Your business requires a great deal of time and energy. Long hours, weekends even, sometimes it may feel as though you are running on empty. But you keep working and keep persevering because you have that dream of watching your small business blossom and succeed! Reading about the success of others, about the paths they took to prosperous entrepreneurship is a great way to refuel your energy and renew that ambition. We've compiled a list of 6 must-reads for small business owners. These come from professors, business professionals and those who've "been there done that" and are now enjoying the fruits of their labor. Reading can only help inspire you and in the process, provide you with some potentially great strategies for utilizing within the context of your own company.
1. ‘The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference' - Malcolm Gladwell
We've all been to that point, that edge where we've pushed so hard and for so long and we just don't feel like we have it in us any longer. In this book, Gladwell encourages those business owners who feel like all but throwing in the towel to keep going. There will be that magical moment when everything comes together and it all just falls into place. You simply have to believe in it.
He combines statistics, stories, and case studies to demonstrate where that "tipping point" lies and what you need to do to get to it!
2. ‘Contagious: Why Things Catch On' - Jonah Berger
A professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Berger here demonstrates why some ideas take off like a rocket while others fall flat. We've all seen those miracle products and/or services that just seem to grab the world's attention. But why? In this book, Berger examines this very question.
Berger really is trying to get to the heart of what might be deemed viral success in this book. Utilizing the acronym STEPPS, he shows what qualities and consequent effects the most successful products possess.
3. ‘The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon' - Brad Stone
Have you ever wondered how the most successful and most powerful business people got to where they are…In The Everything Store, Brad Stone takes us behind the scenes for a look at the most successful business magnate of all time, Jeff Bezos. This was on the NY Times Best Seller List and consequently is a truly inspirational read. Bezos actually began by selling books out of his garage, and from there, well, he created the biggest online empire the world has ever seen. For any business owner who often feels that perhaps their efforts are futile—Bezos' story is that needed a bit of inspiration.
4. ‘Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs' -John Doerr
This book actually has a forward by the co-founder of Google. At its heart, it deals with understanding and managing consumer data.
Highly recommended by none other than Bill Gates, John Doerr's book has the capacity to help any CEO, whether of a large or small company. Utilizing case studies of some of the biggest name companies in existence, to include Cisco and Google, Doerr looks at organizational transformation, at how OKRs are relevant to even small businesses, and at how to create a transparent, motivated and efficient team.
5. ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us' - Daniel Pink
A best-selling author, Pink is no stranger to "how to do business better" books. With this latest, he is rethinking approaches to employee motivation. It's not merely about the short-term, rather, he contends, it's about looking deeper, into that which truly motivates; things like self-fulfillment and determination. This text is as much about psychology as it is business, as Pink shows that the two are definitely not exclusive. By ignoring that which is innate to us as people, companies are suffering. They need to step up, to recognize what drives behavior and apply such fundamental principles on a daily basis.
6. ‘Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business' - Chris Ducker
As a small business owner, you, like every other entrepreneur in the world, has probably suffered from a lack of time. Between running your business and your personal life, it seems there's never enough of it. Entrepreneurs inevitably take work home with them, sometimes they even dream about the job in their sleep.
In Virtual Freedom, Ducker looks intently at the concept of outsourcing and how underutilized this approach currently is. You want to grow your business, achieve higher profits, move toward success, then, according to Ducker, outsourcing is the way to go.
Chris Ducker was at one point a young entrepreneur, and he subsequently spent 14-15 hours a day working. This wore away on him and he was determined to change. By outsourcing, he grew his company and had more time to spend with his family—truly a win-win.
Where to Begin Your Reading…
These books are just a start. Of course, there's a world of literature out there that you as a small business owner can access in order to gain insights, feel inspired and learn lessons that perhaps you've yet to encounter.
We like to think of running a business as a journey. Along the way, you can use books like this among hundreds of others as guideposts. Even, in some cases and depending on the book itself, as "avoid the mistakes I made" lessons. The writers here genuinely seem to want to offer help and hopefully a bit of wisdom to boot. We understand that you probably are pressed for time—being an entrepreneur and all. Why not start then with The Everything Store, if the foundational story of AMAZON doesn't inspire you to keep pressing forward, we don't know what will!