
  • “I could have an office all to myself but since my collaborators don’t have one, then I too am contented to have a desk in a shared room.”
  • “How the hell can I ask people who work for me to travel cheaply if I travel in luxury?”
  • “The IKEA spirit is strong and living reality. Simplicity in our behaviour gives us strength. Simplicity and humbleness characterise us in our relations with others, our suppliers and our customers.”

5. Quotes from Coco Chanel – Chanel

197 quotes by 12 prosperous and famous entrepreneurs

  • “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”
  • “Fashion changes, but style endures.”
  • “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”
  • “Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.”
  • “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.”
  • “The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.”
  • “My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.”
  • “Simplicity is the key note of all true elegance.”
  • “There are people who are rich and people who have money. They are not the same people.”
  • “Money for me has only one sound: liberty.”
  • “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”
  • “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”
  • “Dress shabbily, they notice the dress. Dress impeccable, they notice the woman.”
  • “A fashion that does not reach the streets is not fashion.”
  • “A woman needs independence, not equality. In most cases, equality is a step down.”
  • “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
  • “Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.”
  • “Nothing makes a woman look so old as desperately trying to look young.”
  • “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. The fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
  • “A dress made right should allow one to walk, to dance, even to ride horseback.”
  • “The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.”
  • “A woman should wear perfume wherever she wants to be kissed.”
  • “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.”

6. Quotes from Philip Knight – Nike

  • “The cowards never started, and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen.”
  • “No matter the sport – no matter the human endeavour, really – total effort will win people’s hearts.”
  • “Sometimes you have to give up.  Sometimes knowing when to give up, when to try something else, is genius. Giving up doesn’t mean stopping. Don’t ever stop.”
  • “Like books, sports give people a sense of having lived other lives, of taking part in other people’s victories. And defeats. When sports are at their best, the spirit of the fan merges with the spirit of the athlete.”
  • “On New Year’s Eve 1977, I felt like there was a deep crack in the base of my existence. My life was centred around athletics, my company was centred around athletics, the relationship with my father was centred around athletics, but my two sons did not want to have anything to do with athletics.”
  • “Life is growth. Business is growth. You grow or you die.”
  • “Business is no more about making money than the human body is about making blood. Yes you need to make the stuff, but only to serve your higher aims.”
  • “The single easiest way to find out how you feel about someone. Say goodbye.”
  • “You  measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you?”
  • “I’d like to warn the best of them, the iconoclasts, the innovators, the rebels, that they will always have a bull’s-eye on their backs. The bigger they get, the bigger the bull’s-eye.”
  • “More than a product, we were trying to sell an idea – a spirit.”

7. Quotes from Howard Schultz – Starbucks

  • “Sometimes you have to create the thing you want to be part of.”
  • “You can’t expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don’t exceed your employee’s expectations of management.”
  • “Whatever you do, don’t play it safe. Don’t do things the way they’ve always been done. Don’t try to fit the system. If you do what’s expected of you, you’ll never accomplish more than others expect.”
  • “What counts is the number 1. One cup, one customer, one partner. One experience at a time.”
  • “Success is best when it’s shared.”
  • “Believe in your dreams and dream big. You have to be authentic, you have to be true, and you have to believe in your heart that this is going to work.”
  • “In times of adversity and change, we really discover who we are and what we’re made of.”
  • “I believe life is a series of near misses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all, it’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see and pursuing that vision.”
  • “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.”
  • “”Business leaders cannot be bystanders.”
  • “Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is on the most important characteristic, which is trust.”
  • “I can’t imagine a day without coffee. I can’t imagine!”
  • “Starbucks provides much more than the best cup of coffee.”

8. Quotes from Ray Kroc – McDonald’s

  • “The more I help others to succeed, the more I succeed.”
  • “You’ll learn more about a road by travelling it than by consulting all the maps in the world.”
  • “If you think training is expensive, think how much ignorance costs.”
  • “If two managers in the same company have the same ideas, one of them is useless.”
  • “Adversity can strengthen you if you have the will to grind it out.”
  • “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”
  • “Nothing in the world can take the place of good old persistence. Persistence and determination alone are all powerful.”
  • “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”
  • “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
  • “None of us is as good as all of us.”
  • “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.”
  • “The key to success is being in the right place at the right time, recognising that you are there, and taking action.”
  • To be successful, you must be daring, be first and be different.”
  • “Look after the customer and the business will take care of itself.”
  • “There’s almost nothing you can’t accomplish if you set your mind to it.”
  • “It’s easy to have principles when you’re rich. The important thing is to have principles when you’re poor.”
  • “It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun.”

9. Quotes from Steve Jobs – Apple

197 quotes by 12 prosperous and famous entrepreneurs

  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
  • “If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
  • “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.”
  • “It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy.”
  • “Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.”
  • “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right.”
  • “Be insatiable. Be crazy.”
  • “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice
  • “Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the result of other people’s thinking.”
  • “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
  • “If you look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”
  • “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
  • “Think different.”
  • “I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.”
  • “At the end of the day, your goals and accomplishments are never about you. It’s about the contribution you make to the world.”
  • “You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
  • “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.”
  • “Don’t try to do everything. Do one thing well.”

10. Quotes from Richard Branson – Virgin

  • “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
  • Happiness is the secret ingredient for successful businesses. If you have a happy company it will be invincible.”
  • “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.”
  • “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
  • “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
  • “You’ve got to take risks if you’re going to succeed. I would much rather ask forgiveness than permission.”
  • “Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.”
  • “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
  • “I have enjoyed life a lot more by saying “Yes” than by saying “No”.”
  • “You never know with these things when you’re trying something new what can happen. It’s all experimental.”
  • “If you can run one business well, you can run any business well.”
  • “If I’m setting up a new business I’ll spend three or four months learning everything there is about that business, everything there is about that subject and then I will find good people to run it on a daily basis.”
  • “The line is slim between genius and insanity and between determination and stubbornness.”
  • “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
  • “Whatever your goal you will never succeed unless you let go of your fears and fly.”
  • “If you don’t have time for the small things, you won’t have time for the big things.”
  • “Engage your emotions at work. Your instincts and emotions are there to help you.”

11. Quotes from Xavier Niel – Free

  • “I am an entrepreneur in order to not depend on others.”
  • “Life as a leader is a succession of bad news. If you remember all your failures, you’ll never make it.”
  • “Too often we apologise for being successful, for aiming high and having ambition: move forward and be deaf to personal judgements from other people. You’re going to attract jealousy… but you will also attract esteem and respect, and then you can go on to inspire other people to follow the same path.”
  • “You can break the codes in a sector and do what nobody else dared to do. Innovating is first and foremost a state of mind. When Marc Simoncini created Meetic, nobody imagined that they could meet their husband or wife on the Internet. But do you know any matchmaking agencies that aren’t on the Internet now?”
  • “The sacrifices an entrepreneur has to make are sometimes important, but they are no bigger on a small project than on a big one. Ambition feeds innovation: aim high, the worst that can happen is it works!”
  • “With a rock and roll spirit and audacity you will see market opportunities and attract projects and talent. Victories are rarely the fruit of solitary work; victories are won through the alchemy of a complementary and solid team.”
  • “In the old days bosses were old men in grey suits who were very boring, but you have the right to remain yourself to succeed. My friend Jacques-Antoine Granjon, the head of Vente-Privée.com, has long hair and drives a raspberry coloured Bentley. Could you be as cool as he is?”
  • “You’re going to think I’m odious, but I always knew I would make money […] and that I wouldn’t be afraid to lose it all tomorrow and start from scratch. It doesn’t stress me out.”

12. Quotes from Soichiro Honda – Honda

  • “Many people dream of success. To me success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents 1% of your work which results only from the 99% that is called failure.”
  • “The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred.”
  • “We only have one future, and it will be made of our dreams, if we have the courage to challenge convention.”
  • “Enjoying your work is essential. If your work becomes an expression of your own ideas, you will surely enjoy it.”
  • “The day I stop dreaming is the day I die.”
  • “Man is not interesting without some imperfection.”
  • “Real happiness lies in the completion of work using your own brain and skills.”

What about you, do you know any other quotes from entrepreneurs that spoke to you or helped you in some way? Share them in the comments so we can all get some extra inspiration!

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