Whether you’ve been in business for years, or you’re only thinking about starting your own business, these books will educate, inform, and inspire you. This list is really just the beginning–I still have a lot of reading in front of me! So be sure to check back often because I’ll be adding to this list often. And please share your favorite books and how they’ve helped you in the comments below.
Profit First is the newest book by Mike Michalowicz, author of bestselling business books The Pumpkin Plan, and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, and it’s a game changer. Startups and Small Businesses are notorious for losing money and not making a profit. Mike wrote this book to help change that by helping entrepreneurs change the way they approach their business accounting altogether. His approach turns the status-quo on it’s head and it’s about time. Read this book and learn how to start taking your profit first–you owe it to yourself!
Like many creative entrepreneurs I know, I’ve spent most of my time helping my clients become better known, and perfecting my own craft. Platform, by Michael Hyatt, teaches creatives how to ensure they have their own platform–one not dependent upon their business alone. Platform will change the way you think about your business and yourself–because You are not your business. In this book, Michael shares a five-step system that will help you set up a platform, or take the one you have and get it noticed. He provides a very doable five-step formula that anyone can use to leverage the power of the Internet to build a strong platform that gets noticed–one that will sustain your success no matter what you decide to do: grow your existing business, start a new one, write a book, become a speaker–or all of the above.
Branding expert, Maria Ross, demystifies and defines branding for businesses and entrepreneurs in this terrific book, now in it’s second edition. In Branding Basics, Maria explains how a strong brand is not simply about your brand visuals (such as a logo or color choices), but goes much deeper. Branding encompasses the promise you make to your customers and clients, the feelings they have whenever they interact with your brand, and much more. This important book is for anyone with a business, or thinking about starting a one, because understanding your brand and brand strategy is critical and foundational to any successful business.
Leadership Expert and Author, Michelle Tillis Lederman, explains how to build meaningful, lasting business relationships in The 11 Laws of Likability. She helps readers learn how to form authentic connections, spend time having conversations that really matter, and much more. Making business connections, or networking, doesn’t have to be a dreaded activity–it can and should be a life-enriching endeavor that creates a win-win scenario for everyone involved.
Call me a rebel, but I like any book that shows you how to do something in a more efficient way–especially if it involves breaking a few “rules” along way. Rework, written by the brilliant founders of 37 Signals, does just that. Business today is different than it was even five years ago, not to mention 10-15 years ago–no one knows that better than these guys. They’ve build one of the most successful businesses around, and they did in ways that are different than you might guess. If you run your own business, or you’re thinking of launching one, Rework will inspire you to go for it–it’s not as complicated as you might think.
The value of personal referrals in today’s marketplace is hard to over-state. In The Referral Engine, Marketing expert, John Jantsch explains the importance of developing great relationships with and educating your clients and customers so you can create a powerful referral system for your business that will keep new customers coming through the door. If you keep your customers happy, they will be more than happy to tell others about your business. This book is full of practical, easy-to-implement tips, and if you ask me, an absolute must read for everyone on your team.
Chris Brogan is just smart. He knows how to use the power of social media to build business. If you want, you can read his entire blog and learn quite a bit about it–because he’s generous that way. But a much better idea is to grab yourself a copy of his book, Social Media 101, and keep it handy so you can have all of his brilliant tips, and well researched and proven social media tactics in one spot (next to your computer, dog-eared, and well-worn). Similar to other books I’ve mentioned here, it comes down to building relationships–and Brogan knows how to do it online. Once you read it, you will too.
Expert Business Strategist, Charlie Gilkey, writes about The Small Business Life Cycle in sophisticated terms that are also easy–and necessary–to understand. Reading it will help you figure out where your business falls in it’s life cycle, and more importantly, illuminate why so many small businesses get stuck, and most importantly: what to do about it. This short, but essential book should be in every entrepreneur’s library.
Written by the author of It’s Not About You: A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business, The Go-Giver tells the story of a “go-getter” named Joe who wants to be successful (sound familiar)? In the end, Joe discovers the real path to success is by putting others’ first and adding value. It’s an important book for any business owner–because if we make the mistake of thinking our business–our brand–is about us, we will never achieve our true potential. If we align our goals with serving others and offering value, we can realize levels of success far beyond our own imagination.
I like Gary Vaynerchuk so much. He’s funny, generous, and nice (he personally replies to emails for one thing). He’s written a few books, but I’m picking this one for my list because I read it several years ago and it rings as true today as it did when he first wrote it. Gary shares his own success crushing it by harnessing the power of the Internet, and explains how you can do the same. It’s an inspirational read, and anyone who has or wants a business should read it. You’ll get excited and fired up about what’s possible–the sky’s the limit and Crush It! will help you recognize and remember it. Gary’s more recent (and also terrific) books include The Thank You Economy and Jab Jab Jab Right Hook both of which you should check out too!
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By the Way… If you like what you read today, you’ll love this post: Week in Review: The 7 Most Crazy Helpful Resource Links for Entrepreneurs!