10 Inspirational Quotes for Small Business Owners

Small Business Owners Favorite Quotes on Small Business Leadership

Gene Marks

A lot of people like to share inspiring quotes. And there are many about leadership that have inspired me. But why are they inspirational? Here are my reasons.

 “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

Rosalynn Carter
Former First Lady

Your strategy should be to push people past their comfort zone.

 “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil rights leader

You can’t put a gun to people’s heads. To lead you must persuade them that what you want your people to do is in everyone’s best interests.

 “Don’t tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”

George S. Patton Jr.
U.S. General

Don’t micromanage. Delegate. Give people the opportunity to succeed on their own. Allow them to grow from their mistakes.

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

Theodore Roosevelt
26th U.S. President

In the end, you’re the boss. That much must be clear.

 “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.”

Peter F. Drucker
Management expert and author

Making lofty statements or poetic promises sounds nice. But how will you accomplish your goals in the real world?

 “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Abraham Lincoln
16th U.S. President

Sure, you’re the boss. But don’t be a jerk about it.

 “There are no office hours for leaders.”

Cardinal James Gibbons
American Cardinal for the U.S. Catholic Church

You’re setting the example as a business owner and leader. Your employees will know when you’re slacking, trust me.

 “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Jedi Master

Effort is nice. But this isn’t the fourth grade. In the grown-up world people expect results, whether or not the force is with you.

 “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

You’re afraid. You’re wary. You’re skeptical. You lose sleep. You worry. Welcome to business ownership. Just don’t let anyone else know.

 “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan
Professional basketball player

You don’t succeed without failure. You can’t fail without trying something new. All great leaders know this.


Homer Simpson

Oh yes, you will look dumb. A lot. But that’s OK as long as you get results and you don’t take yourself too seriously.

Join writer and small business owner Gene Marks each Wednesday on the Small Biz Ahead podcast. You can submit a question for Gene to answer on the podcast.

17 Responses to "Small Business Owners Favorite Quotes on Small Business Leadership"
    • John Miramontes | June 17, 2021 at 3:36 pm

      Excellent! Thanks Please keep more coming…

      • Small Biz Ahead | June 21, 2021 at 9:02 am

        You’re welcome, John! We post new articles weekly!

    • Debra Navarro | June 4, 2021 at 1:24 pm

      “Don’t look for an example. BE the example.”

      I said this to an employee once to push them beyond mere acceptable results. The truth of that statement hit me square in the face as it applied to how I executed my business plans. I wrote those words down and stuck it on my bulletin board so I can remind myself and others that you don’t have to do what everyone has done before. Be a trailblazer and show what’s possible.

      • Small Biz Ahead | June 4, 2021 at 3:07 pm

        That’s great advice, Debra! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Paul Doster | June 3, 2021 at 9:14 pm

      Michael Jordan is spot on.
      I have failed many times as well and because of those failures our franchisees can prosper.
      …Not to try is failure!

      • Small Biz Ahead | June 4, 2021 at 11:31 am

        Thanks for the comment, Paul!

    • Beth Davis | June 3, 2021 at 9:42 am

      Great stuff, thanks for sharing!

      • Small Biz Ahead | June 3, 2021 at 3:21 pm

        You’re welcome, Beth!

    • Silvio Valencia | June 2, 2021 at 11:26 pm

      Excellent, thank you.

      • Small Biz Ahead | June 3, 2021 at 8:22 am

        You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • James Conklin | September 13, 2020 at 12:49 am

      No one plans to fail, they fail to plan. No one will succeed unless they have a well thought out plan, and a back up idea to be able and open minded enough to adjust on the fly. Never give up.

    • Jan Degenshein | September 3, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      This leadership quote is attributed to Alison V. Lee, CEO of Craftcast Productions LLC, a learning platform for creativity:

      “You cannot show people the light. You must be the light.”

    • Lisa Toon | May 13, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      I have this posted to see everyday. ” Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it” Maya Angelou

    • Angela Pineiro | May 9, 2019 at 9:56 am

      Good quotes, but not a single woman had anything worthwhile to say about leadership?
      I’ll start with this one by Rosalynn Carter:
      “A leader takes people where they want to go.
      A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

      • Elizabeth Larkin | May 9, 2019 at 1:29 pm

        Hi Angela,

        You’re absolutely right! We will add in some more quotes, and thank you the excellent contribution. As the editor, I should have noted this earlier.


    • HAL THOMAS | May 9, 2019 at 8:20 am

      Very good. Decided to post to of them to my FaceBook page.

      • Elizabeth Larkin | May 9, 2019 at 8:35 am

        Thank you for sharing this article! – Elizabeth

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