Starting your own business is for the courageous. You want to be sure that you’ve done all you can to position yourself for success when you realize that more than 1 in 5 new businesses fail within the first year. That naturally entails conducting a ton of market research, but it also means learning about small business survival tactics from those who have already succeeded in the field.
Speak to businesspeople you know, visit some blogs, but also take some time to study some classic business books. With the help of this list of the top books for establishing a business, you may educate yourself on some important entrepreneurial lessons.
The capacity to analyze a situation, apply lessons learned, and develop creative solutions is vital for entrepreneurs, however, these skills may be useful to just about anyone. Here are the top business books to include on your reading list if you’re an entrepreneur:
1. Best Overall: The Lean Startup By Eric Ries
Startups are anticipated to grow even under the most unpredictable circumstances. Even with a strong core offering, changing markets, industry advancements, and the millions of other factors necessary to build a successful business, things can move so quickly that your company could get left behind.
Although Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup is targeted at early-stage startups, its concepts hold for every type of company. Instead of overplanning to encapsulate its essential themes, this book encourages testing periodically and makes small advances.
One of the reasons so many entrepreneurs and small business owners like this book is its emphasis on flexibility and practicality. And, at a little under 300 pages, it’s not a particularly lengthy read.
Lean Startups encourage you to “get out of the office” as soon as possible and speak with clients. However, as Steve Jobs put it, “it is not the customer’s business to know what they want.” Startups are more likely to aim for incremental improvements by concentrating on what customers want right now rather than trying to anticipate what they will want in the future since they are focused on receiving quick feedback from customers on their Minimum Viable Products.
2. Runner-Up, Best For Startups: The E-Myth Revisited By Michael Gerber
Do you spend too much time running your business rather than working on it? The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber: Why Small Businesses Fail and What to Do About It. Though written in 2009, the fundamental lesson is still relevant for small business owners today.
Gerber walks you through the company lifecycle, common misconceptions about running a business, and how to avoid common errors in this book based on his 40 years of experience in small business.
Whatever field you’re in, this book will probably help you get through your business challenges and advance your company. And for many business owners, this book served as their beacon of guidance in a cutthroat environment. This book offers a step-by-step guide for starting your project after you’ve determined whether it will be successful.
The book discusses how inadequate staffing is the primary cause of small business failure and lays out a clear strategy for how to address this issue in your own company.
The tenets of Gerber are based on a business strategy from the industrial era.
The average industrial-age business sells a widget, and the only way to expand is to scale up the sale of more widgets. The issue is that the market will only accept paying an average price because the widget is consistently average and manufactured by average people performing average duties. Therefore, the only lever a manager can pull in the company machine to produce a profit is to manage costs.
3. Best For Managing Finances: Profit First By Mike Michalowicz
Traditional business accounting techniques are criticized by Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First because they are counterintuitive and this leads many business owners to fail. He then goes on to describe a different accounting system that he refers to as the “profit first” technique.
Small business owners rapidly learn that getting paid is more challenging when it comes to the financial side of their operations. Profit First is entirely on accounting, in contrast to the first two business classics.
And it’s not a bore. Michalowicz focuses on streamlining small business accounting and offering insights that can assist you in improving your cash flow rather than supplying you with complicated spreadsheet methods.
It’s one of the shorter books on the list, so it might only take a week to read it, but it might radically alter the course of your business. Everyone with great business ideas who wants to avoid bankruptcy should read Profit First. It is efficient and simple to use.
Negative Profit First reviews frequently fault the book for being tedious or lacking important concepts. Others claim that the strategies and processes suggested in the book are superfluous and complicate the already complex standard commercial accounting.
4. Best For Branding: Crush It! By Gary Vaynerchuk
Developing a recognizable brand can differentiate a good company from a great one. Before your business even launches, you should start working on creating your brand so that once it is up and running, you can start interacting with your target audience and generating revenue.
Gary Vaynerchuk has established himself as an influential figure in business circles and is aware of the value of great branding. In “Crushing It!” He explains the core concepts of powerful branding and demonstrates the significance of having a well-defined brand.
The book offers advice on how to build your company’s brand in a way that appeals to the target market while staying true to your core values. You should read Vaynerchuk’s advice on how to make the most of social media if you intend to use it to market your company.
First, as has been said, Vaynerchuk began his career in his father’s already prosperous wine merchant firm. Vaynerchuk used creative social media branding to grow his father’s firm (from $4 million to, he claims, $50 million), but this does not make his success easily reproducible for the others he is advising to “smash it” as he did.
It also doesn’t seem prudent for him to advise people to quit their professions and “follow their passion,” especially when many of them don’t have the financial support of their families. He’s never “been there” (struggling, like most people, without a lucrative family business to fall back on). His advice to work nonstop and follow your passion could be very reckless, particularly in this harsh economic climate.
5. Best For Female Entrepreneurs: Women Who Launch By Wagman-Geller
When beginning their enterprises, women frequently encounter additional difficulties and hardships, especially when it comes to things like obtaining capital. Although it might be downright frustrating, “Women Who Launch” provides inspiration and determination to keep pursuing entrepreneurship success.
Wagman-Geller features some female entrepreneurs who overcame obstacles to build their brands. Spanx inventor Sara Blakely and Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low are both included in the stories, but the overall concept is universal. The book honors women who took control of their careers to leave enduring commercial legacies.
Written in her poetic prose, it is as sassy and brilliant as the ladies featured in it have campaigned for women’s rights and gender equality. It also offers well-researched insights into the ladies who should have received much more attention than they have.
Even though the book calls itself “feminist,” the author spends most of the time discussing men. Almost every chapter begins with a male or is utterly unrelated to the theme. Additionally, it ignores the problems with some of the book’s subjects, such as Coco Chanel’s antisemitism. Strangely, for a book that is supposed to celebrate powerful women, the few chapters on women of color do not delve into detail about their lives, including those of Alicia Garza and Tarana Burke.
6. Best For Productivity: Atomic Habits By James Clear
When establishing a business, you want to make every second count because time can be one of the most significant things you have as an entrepreneur. “Atomic Habits” can be good if you find it hard to complete tasks and advance your business.
Author James Clear explains how habits form and why it’s necessary to comprehend the process if you want to change or develop new ones. His main argument is that by making minor adjustments over time significant improvements can be observed.
Although “Atomic Habits” is ultimately more of a self-improvement book than a business book, it is nevertheless helpful because it can help you reconsider your daily routine and behavior patterns. You may improve your productivity and take the necessary actions to promote business success by carefully modifying your behaviors.
Agility is complemented by the concept of constraints. Agile is a method of software development that is used by many programmers and companies. Its philosophy is straightforward to comprehend. Think about taking a minute to read through its guiding ideas. Also, see how agile prioritizes adapting to change over sticking to a plan.
The author offers a suggestion that is not logical by drawing an incorrect inference from the British cycling example.
7. Best On Leadership: Leaders Eat Last By Simon Sinek
Starting a business can occasionally be a one-person show. Hiring staff might not be on your priority list, for instance, if you want to go it alone as a freelancer. But it’s beneficial to grasp what makes a successful leader whether you’re starting your business with a team or believe you’ll need to create one at some time.
Simon Sinek emphasizes this in his book “Leaders Eat Last.” He explains how leaders may foster trust among team members and why doing so is crucial for boosting motivation and enhancing performance.
The book’s informal, conversational tone offers a novel perspective on what it means to lead well. Overall, it’s a very relatable read about why collaboration is important, and you’ll gain some practical advice on how to hone and improve your leadership abilities.
The pyramid may have worked in the era of pensions, but in the digital age, where one person is able to perform the duties of three due to technology and the ongoing evolution of one’s skill set, employees need the chance to advance through the ranks. Otherwise, the top employees will go on to better opportunities. Furthermore, it is easy to locate better discounts. Furthermore, with only a few clicks, you can immediately access salary information from rival companies.
8. Best For Motivation: Grit By Angela Duckworth
With Grit, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth sends a strong message: By just working hard and persevering, you can become the best version of yourself, regardless of the natural abilities you were born with.
She illustrates how “grit,” which Duckworth defines as a unique blend of passion and tenacity, can help anyone—from students to parents, athletes to business owners—achieve success.
Grit demonstrates via research and personal stories that enthusiasm and a strong work ethic are more important for success than natural skill. In essence, she explains to readers how and why, provided they are dedicated to working hard for it, they may attain their goals.
Angela acknowledges the existence of talent in Grit (defining talent as the rate at which a person learns with effort), but contends that “a focus on talent distracts us from something at least as important, and that is effort.” Angela also emphasizes the importance of cultivating other character strengths (such as humility, social intelligence, kindness, and so on) for life success.
The main issue with the book is that the author chose to cash in by creating a different type of book intended for the (bigger) self-help/business market rather than writing a popularization targeted at the intellectual/policy market. The issue with this strategy is that the self-help market wants the success formula, not to learn about boundaries. Duckworth promotes “grit” as the key to success because it gives one the ability to overcome any challenge.
It can be challenging to consider reading a book as being a part of your business journey, perhaps since it is also a leisure activity. A leisurely activity like reading can seem like a waste of time in today’s fast-paced, digital world, but this is untrue.
Reading stimulates the mind. Reading shouldn’t be seen as a “waste of time” for business owners in the same way that we wouldn’t consider jogging or weightlifting to be a “waste of time” for athletes.
Reading is learning; it not only relieves stress but also fosters the communication, problem-solving, and creative thinking abilities that are crucial for becoming a successful entrepreneur.