Being an entrepreneur, startup, or small business owner is challenging - Here are three books by those who went before us that helped and inspired us.
Holy cow, we are three years old this month! No longer a brand-new start up, we are officially entering our toddler years.
Over the years, my partner (Jeff Hill) and I have read and listened to many books about growing businesses, and about marketing, and leadership, and coloring your parachute and whatnot.
We have boiled down all the books we read to the ones that gave us the encouraging nuggets we quote the most, the ones we found most inspiring, and generally the most helpful.
Here are our top most quotable books for startups, entrepreneurs, and just about anyone!
This is a fantastic book written by someone who has made and lost millions over the course of his career. The perfect teacher for entrepreneurs.
Why We Love It: We love it because James has taken the time to share what he thinks works over the long haul, and why he thinks he lost millions at certain times. Ultimately, the title says it all. Choose Yourself.
The Big Take Away: In order to achieve success, you have to choose your own health and well-being. Choose what makes you feel good and sane. When we are encountering particularly busy or stressful periods, we often say, “Choose Yourself” as a reminder to continue to take care of ourselves during this busy business-building period.
This is a meaty book that asks you to focus. Focus on what’s important. Focus on what you can accomplish. Stop trying to be and do all, and instead, do what matters.
Why We Love It: As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we are constantly seeing opportunities for projects, meetings, networking events, and work. Understanding how to focus (and what that looks like) has been really helpful. We’re a work in progress, but this book certainly helped influence our more targeted approach.
The Big Take Away: This book gave us two big quotables:
“If it’s a maybe, it’s a NO.” How often are you unsure of whether you should do something, attend something, plan something? This simple phrase stops the mind madness and lets you say a clear “no.” When it’s a YES, you know it.
“What Is Important Now?” WIIN. We use this every morning. What’s important now….what has to happen today, this morning, right now? Focus. We actually painted this into a sign for a friend who is also an entrepreneur….she keeps it at her desk as a reminder to stay focused.
If you read one marketing book, I’d read this one! It creates a very clear understanding of what moves the needle for digital marketing in today’s world.
Why We Love It: While this book is already a few years old, the content is still applicable today. Things have only moved further into a value-based marketing paradigm. We can no longer send gimmicky ads out into the universe and expect our clients and prospects to jump on board. We must be providing tangible value to our audience on a consistent basis.
The Big Take Away: Provide value. Give, give, give. In today’s Internet-centric world people are spending the buying cycle time online researching what they will purchase, whether it is a product or service, online order, or storefront. They research before they buy. The opportunity that all businesses have is to help your clients and prospects do their research so that when they pick up the phone, walk through the door, or send an email - it is to YOU.
Growth and Learning Can Happen Anywhere
Tip for the busy entrepreneur: Audiobooks are a fantastic way to “read” a book while you do other things, like drive to meetings, fly to meetings, fold laundry, wash dishes… you get the idea.
We use Audible.com religiously, and especially love to hear authors read their own work. Often, their personality makes the books just that more fun to hear.
Growing, and Still Learning - Looking Forward to the Next Three Years!
These are our current favorites. If you have not read them already, we hope you check them out.
Sending best wishes to all hard-working start up folks out there. It’s a tough road, but oh so worth it!
Have a book you recommend? What’s your entrepreneurial story? We would love to hear about it.