Starting a business is a massive and complex undertaking. It can be extremely rewarding, and allow you to pursue your ambitions. Most businesses fail. In fact two thirds of new businesses have closed within 10 years. Therefore, before you start a business, you should have a detailed plan and a high level of understanding in your niche to minimise the risk.
There are some excellent books which will motivate, inspire and guide you in your own pursuits. Try to read as many as you can, but even one of them might make all the difference and give you a new perspective on how to go-about launching your business.
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- The $100 Start-up – Chris Guillebeau
This book will help inspire your entrepreneurial journey. The book presents case studies – successful businesses that were started for $100 or less. In fact, many of them were set-up for free because an opportunity presented itself. Use this book to motivate you to take the leap and apply the strategies for growth that are offered.
- Disciplined Entrepreneurship – Bill Aulet
This book is, as the title suggests, more focused on the act of entrepreneurship itself. A routine is vital when starting a business. The book details a 24 (yes, twenty-four!) step process on becoming productive and innovating in a business-world where everybody is trying to stand-out.
- Scaling Lean – Ash Maurya Scaling Lean offers a useful blueprint to run your business idea through. Maurya uses real world examples such as AirBnb to justify his ideas. The book details metrics to help measure business success, which will help you understand business performance and where to invest in growth – which is the focus here – to grow and scale up from the incubation stages of a start-up.
- The Startup Owner’s Manual – Steve Blank & Bob Dorf
This book offers some more technical insight into launching a start-up. This includes formulas for helpful metrics, check-lists and a helpful “sin” list of things to avoid! This book is packed with insight. Expect to learn about how to acquire and retain customers. The book also differentiates between online and traditional brick and mortar businesses.
- How To Get Rich – Felix Dennis
This book is a more personal story about wealth accumulation and growth. This is one to read for when thinking of your retirement strategy. It will help you plan a financial future by identifying opportunities. It doesn’t offer some magical secret – no book can. But it details how a working class Londoner became a millionaire “almost by accident”. It is an enjoyable read that should inspire a few lightbulb moments.
- The Lean Start-up – Eric Ries
Eric Ries details common mistakes that force businesses into bankruptcy and how they can be avoided. This book focuses on constant innovation and learning how to understand what your customers want, whilst adapting and modifying your business throughout the process. Traditional business ideas are dismissed in favour of modern adaptations that suit the digital age of business we find ourselves in now.
- Start-up – An Insider’s Guide – Kevin Ready
This book is aimed towards individuals who have a specific skill-set, and want to market that skill and turn it into their business. This book is filled with “behind-the-scenes” understanding of start-ups, what really goes on behind the rags-to-riches stories we often read about. It is a great choice if you are thinking of starting a business within an industry that you have years of experience in. Launching a business is the hardest step and this book details it brilliantly.
- The Start-up Playbook – David Kidder
Kidder undertook over 40 face to face interviews with famous CEOs and founders, and uses this book to share his and their advice with you, with an emphasis on facing and tackling the inevitable problems you will face as a start-up owner. Learn about what it took to build tech giants such as Paypal and Linkedin.
- Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini
This is a fantastic book because although it is not technically a business book, it will teach you skills which will benefit any business-owner. Selling anything is about persuasion; and this book goes into fascinating detail about the psychology behind persuasion. You’ll find yourself implementing the techniques into your everyday life, and practicing on your friends and family!
I think this is a great list, but there are obviously thousands of business books out there. Reading is one of the best things you can do for your brain health – and you’ll learn at the same time. Everybody should read regularly, especially entrepreneurs, to sharpen their skills and allow them to work at their best!