The top 10 small business books I am recommending you read.
Sometimes it is hard to keep up with the latest ideas for small business and making time for reading books can be a bit of a struggle. The last thing you want to do is to make the time and then not get value for that time.
That’s why I have put together this list out of the more than 50 business books I have read in the past 18 months. Obviously you won’t have time to read them all in the next few weeks but depending on your small business idea needs you should find the most suitable ones fairly easily.
These reviews are not in any particular order and by the way, I borrowed all of these from my local library.
Fizz by Ted Wright
We all think we know about word of mouth marketing (WOMM) but Ted has a hugely successful company which specialises in it so be prepared to learn much more than you probably imagine that you need to know.
You will learn about influencers, sampling, making your brand talkable, measuring WOMM and patience. He uses case studies to explain it all and the creativity he shows is inspiring.
You may not have the budget for the type of campaigns he works on so check out Chapter 7 where he explains to small business how to do it yourself.
When you want to understand where to spend marketing dollars this book will be a real eye-opener. And, here’s Ted’s website if you would like to know more. https://fizzcorp.com/
Barking up the wrong tree by Eric Barker
Much of the advice we hear about success and being successful (especially in small business) is utterly wrong. This research-based book is full of intriguing examples of just how wrong it is. Thankfully it is also full of advice about what really works, especially alignment.
It explains the relationship between who you are and where you choose to be, the story that connects you to your world and the work that leverages your natural introversion or extraversion. It covers confidence and forgiving yourself as well as balance.
It is written in an easy to read style with humour but importantly it is underlined with proven facts and interesting stories about the experiments.
If you would like to know more about success than the average quick article will tell you then this is the book for you and you can easily use the recommendations in your small business.
How to build an online business by Bernadette Schwerdt
Regardless of what the title suggests this book essentially outlines how to build any small business. And, it does it in a very readable way with great advice and excellent examples.
Bernadette is also Australian so her case studies tend to relate more to Kiwis than some American studies do.
There are no new ideas here but it is a useful summary of the latest business thinking presented in a manner which makes it easy to dip in and out of to suit your needs.
This is highly recommended if you are at the early stages of starting a small business and would like some practical tips. Here’s Bernadette’s website https://bernadetteschwerdt.com.au/
Finish by Jon Acuff
Give yourself the gift of done. We all have goals that we start but never finish. Until now we have blamed ourselves for our lack of motivation or focus but Jon gives us a totally new perspective on finishing our goals.
The book is based on research done by Mike Peasley from the University of Memphis on participants in Jon’s online goal-setting course. Jon has taken this research and the unusual results discovered and turned it into an entertaining and enlightening book.
I’m sure you’ll be as surprised as I was about some of his recommendations but the research shows that we have definitely been using the wrong tactics to achieve our goals. This is highly recommended for small business owners wanting to achieve their business goals. Check out Jon here https://acuff.me/
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
Forget much of what you thought you knew about marketing and step into the future. It’s not about influencing or selling but about engagement and truly understanding your customers – important concepts for today’s small businesses.
Seth always presents his work in very readable and doable sections. He gives plenty of examples and you will probably make heaps of notes like I did. But, more importantly, you are very likely to completely rethink your methods of marketing.
I encourage you to read this book before you spend another dollar on promoting and marketing your small business so you can ensure that your money will actually bring you the rewards you need. If I was just recommending one book on marketing for small business it would be this one.
Do the work! by Steven Pressfield
This is a small book that everyone in small business should read. Today!
You know the feeling – you’re finding excuses to avoid doing the work that will get your small business started or will take it to the next level. It feels too hard so you just keep putting it off. That’s when you know you need a way to beat your worst enemy – resistance – which leads to doubting, overthinking and hesitating.
Steven has a powerful yet simple way of explaining what is going on when you encounter resistance and how you can outsmart it. The language is plain and the message even plainer but this little book is put together in a way that can’t help but motivate you into action. Check out Steven herehttps://stevenpressfield.com/
Be More Pirate by Sam Conniff Allende
I love it when a book keeps resonating in my thinking weeks after I finish reading it. With this cool book I find myself talking to people about it and making comparisons between various organisations’ past thinking and present reality.
Sam shares his knowledge of the Golden Age of Pirates and their pirate strategies to look at how modern day companies stand out when they utilise their own pirate strategies. While not condoning theft he is recommending the Pirate Code and helps businesses (big and small) develop their personal version. Being More Pirate is about small business rule-breaking, equality, fairness, marketing, team development and so much more and I am glad that it was recommended to me to read. Give it a go if you would like to build your small business differently. And, I have to share this website https://www.bemorepirate.com/
Deep Work by Cal Newport
So often we let shallow work take over our lives because it is easier to do and makes us feel that we are achieving more. Unfortunately this work often isn’t paying well but is taking our energy away from the deep work that our small business needs us to do.
So how can we get focused and ensure we give time to more deep work? Cal Newport shares his rules for ensuring you get away from distraction and have the time and motivation to do the truly productive work you want to be doing. His advice can be actioned immediately and is backed with scientific research not just opinions.
If you find that you are ticking lots of items off your lists but not actually growing your small business then these ideas could be very important for you.
Story Driven by Bernadette Jiwa
With so much being written about story-telling and its importance it is wonderful to go to the source of so much common-sense and expertise to really see how it can be used in any small business. With wonderful examples that make so much sense, it is great to see how she brings the backstory, the values, the purpose, the vision and the strategies that story driven companies use to connect with their communities.
I found myself taking loads of notes because these are wonderful ideas and examples which I can’t wait to share with other small business owners. I highly recommend that any and all small business owners read this book.
Unfair Fight by Sam Hazledine
There are not a lot of business books written by New Zealanders which aren’t more biographical than analytical. Sam has included some information about himself but essentially this is a book about finding a winning advantage for your small business by doing things differently.
He defines the 3 things that differentiation relies on as being Benefit, Process and Source and then explains why each is so important. In doing so he gives great tips for focusing on your customer, delivering on your small business promises and developing a great team and culture along with refining the costs you really should be measuring.
Sam’s writing style is entertaining and there are lots of tips and ideas that should stimulate action. Well worth reading.
And here’s a bonus one for anyone who is having doubts about starting or growing their small business.
What If and Why Not by Jen Groover
Every potential small business owner has doubts. But most people who don’t overcome them will likely have regrets. Here’s a book that addresses all these doubts head-on and turns those “what if” questions around.
It’s practical and full of common sense providing its own “what if” and “why not” questions so you can rephrase the reasons you might have for not starting a small business into reasons why you should.
Jen doesn’t gloss over the issues that a small business will face but she adds a note of positivity which will encourage you to get started. Her 24 hour action plan at the end of each chapter is a great starting point too.
Hopefully you will find this list useful – you might want to bookmark this page so you can go back to it easily when you are looking for new ideas for your small business
The Biz Coach NZ