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What does it take to be a successful black small business owner or entrepreneur? For many in the African American community, the answer to that question is inspiration.
Luckily, there are lots of inspiring quotes out there from black entrepreneurs who have made it big. Here are 30 powerful quotes to help jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey.
Inspirational Quotes for Your Private Business
The business world is full of inspirational quotes that can motivate and encourage young black entrepreneurs. So, next time you’re feeling lost or uncertain, remember these words of wisdom and let them guide you on your path to success.
Our first quote comes from one of the most successful black woman entrepreneurs:
1. “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey
2. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
3. “Dedicate yourself to a core set of values. Without them, you will never be able to find personal fulfillment, and you will never be able to lead effectively.” – Kenneth I. Chenault, American Express Co. CEO
4. “I believe in destiny. But I also believe that you can’t just sit back and let destiny happen. A lot of times, an opportunity might fall into your lap, but you have to be ready for that opportunity. You can’t sit there waiting on it. A lot of times you are going to have to get out there and make it happen.” – Spike Lee
5. “Never ever chase money. You should chase success because with success money follows.” — Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones
6. “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” Mae Jemison
7. “I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about. You look at someone like Gandhi, and he glowed. Martin Luther King glowed. Muhammad Ali glows. I think that’s from being bright all the time, and trying to be brighter.” – Jay-Z
Quotes About Becoming a More Successful Person
Becoming successful is a marathon, not a sprint. To achieve success, remember to stay focused, stay positive, and most importantly, keep moving forward.
Here are some powerful quotes to help you on your journey:
8. “I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” – Madam C.J. Walker
9. “To have a successful career, you have to approach it as an entrepreneur, even if you are working for someone else. Your career is your own private business. You have to market yourself and your abilities and knowledge just as you would a product or service.” – Earl Graves, Black Enterprise Founder
10. “I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me, but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a business successfully, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme .” – Aliko Dangote
11. “If you wake up deciding what you want to give versus what you’re going to get, you become a more successful person. In other words, if you want to make money, you have to help someone else make money.” – Russell Simmons
12. “You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect.” – Rosalind Brewer
13. “[Don’t] let anyone convince you that your dream, your vision to be an entrepreneur, is something that you shouldn’t do. What often happens is that people who are well-meaning, who really care for us, are afraid for us and talk us out of it.” – Cathy Hughes
14. “Life is like business, 20 percent of what happens to you is 80 percent of how you react.” – Daymond John, founder, and CEO of FUBU
15. “Women of color are the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs, so this is an excellent time for us. I think getting the mentorships and training you need to go where you want to go is important.” – Angela Benton, founder, and CEO of NewME Accelerator
16. “It’s up to you to bring yourself to the attention of powerful people around you. They’re not going to find you on their own.” – Richard Parsons
Self Improvement Quotes for a Successful Business
Here are some quotes about self-improvement from successful African American business leaders that can help you stay motivated and focused on your goal of building a successful business:
17. “Every now and then you have to nudge your partners. You have to speak up and speak out. And I try to use my platform for that. I try to set an example.” – Rosalind Brewer, COO of Starbucks
18. “Belief in oneself and knowing who you are, I mean, that’s the foundation for everything great.” – Jay-Z
19. “If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.” – Beyonce Knowles
20. “My Vocation is my Vacation. I love what I do.” – Nick Cannon
21. “People from all walks of life and all over the world look at me and know my humble beginnings and know that everything I’ve done has been through hard work. People respect me as a marketer and brand builder.” – Sean Combs
22. “Keep going. No matter what.” – Reginald Lewis
23. “Many people don’t focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment.” – Kenneth Chenault
Quotes About Overcoming Discrimination
Finally, let’s take a look at seven amazing black entrepreneur quotes about overcoming discrimination:
24. “The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself – the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us – that’s where it’s at.” – Jesse Owens
25. “History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama, former first lady of the United States.
26. “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington
27. “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” – Malcolm X
28. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa
29. “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” – Desmond Tutu
30. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
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