45 Inspiring Quotes About Business Growth — and Tips for Success

A 1951 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine predicted that by now, we’d all have personal helicopters parked in our garages. While technology hasn’t followed that exact path, there are plenty of innovations in the Fourth Industrial Revolution that are disrupting business as we know it.

Businesses face pressure to grow and evolve rapidly to stay competitive. But growth can be difficult, and even the most intrepid among us sometimes need an extra dose of inspiration.

We’ve rounded up 45 quotes about business growth — and advice for success — to inspire you and spark new ideas. Have a favorite quote that we missed? Click to tweet and add yours.

Quotes about business growth and change

“Becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” – Michelle Obama, from Becoming

“Play by the rules, but be ferocious.” – Phil Knight, founder, Nike

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” – Sigmund Freud, neurologist

“Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation.” – Clayton Christensen, economist and Harvard professor

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker and writer

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” – John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States of America

growth quotes

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill, author

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” – Andy Rooney, journalist

“Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.” – William George Jordan, writer/editor

“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer/statesman

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin, writer

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot, author

“The only way you are going to have success is to have lots of failures first.” – Sergey Brin, co-founder, Google

“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.” – Dhirubhai Ambani, founder, Reliance Industries

“I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.” – Susan Butcher, sled dog racer

Inspiring business quotes

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” – Thomas Watson, Sr., former CEO, IBM

“It’s very easy to be different but very difficult to be better.” – Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple

“Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying in space.” – Chris Hadfield, astronaut

“Happy employees lead to happy customers, which leads to more profits.” – Vaughn Aust, EVP of Integrated Solutions, MarketStar

quotes about business growth

“Employees want to feel inspired by their leaders…hire individuals who will lead by example.” – Jody Kohner, VP of Employee Marketing & Engagement, Salesforce

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” – William Durant, co-founder, General Motors

“Many companies get trapped by the paradox of hitting numbers ‘now’ versus improving sales for future quarters or years ahead.” – Tiffani Bova, Salesforce Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Quotes about business transformation

“[Businesses] rarely come up for air to re-evaluate how they are selling. This means that current sales practices, process, and organizational structure may in fact be hindering their growth more than any external factor they believe they are facing.” – Tiffani Bova, Salesforce Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist

“Consumers now expect to be able to get things, talk to someone, and do what they want at any time. That’s led to a divide. Some companies and products provide such a perfect, seamless experience that it has raised the bar. In fact, it’s so easy and seamless that we kind of forget to be impressed. But what they’re doing is making the ones that don’t deliver that kind of great experience all the more obvious.” — Susan Weinschenk, Chief Behavioral Scientist and CEO, The Team W [read the full interview]

“Customer experience professionals love to think about their customer journey maps, but these can be very rigid. How many consumers follow the same exact path to get to their outcome? Very few. I believe consumer experiences need to be far more dynamic than they are today — not just personalized, which we’ve been talking about for a few years. After all, companies can leverage data about customers in the moment — what they did in the last 24 minutes or hours, not in the last 24 days.” — Tom Puthiyamadam, Digital Service and BXT Leader, PwC [read the full interview]

“We’ve been talking about the importance of ‘customer-centricity’ for some time. But until now retailers have lacked both the technology and the mandate to connect marketing, sales, service, and commerce systems to enable a 360-degree view of the customer. Now that relevant and personalized engagement has emerged as a key differentiator, retailers will finally make the investments to deliver on the promise of putting the customer at the center of everything they do.” — Rob Garf, Vice President, Industry Strategy & Insights, Salesforce

“Companies that invest more in digital transformation actually outperform their peers over time. These companies are more prepared for disruption, better able to monetize new digital channels, and better able to build a bigger user base. What’s more, this phenomenon exists regardless of industry.” — Geoff Cubitt, CEO, Isobar US [read the full interview]

Inspiring quotes about business transformation

“Data itself is not enough to create personalized experiences. Artificial intelligence is required to turn a comprehensive data trove into insights that can anticipate customers’ needs and act as their digital assistant. Much like his or her pre-industrial counterpart, a B2I (business-to-individual) virtual tailor, for example, would know each individual’s measurements and tastes in fabrics, styles, and other variables, and could thus make highly personalized recommendations.” — Peter Schwartz, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Salesforce [read the full article]

Quotes about the artificial intelligence impact on business growth

“Accenture forecasts that AI could double the economic growth rates of 12 major countries by 2035. These gains will come from computers doing what they have always been good at — freeing us to make better use of our time. For instance, AI makes it possible to automate routine tasks such as responding to simple customer questions. It can also be used to spot changes in customer preferences, identify visual problems in manufacturing, further automate agriculture, identify fraud, and better inform business decision-making.” — Richard Socher, Chief Scientist, Salesforce [read the full article]

“AI is about more than replacing each worker with a robot. It will involve the disruption and reshaping of whole industries. Business models will evolve to be quite transparent. In a world of AI, consumers will have high access to information, perhaps using their digital assistant to find the best price or analyze which product has received the best reviews. It will no longer be possible to use information asymmetry to charge people a disproportionate amount.” — Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, CEO, Sinovation Ventures [read the full interview]

“Imagine a customer walking up to a supermarket shelf and holding his or her smartphone up against different bags of potato chips. Using image processing, language processing, and analytics, AI-enabled systems can help that customer check which brand is best for their low-sodium diet, or whatever their taste profile might be.” — Glen Hartman, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Interactive [read the full interview]

“You don’t need to know how the technology of a microwave works to use it — it is simply a tool. We’re now entering the same phase with AI, thanks to the huge influx of no-code, point-and-click tools. AI will become a widely used utility by everyone, regardless of technical background. As a result, most of the AI applications in the coming years will be built by people with little or no AI training.” — Vitaly Gordon, Vice President, Data Science and Engineering, Einstein, Salesforce

Inspiring business quotes about AI

“Companies use technologies such as deep learning to help them feed their computer networks vast quantities of information so that they recognize patterns more quickly. But for all their enormous potential, current success is based on fitting to patterns of historical training data. There’s still much work to do to train models how to reason. They can only be trained to find patterns in historical data. The problem is that this training data isn’t neutral — it can easily reflect the biases of the people who put it together. It can encode trends and patterns that reflect and perpetuate prejudice and harmful stereotypes.” — Timnit Gebru, AI Research Scientist, Google [read the full interview]

Quotes about growing workplace trends

“Workers will need different skills to thrive in the workplace of the future. We’ll see a growing demand for advanced technological skills such as programming. Social, emotional, and higher cognitive skills — such as creativity, critical thinking, and complex information processing — will also be in demand. Growing occupations, meanwhile, will include those with difficult-to-automate activities, such as managers and doctors, as well as care workers and teachers. Training and retraining mid-career workers and new generations for the coming challenges will be another imperative.” — James Manyika, Chairman and Director, McKinsey Global Institute [read the full interview]

“In 1950, only 55% of the working-age population in the U.S. was employed. By 2015, that percentage had risen to 60% — representing a net increase of about 100 million jobs — after many potentially job-killing technologies had been introduced. These included shipping cranes, ATMs, and personal computer spreadsheets. The same could well be true of [AI], especially if we put into place the innovations in education that could help people adapt.” — Peter Schwartz, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Salesforce [read the full article]

“AI is about enabling machines to augment humans — in other words, to complement human skills — rather than merely replace them. In most cases, AI’s skills are different to a human’s, so we are moving towards a symbiosis of the two.” — Robin Bordoli, CEO, Figure Eight [read the full article]

“Beyond doing the right thing for their workers, companies have another reason to lean into workforce development initiatives: their own competitiveness. As demand for skills for the intelligent era heat up, so too will a war for talent.” — Sarah Franklin, EVP and GM of Trailhead and Developer Relations, Salesforce

“The shift to lifelong learning is absolutely essential. As the pace of technological change quickens, we need to be sure that employees are keeping up with the right skills to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. That applies to both technical and soft skills. There will be changes in both areas.” — Zvika Krieger, Head of Technology Policy and Partnerships, Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum [read the full article]

Quotes about business growth and AI

Inspirational quotes about responsible business

“As the technology driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution has an ever-greater impact on everyone’s lives, people expect business leaders to take on a bigger role in society than just running their companies. That means businesses need to have corporate values beyond looking after the interests of shareholders. They must take responsibility for other stakeholders, too: their customers, employees, suppliers, and communities.” — Simon Mulcahy, Chief Innovation Officer, Salesforce, & Nicholas Davis, Head of Society and Innovation, World Economic Forum [read the full article]

“It’s often said that ‘data is the new oil.’ Instead, we’d argue that it’s trust that will decide whether businesses — and the Fourth Industrial Revolution itself — succeed. There is both a moral and business imperative to do more than increase profits. My fellow CFOs and other leaders should respond to today’s rapid technological and societal change by taking a long-term view.” — Mark Hawkins, President and Chief Financial Officer, Salesforce [read the full article]

quotes about business growth and leadership

“The technology driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution gives companies an ever-greater influence on how we live, work, and function as a society. As a result, customers expect business leaders to widen their focus beyond the narrow interests of shareholders. This longer-term, broader strategic approach has proven rewards. McKinsey found that companies that take a longer view than quarterly shareholder reporting outperform their peers, with 47% higher average revenue growth and 36% better earnings growth.” — Miguel Milano, President, EMEA, Salesforce [read the full article]

“[Values are not] just about slogans you put on your office wall or website. We’re talking about the bedrock principles that guide the day-to-day way everyone at your company works together. It’s what guides leaders’ choices in complex matters like doing more for customers and protecting employees’ rights. Smart companies ensure their values and behaviors support their strategy … When companies live out strong values, employees buy in. Conversely, if people don’t see evidence that they’re being offered the same opportunities as others — or the same amount of respect, because of their gender, race, or age — buy-in erodes.” — Michael Bush, CEO, Great Place to Work [read the full article]

“Companies that take a long-term view and consider a wide range of stakeholders — such as customers, employees, partners, the environment, and the communities in which we serve — have been shown to be more sustainable, innovative, and profitable. This need for the CEO to navigate through these new moral and ethical questions, and to take responsibility for the societal impacts of these technologies, isn’t just about corporate social responsibility anymore. It’s about the core business interests of these companies.” — Zvika Krieger, Head of Technology Policy and Partnerships, Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum [read the full article]

“It’s not enough for businesses to say, ‘We value the security and privacy of our customers’ data.’ Businesses need to show how they are doing that, then let customers decide for themselves what information is appropriate to use and what’s not. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 92% of customers say they’re more likely to trust a business with their data when they’re given control over what information is collected and ultimately used.” — Lindsey Finch, Senior Vice President, Global Privacy and Product Legal, Salesforce [read the full article]