One of the things almost every small business owner will tell you is that you can never know too much. The art of being a successful business owner can never be mastered because it is constantly evolving, and business owners are always one step behind. New or newer business owners especially face this difficulty because they have less experience and, as a result, are less familiar with the myriad of problems that can arise while running business. Learning from the trial and error of others is one of the best ways to avoid lack of experience problems. You can join a group with other entrepreneurs, talk with other entrepreneurs you know, or even just look around online for business owners like yourself. But in the off chance you don’t have time to join groups and set up lunch dates, here are eight great books (in no particular order) to help you out.
1. Built to Sell: Turn Your Business into One You Can Sell by John Warrillow and Bo Burlingham. This book is great for all business owners looking to be successful, not just those who intend to sell their business one day. After all, the best business to buy is a successful one.
2. The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself by John Jantsch. As discussed last week, one of the best ways to build your customer base is to find your company’s advocates and help them recommend you to everyone! This book can help you with some of the nuances of getting referrals without irritating your customers.
3. The 24-Hour Customer by Adrian C. Ott. This is a great book for helping you appeal to your customers. One of the biggest things that’s evolving in the business world today is the consumer. Gone are the days where you actually knew the people who came into you business. Now people are busier than ever and getting them to stop and take note of your product can be a real challenge.
4. Competitive Selling by Landy Chase. Selling your product can be one of the most difficult tasks when running a business. The author’s real world advice is very beneficial to the business owner looking to win customers.
5. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. An oldie but a goodie, this one is frequently on the entrepreneur’s must read list. While running a business is about a little more than winning friends, employees can be one of the most difficult tasks a business owner faces. Dale Carnegie can aid you in getting what you want out of people (in a good way!).
6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Another classic, this book is especially helpful for the new business owner learning to manage running a business and everything else, all at the same time.
7. Groundswell by Josh Bernoff. When you talk about evolving business, the first thing that comes to mind is social media. If the 21st century has taught us nothing else, we have learned that the internet is everywhere. This book will help you develop a social media plan for your business, an especially beneficial tool for those of you who didn’t spend all your college nights on Facebook.
8. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. If you’ve ever found yourself in a marketing rut, this is the book for you. Putting things on the internet and getting it to actually market something are two entirely different processes. This book provides a process for making your market “stick” to the internet.
Being a small business owner is no easy feat. It’s a job that constantly changes and runs into new problems while still expecting you to be 100% prepared. Making sure you are 100% prepared isn’t as hard as it sounds though when you build off the experiences of others. These books will guide you in the right direction and introduce you to the wealth of knowledge of those who have gone before you. Happy reading!
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