Type the word “business” into Amazon and you will find that there are more than 2 million books on the subject—topics including biographies, innovation, inspiration, leadership, management, marketing, mindset, sales, start-ups, and many more. Most are very good, but not all such books are appropriate or useful for all aspiring entrepreneurs.
The following list is specifically chosen for those who have started a business or are thinking of starting one. Some of these books are specific to Internet-based businesses and others deal even more specifically with service businesses.
What all of these books have in common is a level of practicality, meaning that they have useful information—to help you decide on a direction, to get started, to market and advertise effectively, to get control of cash flow, and maybe even to find freedom.
That’s not to say you should skip all the other books. There are many good ones out there that can give you information to improve your life and business. However, these eight are a great place for you to start:
1. As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen
You’ve probably heard of the books: The Secret? Think and Grow Rich? Secrets of the Millionaire Mind? All very good books, but the granddaddy of all such books may be this slim volume, published in 1902. Not much is known about the Englishman who wrote it, but it’s credited with being a significant influence on numerous contemporary “create your own success” coaches and authors, including Norman Vincent Peale and Tony Robbins. Prosperity teacher Bob Proctor said about it: “I believe anybody who reads this book every day for a month will have their lives changed by it.”
2. Rework, by Jason Fried & David Heinemeer-Hansson
This book flies in the face of what you might expect from a book about business. Rather than being dense and authoritative, the chapters are only a few pages each, with plenty of graphic elements, so it’s a quick read. A sample of subjects covered includes: ignoring the competition, why you don’t need plans or outside investors, and why you don’t need to be a workaholic. It’s either total wisdom or total nonsense. It appears to be wisdom though, because the authors are the guys who created the widely-used collaboration software Basecamp. They created a wildly successful product and built a small, loyal company under it. And, true to what they expound inRework, they have kept it that way.
3. E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It,by Michael E. Gerber
Originally published in 1988 (and revised in 2004 as E-Myth Revisited,) this one shows up on many lists of “must reads” for small business owners. And there’s good reason, too. Gerber addresses a common factor in entrepreneurial endeavors, which is that the entrepreneur (the “E” in E-Myth stands for “entrepreneur”) usually has plenty of technical skills but few business skills. E-Myth addresses how to institute the systems that enable the entrepreneur to run his business rather than spending his life just working in it.
4. Accounting for the Numberphobic, by Dawn Fotopulos
For someone just starting out, this book might not seem like a must-read. But once you develop a cash flow, it very well could be. Fotopulos (of the website hiddenprofitprophet.com) knows that many small business owners have a vision but not an MBA. Using very simple language and helpful analogies, she shows you the right questions to ask about your services, cash flow and profitability and gives you easy formulas to get the answers.
5. The Copywriter’s Handbook, by Robert W. Bly
Even if you have the budget to hire a professional copywriter, get a copy of this book. Then you will know what it takes to make a sales letter, landing page or other marketing piece truly effective. No one is more qualified in that area than Bob Bly—a copywriter who has been earning six figures a year since the eighties. This book is for beginners—it will explain what “copy” is—and experienced copywriters can benefit from it, too. In fact, advertising giant David Ogilvy said that he didn’t know a single copywriter whose work would not be improved by reading this book.
6. Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days, by Jay Levinson
Though most people know the word guerrilla in terms of warfare in Third World countries, “guerrilla marketing” is defined as “innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing techniques aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product.” And what small business couldn’t use that to its advantage? In the book, Levinson helps you develop a marketing mindset and then develop your marketing, branding, advertising, networking and more. It’s a tidy and effective 30-day marketing plan between two covers.
7. Book Yourself Solid, by Michael Port
If you’re a professional, consultant, or anyone that provides a service and needs to maintain a steady flow of clients, this is an excellent book. Among many helpful parts of this book is Port’s list of questions to ask yourself about your business. These will help focus and refine your marketing efforts and build credibility with your prospects, so that you will soon be neck-deep in clients—booked solid.
8. The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss
Not everyone is seeking to start an Internet-based business. But so many people are that we had to include at least one book specifically for the laptop crowd. Ferriss approaches 4-Hourfrom the viewpoint of being fed up with the “deferred life plan”—working at a job for 30 or 40 years and retiring with a pension and savings. Ferriss insists that life doesn’t have to be so hard. He shows you a management-less methods to make $80,000 a month and live a millionaire lifestyle without necessarily having a million in the bank. “I’ll show you how a small underground uses economic sleight of hand to do what most consider impossible,” he says. It’s a compelling read, indeed.
9. Limitless, by Matt Lloyd
The groundbreaking book that reveals how to escape the Rat Race and make money online In the New Economy. Limitless is a personal account of Matt Lloyd’s journey from a small farm in Australia to the helm of a $100 million company. In this book, you’ll learn the secret to his success through High Ticket Affiliate Marketing method (The HTAM Method), and how other people have leveraged it to earn a documented $51 million to date.
To understand the HTAM Method (pronounced H-TAM) … you need to first understand that the Internet has changed everything from how we communicate to how we shop, to how we get from point A to point B.
It’s Also Changed How We Make Money:
- You don’t need to be “location dependent” (you can work from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection)
- You don’t need a physical storefront anymore (Amazon is the largest retailer in the world and they don’t have a single store)
- You don’t need physical products anymore (Google generates over $50 billion a year without physical products)
- You don’t need employees (you can leverage systems, tools, and software)
- You don’t need to wait to get paid after fulfillment (you can get paid UPFRONT)
- This NEW kind of business model has virtually no overhead, complete freedom, and high returns