Running a small business can be tough. Keeping your enthusiasm going and energy levels up every day is a challenge for even the most optimistic small business owner.

With that thought in mind, we’ve chosen a top ten of inspiring quotes and how they might apply to you whether you’re just thinking of starting out, or you’re all set up and just need some welcoming words of encouragement.

  1. ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’ George Eliot
    This is one for those thinking of taking the ‘run your own business’ plunge. A young person’s game? According to start-ups.co.uk most new business owners take the plunge in their 40s, although 7% questioned were over 65.
  2. ‘You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ Christopher Columbus
    Letting go of what you know to explore new territories can be terrifying. Unlike Columbus of course, you’re never completely on your own.
  3. I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.’ Pablo Picasso
    There are 101 things you won’t know how to do when you set up a business. But that’s the point isn’t it?
  4. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’ Wayne Gretzky
    This one comes from a Canadian ice hockey professional, but any sportsman would echo the sentiment. Whether it’s setting up a business in the first place, or going for a contract or piece of business that you would normally think you wouldn’t get, if you don’t try you have no chance.
  5. ‘I would rather die of passion than of boredom.’ Vincent van Gogh
    Not to be taken literally of course (van Gogh was a rather intense individual), but a reminder as to why you left that previous work life behind. And if work in your new business has started to become a little mundane, then perhaps it’s time to reinvent your service or explore new areas to keep things fresh.
  6. The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.’ Confucius
    Attributed to the Chinese philosopher, this one is useful for when that ‘to do’ list just seems insurmountable. Sometimes we all need to start by just doing one, small thing at a time.
  7. Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
    It’s not clear who said this, but for small business owners, it’s one for confidence. You’ve already broken from the herd by going it alone, so don’t be afraid to do things differently – and shout about it!
  8. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them’. Henry David Thoreau
    One for the power of the imagination. Bringing fresh ideas to your business is crucial, but of course you need to put those ideas into action. Oh, and this has a practical application too. Backed up your computer recently? Don’t risk losing all your work or it really will be castles in the air. Get a robust back-up system in place. You can get online backup systems in place immediately.
  9. ‘In the end, the customer doesn’t know, or care, if you are small or large as an organisation. She or he only focuses on the garment hanging on the rail in the store.’ Giorgio Armani
    Don’t get hung up about size. Who cares? If you can deliver better than companies much bigger than you, you’ll win through.
  10. ‘There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.’
    Christopher Morley
    And remember, you can define the success of your business in many ways. Financial. Work/ life balance. Happy customers. Making a difference. Ultimately though, the real success is that you choose to spend your working day doing it your own way.