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Learn from the Experts: The Best Books For Starting a Business
So you want to start a business? That’s amazing. But before you take the plunge, gathering information from those who have gone before you is crucial.
To help guide you through your first few steps in business, we’ve put together a list of books about creating businesses – all written by experts who have been where you’ll be going soon enough.
To create radically successful businesses, you need to understand how to:
- Come up with a profitable business idea
- Acquire the necessary skills
- Develop a business plan
- Securing investment from outsiders
- Competing against other businesses – and winning.
The books on this list will give you the skills you need to be a business owner and not just any business owner – a wildly successful business owner who can master small business growth.
The journey to starting your own business is an exciting one, but it’s also full of uncertainty. These books will give you the foundation of knowledge needed to succeed. So, let’s dive in!
1. One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs: Live Your Dreams and Create Your Own Profitable Company
Author: Stephen Key
Publication Year: 2015
Number of Pages: 256
Stephen Key, an award-winning entrepreneur, and inventor has written a how-to guide on generating ideas for businesses. If you need help thinking of what business to start, this book is for you.
With Key’s straightforward advice and easy-to-follow process, you’ll be able to develop your idea, launch your business, and start making money right away. And with his helpful tips for managing and growing your new enterprise, you can be sure that your success will last long into the future.
Key, as an entrepreneur himself, has been on the ground floor of many businesses and he’s now sharing his expertise with you so that you can create your products. Creating, manufacturing, and selling your product does not require a large investment of money or expertise. All you need is a viable concept and the desire to make it happen.
Key Takeaways from One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs:
- Come up with an idea, test it to see if it works, and then protect it so that no one can steal it from you.
- Prepare and launch your own business.
- Create a product, package it, market it, then sell it and make money.
- Manage and scale your business
2. Crushing it! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence – and How You Can, Too
Author: Gary Vaynerchuk
Publication Year: 2018
Number of Pages: 288
Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our generation. He’s the kind of thought leader who makes you feel like starting your own business is not only possible but easy.
He has created many businesses from the ground up. He started with his family’s wine business and then moved on to start several other companies. He’s a best-selling author, public speaker, and investor.
In his new book, he shares lessons from his own experiences and from the experiences of other entrepreneurs. He shows that a personal brand is essential to business success. And he provides tips on how to create a business model that will make you rich—personally and financially.
Crushing It! is a guide to help you achieve professional and financial success. However, it is not about becoming rich. It is about living life on your terms.
Gary has a unique perspective on business and branding, and he shares his insights in a relatable, down-to-earth way that makes it easy for others to follow his advice and achieve their dreams. If you’re looking for inspiration and practical advice on starting your own business, Gary Vaynerchuk is the man to listen to.
This book is super helpful for entrepreneurs who want to learn how to create a personal brand that sells. It’s also great for business owners who want to take their businesses to the next level.
Key Takeaways from Crushing It:
- Build a personal brand that will make you rich
- No need to start with a product to make money from your brand
- Create a business model that will make you even richer
- Use social media to build your brand and sell your products
3. Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works
Author: Melinda F. Emerson
Publication Year: 2010
Number of Pages: 272
Melinda Emerson is the founder and CEO of Quintessence Multimedia. She’s been a business coach for over 20 years and has started several businesses herself. In Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, Emerson outlines a step-by-step plan to create a successful business.
Each month, leading to the launch, readers are given tasks to work on – from getting your personal life in order to build a great team to developing marketing strategies. This book is perfect for those who crave a structure and a plan to follow as they work on starting their business.
So, what makes Melinda qualified to write a book on starting your own business? For starters, she’s been there herself. She knows firsthand what it takes to get a business off the ground, from developing a business plan to recruiting employees and everything in between.
Additionally, she has helped countless other entrepreneurs launch their businesses, so she’s familiar with the challenges and obstacles they face. In other words, she knows what it takes to become your boss in 12 months – and she’s here to help you do it, too.
Reading this book is the equivalent of hiring a business coach, but for a fraction of the cost. It will help you map out your business plan and keep you on track each month. Plus, it’s written in an easy-to-read style, so you won’t get bogged down in boring details.
Key Takeaways from Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months:
- The book is written in a step-by-step style, with each month leading up to the launch of your business.
- It’s perfect for those who crave structure and want a plan to follow.
- The book covers everything from getting your personal life to building a great team and developing marketing strategies.
- It’s an easy read that won’t bog you down with boring details.
4. The Lean Start-Up: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses
Author: Eric Ries
Publication Year: 2011
Number of Pages: 368
The Lean Start-Up is a different kind of business book. It’s not about starting a business the traditional way, with a well-thought-out business plan and years of research. Instead, it’s about starting a business the lean way – with a minimal amount of resources and a maximum amount of flexibility.
Eric Ries, an American entrepreneur, blogger, and author, has come up with a new way to build startups that uses less money and gets more out of people’s creativity. This approach is based on the lessons he learned from leading startups as well as the principles of lean manufacturing, which focus on reducing waste.
This book helps entrepreneurs learn how to deal with uncertainty. You can do this by testing your ideas with a small product first often known as a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). This will help you learn and improve your ideas. This approach has been successfully used by many startups. The Lean Startup book is a well-known guide for entrepreneurs.
The Lean Startup offers a repeatable process. It’s super easy to learn. Essentially you need to figure out what customers want and then give it to them as quickly as possible. This process is called the build-measure-learn feedback loop.
Key Takeaways from The Lean Startup:
- Create an MVP to test and optimize your strategy.
- Validate your ideas with customers
- Iterate quickly on your product
- Use data to make decisions
- Maximize your chances of success
5. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!
Author: Al Ries and Jack Trout
Publication Year: 1993
Number of Pages: 160
Marketing is inevitable for any business, big or small. And while some may view marketing as a “dark art”, the fact is, it’s essential to the success of any business. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the basics of marketing and how to create a successful marketing strategy.
This book is a classic when it comes to marketing. It outlines 22 rules that companies use to be successful. If you want your products and company to be more successful, follow these rules.
Published in 1993, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing was written as a guide for companies on how to make their products successful internationally. You could aim big and try and compete with huge companies, but that would be a mistake. Instead, the authors advocate for finding a niche market and becoming the leader in that space.
Key Takeaways from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing:
- Don’t worry about coming in the first place if you can’t. Just focus on being the first one people think of instead.
- You can avoid competition by creating your own category.
- Remember that each product comes with an opportunity cost.
- The goal of a startup is to figure out what customers want and will pay for as quickly as possible.
- Use MVPs to test your value and growth hypothesis quickly.
6. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
Author: Clayton M. Christensen
Publication Year: 1997
Number of Pages: 336
Technology is essential for businesses to maintain a competitive edge, but it can also be an attractive disruption target.
The Innovator’s Dilemma makes a crucial distinction between “sustaining” and “disruptive” technologies and argues that even the most successful companies are at risk if they don’t recognize when a disruptive technology is threatening their business model.
It’s not easy to take down big businesses, but with Christensen’s framework, it is possible. The competitive edge of a startup is the flexibility and ingenuity to embrace new disruptive technologies.
Startups introduce new products into lower-margin markets. This can be a good way to upset the established markets of larger companies.
Startups can often outpace industry titans when it comes to disruption because they start in lower-margin niche markets. This is because the target customer often has different needs than the larger companies aim to serve.
Big companies are slow to serve these kinds of customers due to their size and rigidity. Their flexibility solely lies in their ability to acquire other companies with their acquired resources. But their values and processes are often incompatible, which can make it difficult and rigid.
Tesla is a perfect example of a company that disrupted the auto industry with its innovative electric cars and unique sales model of cars by order only.
Whereas big auto companies like GM have been trying to play catch up, Tesla was able to come in and quickly snag a large piece of the pie.
For GM to pass Tesla, they need to solve the innovator’s dilemma by giving their independent subsidiaries (if they have them) what they need to succeed.
The key takeaways from The Innovator’s Dilemma are:
- Sustaining technologies improve upon the performance of established products, while disruptive technologies target lower-end markets.
- Even the most successful companies can be disrupted if they don’t recognize when a new technology is threatening their business model.
- Startups have a competitive advantage when it comes to disrupting industries because they are more flexible and can embrace new technologies more quickly.
- If a company’s resources, processes, and values don’t match what the market wants, the company will not be successful.
- Market leaders can solve the innovator’s dilemma by acquiring or founding subsidiaries.
7. The Art of the Start 2.0
Author: Guy Kawasaki
Publication Year: 2014
Number of Pages: 288
The thought of starting your own business is both exhilarating and terrifying. Where do you even begin? What should you focus on? How do you prioritize when there are a million things to do? And how do you stay updated on changing trends?
Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start 2.0 is one of the best books out there for anyone starting their own business. Kawasaki has over three decades of experience in the business world, and he’s distilled his wisdom into this must-read guide.
The first edition of The Art of the Start was published in 2004, and a lot has changed in the intervening decade. Kawasaki addresses these changes head-on in the second edition, with new chapters on social media, open source, and crowdfunding.
But The Art of the Start 2.0 isn’t just about the nuts and bolts of starting a business. It’s also about mindset and motivation. Kawasaki urges entrepreneurs to focus on their mission, not just their product. He also talks about the importance of building a great team and creating a company culture that attracts top talent.
The Art of the Start 2.0 is a comprehensive and practical guide to starting your own business. If you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed, this is the book for you.
Key takeaways from The Art of the Start 2.0:
- As an entrepreneur, your first goal should be to create something meaningful, not just make money.
- Make a plan with your milestones, assumptions, and tasks to have a clear goal in mind from the start.
- Focus on mission over product and you’ll be more likely to create something that people want and need.
- Building a great team is essential to the success of your business
Author: Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Publication Year: 2010
Number of Pages: 288
The problem with getting stuck in your head is that it can happen very quickly. And if your like 99% of the population, once you’re stuck, it’s very difficult to get unstuck.
Rework shows you that you don’t need a lot of money to start your own business. Plans usually aren’t helpful, and people who work a lot of hours usually aren’t very productive. You should only hire or look for investors if you have no other choice.
Simplifying is your best friend, especially when getting started. The less you have to worry about, the better. You can always add on later, but it’s much harder to take away.
And finally, don’t be afraid to pick a fight. If you believe in what you’re doing, you need to be willing to fight for it. Whether that means going up against a competitor or simply standing up for your own beliefs, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Rework is a quick read and full of useful information for anyone looking to start their own business. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how to be successful on their own terms.
Key takeaways from Rework:
- You don’t need a lot of money to start your own business.
- Plans can get in the way of movement.
- Hiring and investors should be a last resort.
- Simplification is your best friend.
- Don’t be afraid to pick a fight with competitors, if you believe in what you’re doing.
The truth is, starting a business is hard. It’s a lot of work and there’s no guarantee of success. But it’s not impossible, and the satisfaction of building something from scratch is worth the effort.
If you’re thinking of starting your own business, these books will help you get started on the right foot. After all, the best way to learn is by doing. So roll up your sleeves and get to work! You’ve got this!