There are 3 essential elements to entrepreneurial success – a growth-centric mindset, a brand presence that helps differentiate you, and a smart strategy with managing money.
You can tread the learning curve or you can be smarter and learn even faster from expert insights. Top entrepreneurs and business owners talk about the books that inspired them in the areas of entrepreneurship, brand building and financial strength.
How to do your best and then get better- 22 books to get savvy with business, brand and money!
Vision without execution usually flops
Veronica Romney, President and Co-Founder of LoSoMo finds that for her, Traction by Gino Wickman is “like 30 of the best business books into one. It’s the bible of how to organize your company at any size revenue and get everyone on the same page. Especially during the first couple of years as an entrepreneur, this book helped me to keep all aspects of my business in line when everything felt like it was zig-zagging.”
Robin Levine, Founder at Scouted swears by Principles by Ray Dalio. “Some of the nuggets my co-founder and I rely on most come from here. For example, the need to visualize and then granularize your vision. As an example – you can be getting better but you can still be failing to achieve your goal.”
Turn a no to a yes (without being pushy)
Christy Cook, Founder & CEO at Teach My feels that Arlene Dickinson is the one woman entrepreneur whose work has resonated throughout the key years of building her business. Her book Persuasion – A New Approach To Changing Minds and All is “full of great tips on how to pitch a business idea, get people to buy in and savvy sales techniques.”
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door
Kristi Soomer of Encircled likes Million Dollar Woman by Julia Pimsleur. “This book is all about scaling from a ‘kitchen table’ business to a million dollar plus organization. It covers not only the how, but the what, the why and what may happen along the way as your business shifts and changes. Scaling your business fast, is an exciting and crazy journey. It’s nice to finally read along with a book from a female perspective on growing your business triple digits.”
“It’s the second of her “Badass” books, and this one really hits the nail on the money relationship head. It opens women’s eyes to all of the potential to attract and make more money, using our unique gifts in this world. It really helped me open my eyes to the power of money energy. Once I started investing into my business, the money started rolling in.”
Kristin Gibson photographer at 614 Boudoir Photography also recommends the Badass books.
“Jen Sincero truly opened my eyes to my own limiting beliefs. I was telling myself about why I couldn’t be or have or do everything I’ve ever wanted. Reading her books have revolutionized my businesses.”
Without data, it’s just an opinion
Winning with Data: Transform Your Culture, Empower Your People, and Shape the Future by Tomasz Tunguz and Frank Bien. Levine finds it “practical and insightful and applies to everything we are doing as entrepreneurs in this data age – and helps us adapt our team to use data to the best effect.”
Experience isn’t so much about seeing, as seeing wisely
Jacquelyn Kyle of Traveliste feels that The Martha Rules by Martha Stewart is such a great book. “She has such a gift for taking her own experience and turning it into useful advice for women in any niche. Plus, I love that she started outlining her book while she was in prison as a talk, to give to her fellow inmates who often asked her for business mentoring.”
Wise choices result in positive outcomes
Holly Reisem Hanna of The Work at Home Woman, LLC likes
Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers.
“Derek’s book has so many excellent nuggets of wisdom, but this one really stood out for me. When a request, proposal, meeting, or opportunity comes knocking on your door if it’s not a Hell YES, then it’s a NO.
I was guilty of saying yes to almost everything! Since reading Derek’s book, I’ve been applying this rule to my life, and it’s made such a difference! It’s given me breathing room to work on my priorities and get rid of the noise and shiny objects that are distractions.”
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath inspired Rebecca Sutherns, Ph.D, of Sage Solutions “to be more imaginative when it comes to customer service.”
Value before worth
“If you don’t stand out and claim your space as an expert, you won’t be able to charge the fees as an expert (what you deserve). You might show up less worthy and it will take longer to grow your profits and customer base. It’s also about how to be a service-oriented business owner where you serve first and earn the right to get paid, get rehired and get referrals versus expecting it.”
Brand building & Social
Don’t stop building your audience
King also, recommends Crushing It – by Gary Vaynerchuk for building a personal brand, and expanding your sphere of influence in this digital age. “If you can grow a tribe of raving fans, that level of trust will translate into financial security and success for the rest of your life.”
April Davis, President & Matchmaker at LUMAsearch also recommends Crushing it! and calls it “one of the most inspirational books I have read that really makes you believe you can do whatever you put your mind to.” She believes that this book shares 3 important lessons.
- In order to profit from your passion, you have to turn yourself into a brand.
- Pick a medium that fits you to tell stories people want to hear.
- Always be authentic in your content.
Davis also likes The New Rules of Marketing by David Meerman Scott. “This book walks through every single digital and social media platform you can use to promote your business. Plus, tips on how to get the best performance out of each one. He also covers the social and digital strategies would work best for YOUR company depending on what is important to your brand.”
While she finds it incredibly informative, Davis also feels that “it has been written in a way that it is actually interesting and keeps your attention.”
Stand out or get out
Soomer also finds Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan Kim and Renee’ Mauborgne to be very impactful.
“An essential for creating a differentiated brand in a very saturated market. It helped me figure out how to make my brand stand out in one of the most competitive industries in the world fashion.”
Mathews likes You Are A Brand by Catherine Kaputa – “This has really helped me to set myself apart from the competition. I’m a premium brand, and to be like anyone else would be generic. She takes the commercial style of marketing and applies it personally.”
McVanel suggests Jab, Jab Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuck and what she calls “two juicy pieces of value” when you look at the role of content in a business.
“You need to show up to serve, which means that you need to get content out there over and over again before asking anyone to buy anything.
It also gives you good and bad examples of posts on the main social media platforms, ensuring you don’t make the common mistakes (e.g. boring content that nobody pays attention to). You need to decide which of the many platforms you should use (go where your customers are…if they aren’t there, you don’t need to be, either!)
Everyone sees the risk. An entrepreneur sees the reward.
Stacy Caprio of Accelerated Growth Marketing feels that Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki would be her #1 recommendation for women entrepreneurs, because “it instills a mindset and perspective on the best way to handle money so you can grow what you have into true wealth. She believes that many women tend to ignore this in their own lives. “I think it is essential for women to be able to understand finances and how to grow their own wealth, without relying on others or a man to do it for them.”
Sutherns , a voracious reader also finds Worth It by Amanda Steinberg has helped boost her business acumen. “It helped me pay attention to my “money story” and how my limiting beliefs have caused me to resist pursuing value-based pricing with confidence.”
Budget for the bottomline
Money Coach April Caldwell, says that her favorite book is All the money in the World by Laura Vanderkam. “It helped me change the way I look at money and how I spend money. Speaking as a financial planner, it is also a valuable resource for teaching my clients to change their money mindset.”
Adrianade la Torre feels that Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz is critical to success. “As an entrepreneur, one can get overwhelmed with simply working harder, thinking that is the only way to succeed. However, due to multiple demands in women’s lives, we need to work smarter too. This book will help do that.”
Andrea Paris, an employment attorney who’s also an avid reader also recommends Profit First. “You can have a million dollar company but if you don’t take profits first but instead allow your overhead to eat up your entire million dollars, what’s the point?”
She especially appreciates the finer details in the book. “It tells you exactly what bank accounts to open and what percentages to pay to each account based on where you are, and the initial steps you need to take in order to start.”
Master the money game
Levine suggests that “every aspiring business owner should read Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook by Tony Robbins. It pulls knowledge from fifty of the business world’s greatest investors like Carl Icahn and Ray Dalio to bring together a detailed guide of how to rethink one’s investment strategies to not only protect assets but also maximize overall wealth.”
In the ultimate analysis, a good book can only be a guideline. A successful entrepreneur is one who can take those insights and adapt them to her business needs and circumstances.
Tell us – which read has helped you succeed?
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years.
She’s a co-founder at Maroon Oak, and is founded Win Thinks, where she writes, speaks and teaches about Digital Media, Brand Building and Future Ready Businesses. A day trader for over a decade, Pooja launched Trading Paces to educate amateur and pro stock traders. As a classroom mentor, Pooja loves teaching students across the U.S. about job skills and entrepreneurship. Read about her on Huffington Post and Forbes.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, she’s discovering the pleasure of drawing Zentangle patterns for ‘creative mindfulness.’
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