Female employee congratulated at work

Inspirational Speeches Every Business Owner Needs to Hear

4 min read • Sep 17, 2020 • Mary Kate Miller

When the going gets tough, sometimes what you need is a pep talk. Since small business owners are the boss, they’re usually the ones in the position of giving pep talks. But who’s gonna pump up the boss when they need it? 

Whatever struggle you’re facing, these speeches will get you so fired up that you’ll be ready to overcome in no time. 

Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness

When you start a business, people are going to tell you that you can’t do it. Especially if you’re attempting something that hasn’t been done before. Listen to Will Smith and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. 

Brene Brown, The Call to Courage

Brene Brown stepped into the national spotlight with her 2010 TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.” The TED Talk that started it all has been viewed more than 49 million times, and it’s certainly worth watching. In the years since, Brown has explored the ways that vulnerability is integral to courage, 2 features that are essential for every successful small business owner. Get revved up with these curated morsels from her Netflix special, The Call to Courage. It may help you find the bravery and vulnerability you need to weather the uncertainty of running a business. 

Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures

Not everyone is going to understand the struggles that you’ve had to endure. It’s likely that at some point in your entrepreneurial journey, at least one person will call you out without understanding the challenges you’ve had to face or the marginalization you’ve experienced. In those moments, please remember the iconic speech Taraji P. Henson delivered in Hidden Figures and relish in her advocacy for herself. 

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

When other people try to sideline you from your own business, remember the words, “It should be me.” 

Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech

A list of inspirational speeches for business owners wouldn’t be complete without some wise words from Steve Jobs. Jobs doesn’t disappoint in his 2005 Stanford commencement speech. “Your time is limited,” he says, “so don’t spend it living someone else’s life.” Live your life. Follow your dreams, and you can turn your American Dream into a reality.

Oprah, 2013 Harvard Commencement Speech

Pretty much anytime Oprah opens her mouth, we can expect wisdom. In her 2013 Harvard commencement speech, she discusses her “relentless determination to succeed.” She shares her early failures with the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and the resolve she found to turn her struggles around. As she says, “It doesn’t matter how high you might rise, at some point, you might stumble.” But as every small business owner knows, that doesn’t mean you have to stay down.

Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting

The coronavirus pandemic has upended virtually every aspect of American business. Sometimes what you need is for someone to tell you it’s not your fault. Let Robin Williams be that person. 

Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday

There’s nothing like a rousing locker-room speech to pump you up on dark days. Nobody does it better than Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday

Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments so we can share in some much-needed inspiration. 


Mary Kate Miller

Mary Kate Miller is a writer based in Chicago, IL. She specializes in covering finance (personal and business), investing, and real estate. Her mission in life is to give readers the confidence and the knowledge needed to grow their wealth by making financial topics more accessible. When she's not writing about topics like business loans, you can find her playing armchair financial advisor to the Real Housewives.