If you’re setting out to start a business, have an existing business or perhaps just want a little insight into the mind of entrepreneur’s everywhere then these are the books that you should read. EVERY future business owner should read these.
“It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”
– Elon Musk
If you’ve read any of these, feel free to upvote or downvote them and write what you thought of them.
According to a U.S. Bank study, 82% of business failures are due to poor cash flow management, or poor understanding of how cash flow contributes to business. At some point during every business's life cycle, cash flow becomes a challenge. How to Be a Cash Flow Pro educates its readers on what cash flow is and how it differentiates from profits. More importantly, it also includes 50+ impactful tips that will help business owners avoid falling victim to the travails of poor cash flow management. Reading this book prior to starting your business just might help prevent your company's failure.
Contributor: Ken Mr. Biz Wentworth | LinkedIn
This is a story that resonates; the hero is a father, husband, and business owner who’s drowning his dreams in the busy struggle to make a living.. Every business owner will benefit from reading Take Your Shot to see clearly how to shift your mindset. The steps for setting a clear goal are laid out and the lightbulb moments in the book signpost how to plan changes in your own business. It will transform your thinking on sales, marketing and creating an optimum business operating model.
Contributor: Debra Penrice
I would highly recommend Entrepreneur Revolution by Daniel Priestley for new business owners, as it discusses how very small businesses can reach a global audience, how to develop a mindset that will help you succeed and what essential ingredients a successful business has. Some books focus on one theory and are very repetitive, not this one, it moves from one method to another in a way that is very engaging, yet has enough of a common thread that it’s easy to follow.
I also found Entrepreneur Revolution tremendously motivating, which is important for future business owners too.
Contributor: Martin Woods
A straightforward and sensible book, it taught me to re-evaluate what running a business means. In short: running a business doesn't mean that you need to be involved with everything, work 12 hours a day, get stressed out, confused, overloaded and ultimately be unproductive.
A business has many different parts and each one needs a system and/or a person in charge of that part of the business. Breaking your business down into separate parts helps the business focus on the most important tasks. Hiring great people to focus on key parts of your business helps the business do a better job.
Contributor: Ed Mellett (Co-founder of WikiJob)
Like many business owners, I didn’t set out to run a business. Originally, I set up shop as a sole trader who built websites. A couple months down the line, I had too much work so I found a developer to handle the coding side of things. Then, when the work grew too much again, I brought in a project manager to manage the workload and resources. After that, I hired a designer and then another developer and then a digital marketer.
Suddenly, I was running a small six-person agency. Three years later, my team had swelled to 15 and my role had moved entirely to the management of the business.
The best book I have ever read is Gino Wickman’s Traction, which explains how to keep control of your business while efficiently growing it. It's about setting clear objectives, identifying competent leadership and giving them enough autonomy in their role to actually drive growth in the business. Broken down into a series of steps, Traction is stupidly practical and allows you to work through the process as you read through the book.
As a profitability consultant for green and social entrepreneurship businesses, I show businesses how they can go beyond mere sustainability (keeping things the same) to regenerativity (making things better) by developing and marketing profitable products and services that turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance.
As I got deeper into this work, I realized there wasn't a book that really covered the big picture on this, though I found several that covered various pieces of it. So I wrote my 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World published by Morgan James and (endorsed by Seth Godin, Chicken Soup's Jack Canfield, and many others). Using examples ranging from Fortune 50 to solopreneurs, I make a clear business profitability case for addressing these huge issues.
The book offers practical advice to businesses of any size, and includes profiles of several practical visionaries changing the world at a profit, as well as guest essays from Frances Moore Lappe (Diet for a Small Planet), Cynthia Kersey (Unstoppable), and two others.
My name is Sumit and I am the founder of Trump Excel, an online platform that trains people in using Excel spreadsheets efficiently. I was in a fulltime job till 2015 but quit to work on my own online business.
One of my favorite books is 'Rework' by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. It shares tons of golden nuggets on what a business should and should not do to grow. It doesn't dwell on a concept for pages, rather covers it in one or two pages. It's a ready manual for startups and can even be used by established tech businesses. The book doesn't talk about any ground-breaking concepts, but emphasizes on simple stuff and explains why it matters.
Undoubtedly a book that should be there is every entrepreneur's shelf.
Contributor: Sumit Bansal | Twitter
Without question, I have to recommend Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson of Basecamp fame.
They were light years ahead of thinking of certain concepts (like working remotely, and not *having* to work 9-5 to get the best work in) and I have no doubt it will help future business owners start on the right track, rather than following ingrained (and often wrong) strategies from the past.
Contributor: Glen Allsopp
Here's a paragraph from Mr Joel J. Smolibowski, JD - Chairman of Excellence Health's Board of Advisors.
Excellence Health is a multinational pharmaceutical company with more than 2000 employees, presence in over 30 countries & a revenue of $12B in 2017.
My favorite business book has nothing to do with business at all. And the reason is because business is not about making money in the first place, it is about making dreams come true - your dreams and those of the people you serve. If you do not dare to dream, you will not be able to understand anyone else’s dreams. Your actions will never be inspired in a way, that gives you the strength to do things different, to create solutions that are beyond, what others call reality. If you want to do things differently, you have to be different, if you want to reach out for the stars, you have to be able to dream yourself to the stars - that is way my favorite business book is "The Little Prince“ by Antoine de Saint Exupéry.
In 2018, all business owners must take the time to understand and implement some search engine optimization on their website or risk alienating some potential customers. 81% of people do some form of online research before making a large purchase (2016), and 72% of consumer who did a local search, visited the store within five miles (2016).
The SEO Diet is an easy-to-read guide for business owners with little to no knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO). Topics covered include basic web structure, SEO strategies, keyword research, link building, analytics and tracking, and so much more. The SEO Diet gives business owners the information they need to get their website off the ground, optimize its foundation, and give it the bones for ongoing optimizations and success in the online world.
The winning formula: understand SEO, use it to find your audience, make more sales.
Contributor: Ryan Kemp
This was written by David Ogilvy, the Father of Advertising.
There are so many simple yet effective tips throughout this book that can help someone succeed in business or life. For example, one of my favorite Ogilvy quotes is: The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.
Simple yet very true!
Contributor: Jason Parks | Instagram
I believe every entrepreneur needs to read The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. The book focuses on 50 real life entrepreneurs that started realistic businesses from scratch. Every business is used as a case study to teach you various strategies and paradigms. As the name suggests, many of these entrepreneurs invested very little money to get their businesses running. It's a great read to learn about bootstrapping, marketing strategies, and to get some inspiration.
Future business owners will have a great mindset and plan after finishing it.
Contributor: Carmine Mastropierro | LinkedIn
I am an author of an innovative business planning book that is gaining traction at entrepreneurship centers around the country's universities.
I innovated on the business planning process and start with just a 3-sentence business plan that expands into a 1-page business plan and then expands into a full business plan.
This ladder-like system helps people not get frustrated and quit, and focus on the most important parts of their business plan/strategy. Most importantly, the practicality of this approach helps people move past the planning phase and start their business.
Contributor: Alex Genadinik
I have read this book multiple times, gifted it to clients, friends and family, and would recommend it to anyone looking to start a business or birth a new one. Too many business owners are creating businesses, taking on debt and committing their lives to businesses that won't work because it's not within their Zone of Genius. Just because you can do something, and make it look easy, doesn't mean that that's what you were born to do. Gay takes you through finding your Zone of Genius, as well as the other 'Zones' we sometimes operate in.
Every business owner is going to face what Steven Pressfield calls ‘resistance,’ especially when just starting out. Pressfield argues that “the more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
The new business owner might not want to cold call prospects for multiple hours a day. He might think it’s too hard, feel discouraged, or decide he’ll do it another time - but these are all forms of resistance. This book is imperative for learning to recognise resistance, and then overcome it and act in spite of it. Business owners need persistence and discipline when starting out and this book is a great teacher of both qualities.
Contributor: Andrew Schutt
Strive. Pushing through our limits, doing the hard thing, and focusing on constant and never ending growth and improvement is the ticket to impact and fulfilment!
- Tony Robbins, World-Renowned Business Leader
“We all know or have read stories of people who seem to rise from the ashes or come out of nowhere to achieve success. Strive points out that most of these individuals were not extraordinary by nature but extraordinary by action.”
Follow the author of this book on Twitter by clicking here.
The true alchemy of Strive is that it combines, great storytelling, great anecdotes, and some pretty profound insights. No question Scott Amyx's key takeaway is to get comfortable being uncomfortable… or perhaps find yourself a different journey. Learning to live perpetually outside your comfort zone is perhaps a condition precedent for success -- the special sauce for cooking up ideas that will change the world.
- Craig Hatkoff, Founder of Tribeca Film Festival
Buy this book on Amazon or read others reviews of it by clicking here.
“Strive teaches us to embrace discomfort and achieve success in this exponentially changing world.”
- Singularity University
Why Strive is important for future business owners?
Popular beliefs about success are profoundly wrong. Success is not merely a matter of being born in the right place at the right time to the right family. It involves much more than hard work, money, practice, or even intellect. History is littered with people—those with high IQ, talent, money, power, and fame—who squandered every advantage and ended badly.
“There is, however, a way to reach your goals, and I am a living proof. I have found a way to guide my life in a positive direction, realizing success I never thought possible. And it doesn’t require 10,000 hours, being born into the right family, or being as brilliant as Albert Einstein or Marilyn vos Savant. It’s a little secret I call Strive,” says Amyx. It’s all about pursuing personal change that’s uncomfortable.
About Scott Amyx
Scott Amyx is the author of Strive: How Doing the Things Most Uncomfortable Leads to Success, which has been endorsed by Tony Robbins, Forbes, Singularity University, Tribeca Film Festival and other influencers. He is a global thought leader and venture capitalist who has appeared on TV, TIME, Forbes, New York Times, TechCrunch, CIO, Washington Post, Wired, Forrester, G20 report and other major media.
Scott Amyx was born a few miles south of the DMZ border in South Korea during the 1970’s when Korea was economically emerging from the devastation of the Korean War, with WWII and Japanese colonization still fresh in the minds of the people. Raised by a single mother with no formal education, he immigrated to the U.S. shortly after the violent democratization Gwangju Uprising. Scott grew up an impoverished immigrant who was frequently told he would amount to nothing.
Today he is an internationally recognized thought leader, venture capitalist, speaker, and author on exponential technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He received the Cloud & DevOps World Award for Most Innovative and was voted as a top 10 Global Speaker by Speaking.com. Scott is an IBM IoT Futurist, Tribeca Disruptor Foundation Fellow, Singularity University/ Smart City Accelerator Mentor, and National Sloan Fellow/ Woodrow Wilson Fellow.
He was also voted most influential leader in Smart Cities, IoT and exponential technologies by Inc. Magazine, Internet of Things Institute, HP Enterprise, and numerous institutions. In addition, Scott has been nominated to the World Economic Forum as a committee member for the Future of the Internet and nominated by global luminaries for TED talk. He lives in New York with his family and Maltese Yorkie named Saja (Korean for lion).
Future business owners should read The WealthChoice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires because it informs you no matter your background whether growing up in poverty or working in the C-suite the road to entrepreneurship is lengthy and challenging. It provides key traits such as character and resilience in order to be successful. The Wealth Choice also covers the importance of the mindset of managing money that leads to generational wealth and economic development. If you enjoy Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill this should be a must read.
I read The Wealth Choice within the first three months of starting my business and it shaped my perspective on making sacrifices while working hard. Within a year of my journey I lost my apartment and reflecting on the stories in this book kept me grounded and hopeful as I pushed through.
Contributor: Michelle Ngome
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is mandatory reading for every future business owner. This quick read is full of insights that will help you along your journey. It will teach you to follow your dreams, look for the meaning in the many signs you receive along the way, and that any obstacles along the way are just part of the process. The many lessons that are told throughout the story are told seamlessly through the story. There’s no surprise this is one of the most read books in history. It is truly a special read that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Contributor: Trenton Miller, President of Millermore Digital Marketing
The Pumpkin Plan completely changed the way I think about my business. It is a great book on critically analysing your business to determine the most profitable activities and segments, then cutting out the rest so that what is most profitable can flourish. The title comes from the way giant pumpkin farmers grow champion pumpkins - by eliminating the smaller pumpkins that drain resources from the pumpkins that are destined to grow to be the largest. I believe the principles in this book can be applied to any business, large or small. In a business climate in which many businesses attempt to diversify and be involved in everything, this book puts forth some concrete ideas on specialising, segmenting and growing.
Contributor: Garrett Bal
This is one of the most important books I own and my whole business runs on the foundation of the principles taught in this book. There is a precise science to achieving success and this book explains how you have to do certain things in a certain way to achieve one definite goal. A business has to be build on a solid foundation of tried tested and proven principles, that has lasted through time and these work and can be applied to any business now and future.
As the creator of Vision Portraits, I’m not a photographer who takes pictures for memories, I actually take picture to create your future. I capture people fo who they want to BECOME. In essence, I rebrand personal identities with their Vision for success, so they can see it to grow into BECOMING their portraits. This book has expanded my awareness that we think in Pictures, so by creating images that reflect whom we want to become and follow the exact science described in this book we achieve our goal in a short period of time.
Contributor: Pazit Perez
Before starting a business, a future business owner must have a clear understanding of what he or she will be selling or providing and why. Christensen's book helps them answer the second part of that question with its Jobs Theory outline. The Jobs Theory, invented by Christensen, asks business owners and entrepreneurs to look at the product or service they're offering and answer: What 'job' is a customer 'hiring' this product or service to complete? Asking this question allows business owners to truly step into the shoes of their customers and understand why they're making the decisions they do.
Contributor: Keri Lindenmuth
Hunting in a Farmer's World offers a framework to better understand how business and scaling a business is achieved in the most efficient way. When it came time to hire my first employee, HGW offered a blueprint for growth which suggested I would need someone of the farmer persona who would prepare for the nature of our next season ahead while I hunted for value in the vision ahead for our business. This framework has been an invaluable tool to make good decisions, recover from failure with grace and collect a fuller harvest each entrepreneurial season.
Contributor: Trench Media | LinkedIn
The book that changed my perspective on starting a business is The Startup's Owners Manual, by Steve Blanks. For me, Steve laid out for me all of the pre-work that was needed to be done before a company should even be started. From getting out of the building and getting feedback from random strangers to being on top of your company and not in it, Steve takes real world examples and explains everything in detail. He gave me the confidence and the reasoning to get tht ball rolling on becoming an entrepreneur.
I read his book over 4 years ago and my company's gross revenue was over $1m in 2016.
Contributor: Gene Caballero | LinkedIn
Frankie Russo is the CEO and President of Potenza, a leading full-service 360 marketing firm, and an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing company for four straight years. He is also the author of The Art of Why, a highly-praised book in which he explores how you can discover your life’s mission and find the perfect balance between work and family.
The one book Frankie recommends for anyone about to start a business is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. “This book, as its name suggests, tackles some really hard realities about starting a business.
So many self-help books discuss the importance of setting big, lofty goals, of setting a timetable to reach significant markers to measure your success, of the value of a clear organizational structure and the like. But what they don’t explain is what happens when you don’t meet those goals. Who pays? Who gets fired? Who survives? They don’t explore how outside influences that no one could ever have predicted could push all your goal posts back six months.
They don’t explain why an organizational chart is worthless if the people whose names are penciled in on that chart don’t or won’t communicate with one another. This book does that. It addresses real issues, real difficult issues that often the idealistic, pie-in-the-sky young entrepreneur tries to avoid.”
Contributor: Frankie Russo
Sam was very humble. Very driven. Very frugal. The lessons you glean from his story of building Walmart are too many to list, but some of the important ones for any business owner include: the value in hard work, the value in persistence and the value in always looking to lower the price of your product or service because if you don't someone else will.
Contributor: Dayne Shuda
I had the pleasure of reading this book as part of my MBA studies at NYU Business School in 2002, and I found it to be both entertaining and highly educational. It's a must read for anyone in Operations Management, but it's also an excellent book for anyone looking to start or manage a business of any type.
This book helps establish a set of problem-solving skills that is valuable in virtually any business venture.
Contributor: Patrick Healey | LinkedIn
This book outlines a few fundamentals of business. It stresses the importance of continuous education; the existence of constant change, ebb, and flow of life; and it teaches you to better control your emotions when it comes to financial independence. Making money and managing money are two of the hardest challenges facing business owners. It is imperative to understand the reasoning behind this book, even if you don’t agree 100% with the methods through which it is being conveyed, and the conclusions which the author arrives at. His points continue to stand the test of time.
Contributor: Nate Masterson
Looking to master yourself, to discipline yourself? Looking to unlock new ways and means of obtaining social, physical, mental, and spiritual health and wealth? This book can help be your guide. Change - as previously mentioned - is a constant, though sometimes it seems the only thing not changing is us! Becoming better at these habits is something which takes effort, trial and error periods, and no small amount of dedication. Knowing these habits and incorporating them into your thought process will help make you money and keep you sane.
Contributor: Nate Masterson
This is a fable, and as such it can provide certain truths in a way which may not as straightforward as other books. There is a great upside to this: fables have a way of entering our mind through the ‘back door’, and they ease into our consciousness with less trouble than ordinary books do. It’s a story, after all. This book is all about accepting change and rolling with it. This is something that many people have trouble doing. We become set in our ways sometimes, and as a result we blind ourselves from noticing new opportunities and beneficial courses.
Contributor: Nate Masterson
10 Secrets to Instant Happiness is a mindset overhaul! It teaches you how to cope with day to day situations by using mindset techniques. This is so powerful as once you have the correct mindset, happiness and success will flow abundantly into your life!
You cannot start a successful and profitable business without first having a Success Mindset 🙂
Contributor: Annalise Green | Facebook
In my opinion, this book is a vital read because it showed me just how important it is network in your business. Keith shows just how much business is done through your network of contacts, colleagues, and friends.
He then goes on to describe exactly how to build your network, and how to use that to grow your business. The best part is that is relatively simple... he breaks down how easy it is to have lunch with colleagues, and yet how valuable it is to be continually focusing on these areas of your business.
This book opened my eyes to how a small business can grow through the process of getting to know people, and then providing value to them. I have personally used these techniques countless times, and I can honestly say that some of my greatest achievements in business have come out of the processes that Ferrazzi describes in Never Eat Alone.
Contributor: Allen Michael (Founder / Editor)
Jim takes a quantitative look at thousands of companies, and narrows down his search until he comes to just a handful of companies that consistently outpace the competitors and explores why. This is the perfect management book as it deals with culture, finance, technology, HR, sales, leadership, etc at a level that anyone can understand while using real life examples that we're great companies over a prolonged period of time. Collins writing style flows extremely well, which makes it easy to read on a plane, or after a long day at the office where you just want to turn your brain off for a few hours.
Contributor: John Runcie | LinkedIn
This was the first book I read after university after taking a position as a buyer with a forestry company. It transformed the way I approached a negotiation, and the way I thought about the process to reaching an agreement. Ury acknowledges the emotional aspects of negotiating and then provides tools to overcome some of those perceived awkward moments that can cause each of us duress in the situation.
Contributor: John Runcie
When Zig Ziglar's came on the business/motivation scene, his approach to doing business was unique. While everyone else in business and leadership was focused on me first and me, me, and me again he focused on serving the greater good by serving others. Although you were building and running a business, to be successful and leave a legacy one should consider why they are in business and who they are serving. This approach was pivotal for me because of my altruistic nature. I wasn't comfortable with stepping on people or doing 'whatever it takes' to get ahead. His teaching allowed me to advance and stay true to my nature.
John C. Maxwell's leadership training, I believe, picks up where ZigZiglar leaves off. It's as if he grabs the baton and takes business / leadership / motivation to the next level. He considers where society is today in it's thought processes. Maxwell embraces service to others but also places necessary emphasis on being the best version of yourself to be successful. In a business society where branding, branding, branding is the mantra, Maxwell's approach basically says, 'you are the brand'. If you aren't the best you can be then your brand won't be either. Improve self, improve your business.
Simon Sinek gets to the heart of the matter, quite literally. Why are you even doing what you're doing? What's it all for? The answer to that question will drive everything you do in business and life going forward. This has been helpful for me because knowing the why keeps me grounded and determined in the face of adversity and challenges. Building a business isn't for the faint of heart. Every day I must motivate myself to keep at it. Reminding myself of my why forces me to square my shoulders, put a smile on my face, lace up my proverbial running shoes, and get going with my business day!
Going on with my business day in the face of obstacles and challenges led me to write my book, S.H.I.N.E. and WIN: 5 Keys to Conquer the Fear of Failure. I had to throw that in given the fact that most people don't even launch out into business because they are afraid to fail. Failure is a good thing and should be looked at in a more positive light. There is a way to not only push past the fear but conquer it!
One of the best books any future business owner can read and pay attention to is Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. Far too many business owners are focused on only the top line growth numbers, when in reality, what matters most is the 'real income'...profit, that comes into the business. Profit will make or break your business.
Contributor: Tom Reber
I suggest this book because every business must have a process for bringing in customers to generate sales or the business will die. The author, Claude Hopkins, writes about how to do this. He gives several examples of what works and why. He also explains things not to do. While many books are written about advertising tricks, Hopkins clearly explains what really works and how to use simple human nature to motivate buyers. The book is a fairly quick read but should be required reading for all business owners.
Contributor: Andy Curry
Why Do The Best Run Companies Often Have The Hardest Time Growing?
The Growth Gears provides a simple framework as well as tools and action steps for identifying and adding these “gears” to give your company a set of repeatable behaviors and processes to fully capitalize on your market potential. Pete and Art bring their years of executive marketing experience, and their years of building a national management consulting firm, to lead you from insight to strategy to execution. The books shows readers how to:
- Determine if your business is operationally oriented or market oriented
- Identify opportunities for business growth
- Understand why marketing execution is sometimes not effective
- Assure ongoing market relevance
- Increase the returns on your marketing program
- Align your organization and your employees behind your market-focused initiatives to grow your organization
As a book publisher, there is one book in the Made for Success catalog that I would suggest every business owner should read. Written by the late Zig Ziglar, this 2017 release is one of the best I’ve read on structuring a perfect balance between life and work.
Born to Win: Find Your Success
As the last book written by the late Zig Ziglar, he will reveal your surest path to success and help your untapped greatness become visible. After writing more than thirty books, nine of which are best sellers, Zig again delivers life changing wisdom.
For more than 50 years, in a style that is unquestionably his own, Zig Ziglar has used his quick wit, down-home charm, and abundance of energy to inspire excellence in people throughout the world. In Born to Win, Zig's nonstop passion inspires and informs as Zig speaks to you as if you're sitting front-row center in his sold-out seminar. In Born to Win you'll learn:
- To achieve balance by becoming a more complete person in seven key areas of your life
- How to develop and maintain a winner's attitude and use it to achieve significant personal growth
- How to build stronger professional and personal relationships using your own unique behavioral style
- How to become a better leader, parent, and employee by learning the art of effective communications
Contributor: Bryan Heathman
My favorite business book is The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss.
I read this book before launching my online counseling business, and I’m so glad I did. How often do you read a business book that changes the way you see time? I loved that he stressed the importance to being in control of your own time at work and also in your personal life.
After reading this book, I started batching things together- running errands, cooking for a few meals instead of just one, doing all my business writing on the same day, etc. He also stresses getting rid of distractions, so I now have all the alerts shut off on my phone, and I return phone calls, texts, and emails at a set time in my day. This helps me to super focus on the task in front of me, which means I get more done in a shorter amount of time!
Contributor: Heidi McBain
There are so many good business books to read from Good to Great to Lee Icaoco's biography. However the one that I go back to over and over as I have started companies is Robinson Crusoe. I know this is not technically a business book, but it is a book about survival.
Starting up and running companies is really about survival. Since about 96 percent of companies fail within the first ten years... running companies is often really about surviving those years before you have a chance to thrive. Think about it this way - One man left alone on an island with virtually nothing needs to learn new skills to survive. Doesn't that sound similar to running a business? Scott W Johnson
Contributor: Scott W Johnson | LinkedIn
Dr. W. Edwards Deming, one of the legendary founders of the worldwide quality movement (whose techniques and training methods helped propel Japan to its economic boom through improved quality and efficiency), demonstrated his uncommon management philosophy using the format of his four-day, hands-on seminars. Deming's seminars routinely had an audience comprised of engineers, managers, and business owners -- and some of them were initially skeptical of his philosophy. But most were won over by the end of the seminar, and many have returned to hear Deming's words a second time. Through this short, unique book, readers can experience the wisdom he imparted during those seminars.
Contributor: Timothy Wiedman | LinkedIn
Though written by a psychiatrist (who later became an internationally-recognized organizational consultant and corporate trainer), this reasonably-short, easily digested book is a practical guide to help entrepreneurs (as well as their managers and employees) overcome the self-sabotage that often blocks career advancement, business success, and overall satisfaction (both on and off the job). Real-life examples drawn from Dr. Goulston's consulting experience demonstrate how his clients have achieved success by following his advice.
Contributor: Timothy Wiedman | LinkedIn
The book was originally recommended to me by a friend who is the only female partner at an engineering firm. She said that the book totally changed her life and influenced her work ethic as she struggled to find balance at home and in her male-dominated workplace.
The author's goal is to strip away the idea that everything should always be happy and that you should make lemonade out of life's proverbial lemons. Instead, he says, you should just suck it up, move on, and learn how to not give a f**k.
It seems counterintuitive, but for someone who is trying to start their own business, there's going to be a lot of difficult hurdles, rejections, government red tape, money losses, friendship losses, relationships strains, the list goes on. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k helps you learn how to prioritize the things that really matter to you and to take everything else in a stride.
Honestly, if you're planning on having your own business, this kind of attitude is a must if you want any kind of success.
Contributor: Michelle Pettit | Entrepreneurial advisor at Business.org
I think the most important book that every future business owner should read is From Impossible to Inevitable by Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross. The book is focused on SaaS technology companies, but frankly a lot of the lessons contained within are also completely relevant for other types of small businesses.
They focus on customer retention and strategies on how to deepen and improve relationships with your customers. This is important regardless of whether you are a software company or a restaurant. I see Jason Lemkin as one of the greatest business thought leaders of our decade, particularly with respect to small businesses and start-ups. I found this book to be absolutely jam packed with great strategies to handle the thousands of business situations that will come up for the leaders of a small company.
Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I noticed is not on your list. This powerful book changed the way I look at myself and my business. I took a class on this book and still maintain a strong mastermind around the book. Being an entrepreneur is nothing but a spiritual journey and this book teaches the top things that all the great, successful American entrepreneurs, turned moguls, mastered. From Ford to Edison and Filene of Filene's Basement to opera singers, readers are walked through Desire, Faith, goal setting, controlling your mind to organized planning and much, much more. It is more than a book, it is a way of being every day. I encourage all of my clients to read it and organize a mastermind group with them.
The trick, get the right book. There are a lot of versions out there, but this is the one closest to the original.
Carol S. Dweck's book Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success to learn the importance of having an open mind that enables a person to willing tackle tasks at which he or she may fail. With a closed mind, business owners are at a grave risk because they may not be willing to undertake potential opportunities. An open mindset is particularly vital for considering a customer's perspective rather than the business owner's perspective to ensure a business that is user friendly (the importance of which I describe in this blog post).
The Seven Essential Tips for Marketing in Today's 24/7 Digital World available on Business Expert Press at budurl.me/7marketingtips.
An out of the box suggestion is So, You Want to Franchise Your Business. If someone is starting a business, unless the idea is to build and sell the entity, a prudent entrepreneur must think expansion for the future. There are two options, either open units with managers, ala Starbucks, or alternatively: franchise. Franchising, by definition, is using other people’s money to expand. I suggest that before someone even starts a business they should understand what it would take to make it franchise-able. The best book for that is, So, You Want to Franchise Your Business by Harold Kestenbaum and Adina Genn.
Geno Wickman's Traction: The best book for any entrepreneur is Geno Wickman's Traction.
Wickman calls his system the Entrepreneur's Operating System (EOS) and he lays out a framework small business owners to use to build, run and expand their businesses. The book contains a one-page (double-sided) business plan form that entrepreneurs can take to lenders and a great meeting organizer I use every week. It's the most practical approach to running a small business I've ever run across. I love it so much I've given it to friends as gifts.
Contributor: Diane Trim
Every entrepreneur should read Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook by the infamous Tony Robbins himself. This book compiles knowledge from fifty of the business world's best and brightest to bring together a step-by-step guide of how to rethink one's financial life in order to achieve financial freedom and success. Whether you're a finance expert or a complete novice, this book brings refuge to anyone looking for financial guidance from both a business and personal standpoint.
Contributor: Steve Wang
Every future business owner should read Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership. This book has been incredibly enlightening for me and has given me fantastic guidance. Dave is one of the most recognized business leaders in the world so to get his perspective and his thoughts on running a business is priceless. Combine that with the practical, and relatable advice he gives you that you can pretty much immediately start implementing in your business, no matter the size, makes this book an absolute must read. He also has a style all of his own when it comes to management and running his company so it is a unique perspective that you don't get from many other books.
Contributor: Vivek Chugh | LinkedIn
As an entrepreneur, business leader, and marketer -- Cialdini's book on Influence is one of the top books I always recommend for everyone to read. It explains the psychology of why people say yes, and I've found it broadly applicable to all kinds of relationships from your customers, your partners, and even your employees.
This isn't one of those books that is full of hacks and tactics; instead, it focuses on the psychology of why those tactics work through the six principles he introduces. This invites a deeper understanding of why certain business tactics are effective. Over the past decade I find myself reaching for it again and again when I'm trying to brainstorm new ideas on how to create effective campaigns for my business.
Contributor: Ada Chen Rekhi | Twitter
The book I believe is a must-read for future business leaders is Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't by Simon Sinek. This book explains how a leader's attitude toward themselves and others sets the tone for the team¹s success or failure. It changed my perspective on my employees and made me realize that every single person in the company is more important than I am. One of my jobs is to make sure that all of my employees are happy and taken care of.
Picture it: It's 1963 and hundreds of thousands in Washington DC are marching in protest of segregation. What if their storied leader Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. stands before the Lincoln Memorial and says:
I have a dream... of a fully-integrated, mission-critical, conflict-resolution application to repudiate racial subdivisions while delivering unprecedented congruity among myriad ethno-racial and socio-economic verticals, deployable across diverse, macro-environments synergistically that will be efficacious in transmuting global, ancestral infrastructure and ideology.
Would this message compel you to stand up for desegregation? Can it even sell sex to a sailor? Yet this is type of gobbledygook is what businesses use today in their press releases, websites, ads. To exorcise the demean within you that speaks vapid business jargon, you must become a disciple of Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.
They lay out a simple formula for making your message stick whether you aim to end global warming or get people to buy fidget spinners. The six key principles spell SUCCESS (almost): simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories.
To sell anything whether it be a product or an idea, you must tell stories that are visual, easy to remember, counterintuitive and make people feel angry, happy, indignant. etc. Make them feel what you want them to feel through a story.
My favorite book is All In by Bill Green. Having started his business empire from a flea market, business guru and serial entrepreneur Bill Greens shares the business secrets he used to get to the top of the industrial world. For aspiring entrepreneurs, this book is evidence and a reminder that anyone can go from being an ordinary salesman to being the founder and CEO of a globally successful business.
Contributor: Jennifer Roquemore
I wrote this book to educate people on exactly what public relations is and how it works, and came out of a class I taught on the same subject at SCORE Chicago for five years. The secret to every great company is their ability to tell their story well, not just to media for PR but through their website, social media, advertising and more. I walk people through understanding the media, how to think like a journalist and how to develop their compelling business story. The book includes worksheets and tasks to help an entrepreneur understand what their story is and how to tell it across all platforms to create a successful strategy for growth.
Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury - a microcosm of the chocolate industry, but really pertains how to run a company in any industry with humanistic values that can make a difference in the world today..a very fun marketing book and a fun read no matter what business you are in.
Contributor: Craig Wolfe
The book I always recommend is “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel. This book is, just as the subtitle says, a collection of notes by Peter Thiel, former PayPal co-founder and early investor in Facebook.
The reason I recommend this book is because Peter Thiel is a seasoned investor and most start-ups’ main goal is to acquire funding. Even if that is not your goal this book will teach you to think like an investor and outline what investors look for. Why is this important even if you are not looking for funding? Because investors look at things that point towards a healthy business and you definitely want to be a healthy business.
Peter Thiel encourages you to ask questions about your business that will uncover whether or not you are headed towards success or a fiasco. It will help you avoid very basic mistakes a lot of new founders make. It’s a short book that you can finish fairly quickly, yet comprehensive enough to leave you with a lot of new found knowledge.
Questions Thiel will encourage to ask yourself range from whether or not you are creating a breakthrough technological improvement or just an incremental change, whether or not it is the right time to begin your business, whether or not you have the right team, market and the right delivery /distribution systems to market your product, whether or not your position will be defendable against big competitors now and in the future. Fundamental questions every business owner should be able to answer but my experience shows that most are not.
DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company - Russell Brunson: Russell explained in detail the value ladder and how to implement in your business. Implementing this technique with our sales team lead to tremendous growth across the company.
Contributor: Ian McClarty | LinkedIn
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity - David's book taught me about breaking down thoughts into actions and learning how to apply common sense to everyday stressful business scenarios. I have been able to better balance work and life stress and achieve a place a sense of calm while growing a company.
Contributor: Ian McClarty | LinkedIn
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