Business Quotes edited by Brad Mager

Quote Topics

Business Basics

Attitude and Belief

Taking Action and
Getting Things Done

Inspiration and Vision

Courage, Fear, and Confidence

The Art of Thinking and
The Power of Thoughts

Conformity, Originality,
and Going Against the Crowd

Innovation, Creativity,
and Imagination


Planning, Setting Goals,
and Making Decisions

The Value of Hard Work


Talent, Skills, and Character

Knowledge and Experience


Marketing, Advertising,
and Making Sales

Solving Problems and
Overcoming Obstacles


Handling Criticism

Risks and Rewards

Success and Failure

Happiness, Satisfaction,
and Enjoying Your Work

Money and Wealth

Quotes - Conformity

Whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve more of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
Jonathan Swift

Going into business for yourself, becoming an entrepreneur, is the modern-day equivalent of pioneering on the old frontier.
Paula Nelson

Business demands faith, compels earnestness, requires courage, is honestly selfish, is penalized for mistakes, and is the essence of life.
William Feather
Author and publisher

The #1 guideline to success is you must be in business for yourself. When you work for someone else, you sell your time at wholesale to your employer, who then re-sells it at retail to the customer.
J. Paul Getty
Oil magnate and philanthropist

Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.
Victor Kiam
Chairman, Remington Products Co.

The absolute fundamental aim is to make money out of satisfying customers.
Sir John Egan
Business leader

The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar instead of how little he can give for a dollar is bound to succeed.
Henry Ford
Automobile manufacturer

No nation was ever ruined by trade.
Benjamin Franklin
American statesman, writer, and inventor


I like business because it is competitive, because it rewards deeds rather than words.
I like business because it compels earnestness and does not permit me to neglect today’s task while thinking about tomorrow.
I like business because it undertakes to please, not reform; because it is honestly selfish, thereby avoiding hypocrisy and sentimentality.
I like business because it promptly penalizes mistakes, shiftlessness, and inefficiency, while rewarding well those who give it the best they have in them.
Last, I like business because each day is a fresh adventure.
Robert H. Cabell
President, Armour & Company


The shortest and best way to make your fortune is to let people see clearly that it is in their interests to promote yours.
Jean de La Bruyère
Philosopher and writer

Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relative to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.
Bertrand Russell
Philosopher and mathematician

An election goes on every minute of the business day across the counters of hundreds of thousands of stores and shops where the customers state their preferences and determine which company and which product shall be the leader today and which shall lead tomorrow.
Bruce Barton
Advertising executive

If you don’t do it excellently, don’t do it at all. Because if it’s not excellent, it won’t be profitable or fun, and if you’re not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing there?
Robert Townsend
Business writer and former president, Avis Rent-a-Car

People forget how fast you did a job — but they remember how well you did it.
Howard W. Newton
Advertising executive

The only way to keep score in business is to add up how much money you make.
Harry B. Helmsley
Hotel chain owner

The successful producer of an article sells it for more than it cost him to make, and that’s his profit. But the customer buys it only because it is worth more to him than he pays for it, and that’s his profit. No one can long make a profit producing anything unless the customer makes a profit using it.
Samuel B. Pettengill
Lawyer, Congressional representative, author

The engine which drives Enterprise is not Thrift, but Profit.
John Maynard Keynes

Business without profit is not business any more than a pickle is candy.
Charles. F. Abbott

It is a socialist idea that making profits is a vice; I consider that the real vice is making losses.
Winston Churchill
British statesman and prime minister


Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss. As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Philosopher, essayist and poet


When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.
William Wrigley, Jr.
Business executive

Vacation is time off to remind employees that the business can get along without them.
Earl Wilson
Newspaper columnist

The difference between a job and a career is the difference between 40 and 60 hours a week.
Robert Frost

The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
James Baldwin
Writer, civil rights spokesman

Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.
A. A. Milne

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.
Jules Renard

The customer may not always be right; however, it’s not our job to prove he is wrong.
Al Wellenreiter

Capitalism is the only system in the world founded on credit and character.
Hubert Eaton

If the house is on fire, forget the china, silver, and wedding album — grab the Rolodex.
Harvey MacKay
Executive and business writer

Pay your people the least possible and you’ll get from them the same.
Malcolm Forbes

Any business arrangement that is not profitable to the other fellow will in the end prove unprofitable to you. The bargain that yields mutual satisfaction is the only one that is apt to be repeated.
B. C. Forbes
Publisher, founder of Forbes magazine

Business more than any other occupation is a continual dealing with the future; it is a continual calculation, an instinctive exercise in foresight.
Henry R. Luce
Editor and publisher

Society can progress if men’s labors show a profit — if they yield more than is put in. To produce at a loss must leave less for all to share.
Bernard Baruch
Financier and government advisor

Secrecy is the soul of business.
Spanish proverb


Twelve Business Maxims
1. Have a definite aim.
2. Go straight for it.
3. Master all details.
4. Always know more than you are expected to know.
5. Remember that difficulties are only made to be overcome.
6. Treat failures as stepping stones to further effort.
7. Never put your hand out further than you can draw it back.
8. At times be bold; always, be prudent.
9. The minority often beats the majority in the end.
10. Make good use of other men’s brains.
11. Listen well; answer cautiously; decide promptly.
12. Preserve, by all means in your power, “a sound mind in a sound body.”
President of the London Chamber of Commerce
circa 1900


Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man or order of men.
Adam Smith

The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.
Ronald Reagan
40th U.S. president

The less government interferes with private business, the better for general prosperity.
Martin Van Buren
8th U.S. president

People are rarely fired for incompetence. It’s not getting along that’s almost always the underlying reason for dismissal.
Stuart Marguiles
Industrial psychologist

It isn’t the people you fire who will make your life miserable; it’s the people you don’t fire.
Harvey MacKay
Executive and business writer

All the mistakes I ever made were when I wanted to say “No” and said “Yes.”
Moss Hart

A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Anything that the private sector can do, government can do worse.
Dixie Lee Ray

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art of all.
Andy Warhol

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out the window.
Burton Rascoe

If your business keeps you so busy that you have no time for anything else, there must be something wrong, either with you or with your business.
William J. H. Boetcker
Clergyman and lecturer on industrial relations

Drive thy business or it will drive thee.
Benjamin Franklin
American statesman, writer, and inventor

Few people do business well who do nothing else.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield
Statesman and author

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
Sam Walton
Founder, Wal-Mart

I don’t want to do business with those who don’t make a profit, because they can’t give the best service.
Lee Bristol

It is the interest of the commercial world that wealth should be found everywhere.
Edmund Burke
British statesman and orator

Entrepreneurship is the last refuge of the trouble-making individual.
Mason Cooley
U.S. aphorist

Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do.
Malcolm Forbes

You can’t run a business or anything else on a theory.
Harold S. Geneen
Chairman, ITT Corporation

The magic formula that successful businesses have discovered is to treat customers like guests and employees like people.
Thomas J. Peters
Business writer

I’ve got to keep breathing. It’ll be my worst business mistake if I don’t.
Sir Nathan Rothschild
London financier

Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.
Publilius Syrus
Latin writer

We get paid for bringing value to the market place.
Jim Rohn
Motivational speaker

Business is more exciting than any game.
William Maxwell Aitken
British newspaper publisher

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