Running a startup or small company is full of difficult times. No matter how hard you try, sometimes it may not be enough to succeed. But this doesn’t mean you should give up! If the belief is there, then this can fuel you through those hard times and come out the other side ready to try again!

A good place to find inspiration is in the life experiences of some of the most successful people in history. They are all guaranteed to have failed multiple times before they hit the big time as successful entrepreneurs.

To try and spark that inspiration, we’ve put together a list of 51 amazing startup quotes from entrepreneurs who have made it through the difficult times and learned valuable lessons along the way. Use them to help guide you to success!

Enjoy these startup quotes

  • “If you tune it so that you have zero chance of failure, you usually also have zero chance of success. The key is to look at ways for when you get to your failure checkpoint, you know to stop.”

Reid Hoffman – Co-founder, LinkedIn

  • “When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.”

Josh James – CEO and Co-Founder, Omniture

  • “Starting a company is like getting married and having a kid.”

Matt Brezina – Co-Founder, XOBNI

  • “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.”

Mark Zuckerberg -Founder and CEO, Facebook

  • “Remain self-funded as long as possible.”

Garrett Camp – Co-founder, Uber, StumbleUpon, and Expa

  • “Openly share and talk to people about your idea. Use their lack of interest or doubt to fuel your motivation to make it happen.”

Todd Garland – Founder, BuySellAds

  • “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.|

Bill Gates – Founder and former CEO, Microsoft

  • “If you believe in something, work nights and weekends, it won’t feel like work.”

Kevin Rose – Founder, Digg

  • “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”

Drew Houston – Co-Founder and CEO, Dropbox

  • “No growth hack, brilliant marketing idea, or sales team can save you long-term if you don’t have a sufficiently good product.”

Sam Altman – President, Y Combinator and Co-Founder, Loopt

  • “Make your team feel respected, empowered and genuinely excited about the company’s mission.”

Tim Westergen – Founder, Pandora

  • “If you are working on a product that’s going to be consumer-facing, then feedback is invaluable. You should be out there being brave and talking to people and asking for feedback as much as possible.”

Emily Brooke – Co-founder, Blaze

  • “When people are placed in positions slightly above what they expect, they are apt to excel.”

Richard Branson – Virgin Group

  • “The product that twins is the one that bridges customers to the future, not the one that requires a giant leap.”

Aaron Levie – Co-Founder, Box

  • “Even if you don’t have the perfect idea to begin with, you can likely adapt.”

Victoria Ransom – Co-Founder, Wildfire Interactive

  • “In carrying out e-commerce, the most important thing is to keep doing what you are doing right now with passion, to keep it up.”

Jack Ma – Founder, Alibaba Group

  • “If you know too much before the start, then you will get overwhelmed. Come up with an original idea, and don’t copy because there will be no passion. You need that otherworldly passion. Just start.”

Jeni Britton Bauer – Founder, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

  • “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”

Mary Kay Ash – Founder, Mary Kay Cosmetics

  • “The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.”

Rob Kalin – Co-Founder, Etsy

  • “Starting a company extracts so much energy and conviction that not having a clear-cut goal and meaningful mission can hamper your success. This is why, at Virta, our mission was clearly defined: reverse early type-2 diabetes in 100 million people by 2025.”

Sami Inkinen – Co-founder, Virta Health

  • “Don’t let others convince you that the idea is good when your gut tells you it’s bad.”

Kevin Rose – Co-founder, Digg

  • “I’m always throwing out ideas, so it’s not creativity, It’s just volume.”

Ben Huh – Founder, Cheezburger Network

  • “Always deliver more than expected.”

Larry Page – Co-Founder, Google

  • “I find it hard to manage somebody’s work unless I have an intimate knowledge of how to do it myself. “

Justin Kan – Co-Founder, Justin.Tv

  • “Mistakes will not end your business. If you are nimble and willing to listen to constructive criticism you can excel by learning and evolving.”

Meridith Valiando Rojas – co-founder and CEO, DigiTour Media

  • “When in doubt, bootstrap. Using your own personal resources is the easiest way to start a business. You don’t have to convince investors about the merits of your idea. You just have to convince yourself.”

Ryan Holmes – Co-founder, Hootsuite

  • “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.”

Dave Thomas – Founder, Wendy’s

  • “If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough.”

Chris Dixon – Co-Founder, Hunch

  • “Ignore the hype of the startups that you see in the press. Mostly, it’s a pack of lies. Half of these startups will be dead in a year. So, focus on building your business so you can be the one left standing.”

Jules Pieri – Co-founder and CEO, The Grommet

  • “Make something people want” includes making a company that people want to work for.”

Still with us? Good. There are more startup quotes in here for you.

Sahil Lavingia – Founder, Gumroad

  • “User experience is everything. It always has been, but it’s undervalued and underinvested in. If you don’t know user-centered design, study it. Hire people who know it. Obsess over it. Live and breathe it. Get your whole company on board.”

Evan Williams – Co-Founder, Twitter

  • “As an entrepreneur, you have to be OK with failure. If you’re not failing, you’re likely not pushing yourself hard enough.”

Alexa von Tobel – Founder, LearnVest

  • When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts.

Larry Ellison – Co-Founder, Oracle

  • “Selling is not a pushy, winner-takes-all, macho act. It is an empathy-led, process-driven, and knowledge-intensive discipline. Because, in the end, people buy from people.”

Subroto Bagchi – Co-founder, Mindtree

  • “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

Jeff Bezos – Founder and CEO, Amazon

  • “The strategy is to first know what you don’t know, the tactic is to grind, and the value is to remember: there are plenty of places to innovate.”

David Friedberg – Founder, Weatherbill

  • “Follow the cream of the crop in your area of online expertise and learn from them. Network with them.”

Mark Forrester – Co-Founder, Woothemes

  • “The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.”

Marc Benioff – CEO, Salesforce

  • “When you are building a startup, it’s difficult. Particularly, a startup that is expanding at the rate of Tinder. You have to give 100%, and you have to be committed. Solving the problem has to be personal or else you’re going to disintegrate.”

Sean Rad – Co-founder, Tinder, Inc.

  • “Document everything. People are voracious for the products of productive people.”

Kevin Hale – Co-Founder, Wufoo

  • “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”

Drew Houston – Co-Founder and CEO, Dropbox

  • “The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.”

Marc Benioff – Founder, Salesforce

  • “If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.”

Brian Chesky – Co-founder, Airbnb

  • “Spread the word in a way that was natural and not spammy.”

Ade Olonoh – Co-Founder, Formspring

  • “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. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Steve Jobs – Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Apple

  • “Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.”

Anthony Volodkin – Founder, Hype Maching

  • “If you can offer a free tier that provides a lot of value, it will naturally help your product to spread much more rapidly.”

Melanie Perkins – Co-founder, Canva

  • “Friends don’t always make the bet of business partners.”

Chris Campbell – Co-founder, Wufoo

  • “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.”

Tony Hsieh – CEO, Zappos

  • “If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

Elon Musk – CEO, SpaceX and Tesla Motors

  • “Don’t get distracted. Never tell yourself that you need to be the biggest brand in the whole world. Start by working on what you need at the present moment and then what you need to do tomorrow. So, set yourself manageable targets.”

Jas Bagniewski – Co-Founder, Eve Sleep

  • “The cost of hiring someone bad is so much greater than missing out on someone good.”

Joe Kraus – Partner, Google Ventures

FAQ on startup quotes

What’s the big deal with startup quotes?

Well, you see, startup quotes are like little nuggets of wisdom. They’re snippets of advice, motivation, or insight from those who’ve been through the entrepreneurial grind.

They can be a source of business inspiration or a reminder that even the greats faced challenges. It’s like having a mini mentor in your pocket!

Why do entrepreneurs love sharing these quotes?

Ah, that’s a good one. Entrepreneurs are a passionate bunch. They thrive on innovation, challenges, and, of course, a bit of motivation.

Sharing entrepreneurial sayings is a way to connect with others on the journey, spread some positivity, and maybe even inspire the next big thing. It’s all about that entrepreneur mindset.

Can startup quotes really motivate someone?

Absolutely! Think about it. When you read a founder’s words of wisdom that resonates with your current situation, it can be a game-changer.

It’s like a shot of adrenaline or a pat on the back. It reminds you that others have faced similar startup challenges and come out on top. So, yeah, they can be pretty powerful.

Are all startup quotes from famous entrepreneurs?

Nope, not at all. While many are from well-known figures in the startup ecosystem, there are countless gems from lesser-known entrepreneurs, team members, or even folks outside the business world.

Sometimes, the most profound startup motivation comes from unexpected places.

How can I use these quotes in my daily life?

Great question! You can use them as daily affirmations, pop them on your office wall, or even share them on social media.

They’re a fantastic way to keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive and kicking. Plus, they can spark conversations and bring about new perspectives on business growth and innovation.

Do these quotes only apply to tech startups?

Nah, not at all. While there are specific tech startup quotes, the essence of most sayings is universal.

Whether you’re in tech, retail, services, or any other industry, the core principles of hustle, vision, and perseverance remain the same. It’s all about the journey and the startup lessons learned along the way.

What if I don’t agree with a particular quote?

And that’s totally okay! Everyone’s journey is unique. What resonates with one person might not click with another.

It’s all about finding those venture phrases and pieces of startup wisdom that align with your beliefs and experiences. Take what serves you and leave the rest.

Can I come up with my own startup quotes?

Of course! In fact, I’d encourage it. Your journey, your insights. Who knows, your words of wisdom might be the next big thing in the startup motivation world.

So, go on, share your thoughts, and add to the ever-growing list of entrepreneurial sayings.

Are there any books or resources on startup quotes?

Oh, for sure! There are tons of books, websites, and even apps dedicated to business inspiration and quotes.

Whether you’re looking for visionary quotes or practical advice on lean startup principles, there’s something out there for everyone. Dive in and find your favorites!

How often should I read these quotes?

As often as you like! Some folks like a daily dose of startup motivation, while others might turn to them during challenging times.

It’s all about what works for you. Remember, it’s not just about reading them; it’s about internalizing and applying the wisdom. Keep that entrepreneur mindset sharp!

Ending thoughts

When things get tough, sometimes all that you need is a little boost to get you through. A little glimpse of the success that could be waiting just around the corner for you if you just keep on going!

Think of these people as mentors, heed their words, and keep these startup quotes close at hand – you too can succeed as they have!

If you liked this article with startup quotes, you should check out the best business YouTube channels, this article on startup culture, and the positions in a startup company

We also wrote about similar topics like how it is working at a startup, startup buzzwords, and startup ideas for students.


I'm the manager behind the Upcut Studio team. I've been involved in content marketing for quite a few years helping startups grow.