Running a business, and in particular, a startup can be really challenging but also tremendously rewarding. Starting up a new company can be a really exciting experience, and there are many examples of startups that have come to become extremely successful quickly thanks to the power of the internet and a more digitized world.
Below, we will take a closer look at some of the best quotes about startups from influential individuals and some of the most well-known entrepreneurs and business people. These quotes can work as inspiration for everyone who is running a startup, or share valuable pieces of information about running a startup as well as adapting your mindset and thoughtprocess to increase your chances of success.
Best quotes about startups
1. “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.”
2. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
3. “We have a “strategic” plan its called doing things.”
4. “Make mistakes faster.”
5. “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
6. “Stay hungry. And bootstrap.”
7. “Learn early. Learn often.”
8. “We are our choices. Build yourself a great story.”
9. “Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.”
10. “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”
11. “Fortunes are built during the down market and collected in the up market.”
12. “Hard work works harder than luck!”
13. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
– Winston Churchill
14. “Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph: a beginning, a struggle and a victory.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
15. “You don’t build a business, you build people, then people build the business.”
16. “Don’t be afraid to assert yourself, have confidence in your abilities, and don’t let the bastards get you down.”
17. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
18. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”
– Scott Belsky
19. “We are currently not planning on conquering the world.”
20. “Always look for the fool in the deal. If you don’t find one, it’s you.”
21. “Get big quietly, so you don’t tip off potential competitors.”
– Chris Dixon
22. “It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.
23. “An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.”
24. “I don’t think an economic slump will hurt good ideas.”
25. “The best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch.”
26. “Every day that we spent not improving our products was a wasted day.”
27. “Stay self-funded as long as possible.”
28. “The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.”
29. “When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say ‘wow, that was an adventure,’ not ‘wow, I sure felt safe.”
30. “Turn a perceived risk into an asset.”
31. “Anything that is measured and watched, improves.”
32. “No more romanticizing about how cool it is to be an entrepreneur. It’s a struggle to save your company’s life – and your own skin – every day of the week.”
33. “The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.”
34. “See things in the present, even if they are in the future.”
35. “If you’re going to put your product in beta – put your business model in beta with it.”
36. “You can’t make anything viral, but you can make something good.”
37. “It’s more effective to do something valuable than to hope a logo or name will say it for you.”
38. “Don’t worry about funding if you don’t need it. Today it’s cheaper to start a business than ever.”
39. “Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.”
40. “Data beats emotions.”
41. “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”
42. “You don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.”
43. “A ‘startup’ is a company that is confused about 1. What its product is. 2. Who its customers are. 3. How to make money.”
44. “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
45. “All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.”
46. “Before dreaming about the future or making plans, you need to articulate what you already have going for you – as entrepreneurs do.”
47. “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”
48. “The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.”
49. “I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars — I look for 1-foot bars that I can step over.”
50. “In the end, a vision without the ability to execute it is probably a hallucination.”
51. “Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things differently from everybody else.”
52. “As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.”
53. “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.”
54. “Behold the turtle, he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”
55. “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.”
56. “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.”
57. “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”
58. “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.”
59. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
60. “A person who is quietly confident makes the best leader.”
– Fred Wilson
61. “We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.”
– Pete Cashmore
62. “I like to pride myself on thinking pretty long term, but not that long term.”
– Mark Zuckerberg
63. “Always deliver more than expected.”
– Larry Page
64. “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
65. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.”
– Richard Branson
66. “I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.”
– Bill Gates
67. “Even if you don’t have the perfect idea to begin with, you can likely adapt.”
– Victoria Ransom
68. “High expectations are the key to everything.”
– Sam Walton
69. “Don’t take too much advice. Most people who have a lot of advice to give — with a few exceptions — generalize whatever they did. Don’t over-analyze everything. I myself have been guilty of over-thinking problems. Just build things and find out if they work.”
– Ben Silbermann,
70. “You just have to pay attention to what people need and what has not been done.”
– Russell Simmons
71. “You jump off a cliff and you assemble an airplane on the way down.”
– Reid Hoffman
72. “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”
– Oprah Winfrey
73. “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”
– Harland Sanders
74. “So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.”
– Caterina Fake
75. “Trust your instincts.”
– Estee Lauder
76. “There are lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world.”
77. “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”
78. “Theory is splendid but until put into practice, it is valueless.”
– James Cash Penney
79. “Sustaining a successful business is a hell of a lot of work, and staying hungry is half the battle.”
-Wendy Tan White
80. “If you define yourself by how you differ from the competition, you’re probably in trouble.”
– Omar Hamoui
81. “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
– Steve Jobs
82. “Get a mentor in the applicable field if you’re at all unsure of what you’re looking for.”
– Kyle Bragger
83. “An invention that is quickly accepted will turn out to be a rather trivial alteration of something that has already existed.”
84. “Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations.”
– Tim O’Reilly
85. “If you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, it’s too large.”
– Jeff Bezos
86. “Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.”
– Jack Dorsey
87. “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.”
– Ingvar Kamprad
88. “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
89. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
90. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”
91. “You should never take more than you give.”
92. “That’s the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up.”
93. “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”
94. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
95. “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
96. “It’s almost always harder to raise capital than you thought it would be, and it always takes longer. So plan for that.”
97. “Any time is a good time to start a company.”
98. “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
101. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
102. “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”
103. “Projections are just bullshit. They’re just guesses.”
104. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”
– Drew Houston
105. “Business is still more often about whom you know, not what you know.”
– Alejandro Cremades
106. “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.”
107. “Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes playing a poor hand well.”
108. “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.”
109. “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.”
– Seth Godin
110. “Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic.”
111. “If you are a company of one, your mind-set is to build your business around your life, not the other way around.”
– Paul Jarvis
112. “Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.”
– Tony Hsieh
113. “The product that wins is the one that bridges customers to the future, not the one that requires a giant leap.”
– Aaron Levie
114. “When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.”
– Josh James
115. “Make your team feel respected, empowered and genuinely excited about the company’s mission.”
116. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
117. “Make something people want” includes making a company that people want to work for.”
– Sahil Lavingia
118. “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.”
119. “Spend time upfront to invest in systems and processes to make long-term growth sustainable.”
– Jeff Platt
120. “In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.”
121. “Wonder what your customer really wants? Ask. Don’t tell.”
122. “If you’re passionate about something and you work hard, then I think you will be successful.”
123. “Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.”
– Jeffrey Zeldman
124. “In the end, every startup is different. But in the beginning every startup is the same.”
– Richie Norton
125. “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.”
126. “Starting your own business is like riding a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and every turn you take is another twist. The lows are really low, but the highs can be really high. You have to be strong, keep your stomach tight, and ride along with the roller coaster that you started.“
127. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
―Thomas A. Edison
128. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
―Thomas A. Edison
129. “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.”
130. “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.”
131. “Don’t be a lone wolf. Lean on the experience and smarts of your teammates, investors, and mentors to help solve the tough problems and take advantage of the opportunities.”
— Seth Bannon
132. “Bad shit is coming. It always is in a startup. The odds of getting from launch to liquidity without some kind of disaster happening are one in a thousand. So don’t get demoralized.”
133. “It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hard work of running a business and completely forget that while solving problems and building something you can be proud of, you also have an incredible opportunity to shape the future. Even better, you have the chance to meet amazing people and do amazing things along the way. It’s important not to get lost among the trees and forget about the amazing, beautiful forest you’re planting.”
134. “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”
135. “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
–Stephen R. Covey
136. “One can get anything if he is willing to help enough others get what they want.”
137. “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
138. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
139. “Never, never, never give up.”
Commonly asked questions about startups
How do you define a startup?
A startup is a newly established business that is in the process of developing a unique product or service with the goal of scaling it into a successful company. Startups are typically characterized by their innovative approach and high-growth potential. They are often focused on developing new technologies or business models, and they often operate in fast-paced and dynamic environments.
Some key characteristics that are commonly associated with startups include:
- They are typically small companies or businesses, but with high growth potential.
- They are often focused on developing new products or services, or innovative ways of delivering existing products or services.
- They are usually led by entrepreneurs or small teams of individuals who are willing to take risks in order to achieve success.
- They often operate in fast-paced and dynamic environments and are able to adapt quickly to changes in the market.
- They are typically financially backed by venture capital firms, angel investors, or crowdfunding.
- They are often in the process of developing a product or service that they aim to scale and grow into a successful company.
It is worth noting that the definition of a startup can be different depending on the context, some countries, government,s or institutions may have different criteria to consider a business as a startup.
How long is a company called startup?
The term “startup” is generally used to describe a newly established business that is in the early stages of development. The length of time a company is considered a startup can vary depending on the context and the specific characteristics of the business.
In general, a company can be considered a startup in the early stages of its development, typically in the first few years of operation. During this time, the company is focused on developing its product or service, building a customer base, and working towards achieving profitability and scaling up the business.
Once a startup company has reached a certain level of success, and it has achieved sustainable revenue and growth, it is no longer considered a startup and might be referred to as a small, medium, or large company.
It’s worth noting that the term “startup” is not a legally defined term and the criteria for considering a business as a startup can vary. Some governments or institutions may have different criteria to consider a business as a startup. According to a new definition, however, a startup is a company that is younger than 10 years. But not everyone follows this strict definition when talking about startups.
How do startups make money?
Startups make money through a variety of different revenue streams. Some common ways that startups generate revenue include:
- Selling products or services: This is the most traditional and straightforward way for a startup to make money. A startup that develops a product or service that meets a market need can sell that product or service directly to customers.
- Advertising: Startups can make money by selling advertising space on their website, app, or social media channels. This can include banner ads, sponsored content, and affiliate marketing.
- Subscriptions: Startups can generate recurring revenue by offering subscription-based services. This can include access to exclusive content, premium features, or a more personalized experience.
- Freemium model: Startups can offer a basic version of their product or service for free but charge for advanced features or higher usage.
- Crowdfunding: Startups can generate funding by creating a campaign and asking people to contribute money in exchange for rewards or equity in the company.
- Licensing or partnerships: Startups can also generate revenue by licensing their technology or partnering with other companies to bring their product or service to market.
- Investment: Startups can raise capital by selling equity or debt to investors, such as venture capitalists, angel investors or crowdfunding.
It’s worth noting that different startups may use different revenue streams, and it’s not uncommon for a startup to use a combination of multiple revenue streams to generate income. Also, it’s essential for startups to have a clear revenue model in place to sustain their business and grow it.
What are the basics of startups?
The basics of startups typically include the following:
- Idea: A startup begins with an idea for a new product, service, or business model. This idea should solve a problem or fill a need in the market.
- Business Model: The business model outlines how the startup plans to make money and what its revenue streams will be.
- Team: A startup typically requires a team of people to bring the idea to life. The team should have a mix of skills, including business, marketing, and technical expertise.
- Funding: Startups often need funding to get off the ground. This can come from a variety of sources, including angel investors, venture capitalists, and crowdfunding.
- Marketing: Startups need to market their product or service in order to attract customers. This can include social media, PR, and advertising.
- Scalability: A startup should have a plan for scaling the business as it grows. This includes developing a strategy for reaching more customers and expanding the product or service offering.
- Flexibility: Startups often require a high degree of flexibility as they adapt to changes in the market and customer needs. They should be able to pivot their business model and strategy as needed.
- legal & compliance: Startups need to comply with laws and regulations related to business, intellectual property, labor, etc.
- Measurement: Startups should have a system in place to measure their progress and the success of their efforts, such as key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics.
- Exit strategy: A startup should have a plan for how it will eventually exit the market, such as through acquisition or an initial public offering (IPO).