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Being a small business owner is one of the most rewarding, and toughest, career options. To be the most successful, you need to have a good understanding of everything from accounting to marketing.
Whether you have a brick & mortar business, are a full-time blogger making your living online, or anything in between, reading the right books as an entrepreneur can help you with every aspect of your company.
As fellow small business owners, we thought it was important to share our list of the best books for entrepreneurs to kick off the year right!
Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read
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Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
By James Clear
Melissa is such a fan of this book that she owns the hardback AND Audible versions.
It's easy to read, yet backed by research, and full of easily actionable tips to help you develop habits that will help in business and life. It should be required reading!
Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine
By Mike Michalowicz
There's a big difference between income and profit in business. This book will help you put systems in place to get and stay profitable.
Melissa owns this one, but hasn't worked through it yet. It has rave reviews and she's moving it to the top of her business reading list for 2020!
The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You
by Julie Zhuo
Are you ready to grow your team? This is an essential guide to management - from hiring to building trust.
Melissa's husband read and recommended this one. He wished he had read it before the first time he stepped into a leadership role.
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
By Donald Miller
Every business owner should read this book. Period. Trust us.
It will help you clarify your target customer and how to draw them into your business with clear communication. Even if you think you've got marketing down, you'll find some gems here.
PS: Donald Miller's podcast of the same name is also a great free resource.
The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage
by Daymond John
You may be familiar with Daymond John from Shark Tank or his FUBU clothing line. But, if you haven't heard the full story of how he started his business, literally selling hats and T-shirts on the street, we recommend learning more about him.
He has several books, but the Power of Broke combines his story and experience with real-life examples from other now-successful entrepreneurs. If you ever want to quit your business because it's too hard and you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, read this to see what can happen when you keep pushing forward.
Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms
by Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson
Did you LOVE workbooks in school? If so, this is the business book for you!
Kathleen and Emily define "Being Boss" as owning who you are, knowing what you want, and actually making it happen.
They wrote the book to help you achieve all three. We love that the book design allows you to read about each topic and then complete guided activities right within the book.
Skip the Kindle or audio versions of this one, having the paperback to fill it out as you go in a huge part of the value.
While the content is applicable to all businesses, we think this is one of the best books for bloggers.
Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments
By Stefan Thomke
When something needs to improve in business, we tend to go with our gut reaction or try to make a decision based on data.
But then what?
If changes aren't tested properly, how do you know what's really working for you?
This exciting new book is all about conducting business experiments to help pave your way to success.
We haven't read this one yet because it's only available for pre-order, but testing things more often was already on Melissa's list of 2020 goals so she can't wait to get her hands on this guide.
Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business
By Paul Jarvis
While growing your business and employing others is a worthy goal, sometimes the right decision is thriving as a company of one.
If that sounds appealing to you, grab a copy of this highly-rated book!
Everything Is Figureoutable
by Marie Forleo
Business comes with constant challenges, and it's even said that things are the hardest right before a big success.
Marie Forleo is a funny, brilliant, business coach that will help you get into the best mindset to conquer any challenge.
Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done
By Jon Acuff
Ever get frustrated by all the things you start or dream of doing, but never seem to get done? Us too!
Finish by Jon Acuff gives easy to implement tips to help you complete more projects. Plus, he'll make you laugh along the way. We've both seen Jon speak in person and he's the perfect mix of funny and inspirational.
The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change
by Adam Braun
While some of our picks on this list are to help with concrete aspects of your business, this one will help fuel your passion.
Adam Braun left a successful career to start a charitable foundation that builds schools in places where even elementary education hasn't been an option. His story and approach is inspiring while his passion is contagious.
Random note about the power of books: Melissa recommended this book to her husband, who then recommended Adam as a speaker for a conference at his job. They did hire Adam and after hearing him speak, the company funded one of his schools. So cool!
Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others
by Robert Glazer
Sometimes our barriers to a higher level of success are in our head and how we talk to ourselves. This CEO is known for helping his employees succeed and he shares his secrets in Elevate.
He also has a great free weekly newsletter called Friday Forward that Melissa recommends as a quick dose of weekly encouragement.
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
by Tim Ferris
Tools of Titans isn't the kind of book I'd sit and read front to back. But that doesn't mean it isn't full of valuable ideas.
The book is full of the best actionable tips and advice from the millionaires and billionaires that Tim Ferris has interviewed on his podcast. It's perfect to leave in the living room and enjoy in chunks in the morning or before bed.
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan
While the book Essentialism seems to make every recommended book list, Melissa preferred The One Thing.
The concept is similar - be sure you're spending more of your time doing what is important over urgent. While some reviewers found they didn't need to read anything beyond the cover focus of doing ONE THING, Melissa found it helpful to spend some time reading and absorbing the concept.
In fact, doing this review made her realize it's time to re-read this one and do a better job applying it in 2020!
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It|Hardcover
by Chris Voss
Do you ever feel like you're leaving money or opportunity on the table after a negotiation? Chris Voss was the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. He realized that the skills he developed were valuable in all aspects of life and business.
Melissa bought this book after hearing Chris Voss on the Building a Story Brand podcast, but hasn't had a chance to read it yet. It has an astonishing 5 star Amazon rating with over 3000 reviews, so she should probably get started!
Words that Change Minds: Mastering the Language of Influence
By Shelle Rose Charvet
This book teaches you what motivates your different customers and helps you communicate with them in a way that inspires them to buy. I hear the tips work for more than just marketing in a business setting, they're great for effective communication in your personal life as well!
Now it’s your turn, we want to hear what you think are the best small business books – did your favorite make our list?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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Monday 6th of January 2020
Thank you Melissa for this list! I am bookmarking it for reference. I have read "Everything is Figureoutable" I HIGHLY recommend that one for everyone!