Not every book you read to help your small business has to do with accounting or hiring and firing or how to be the perfect manager. Those may be important topics but so are less tangible subjects such as inspiration, creativity, and differentiation.
Below are five must-reads for small business owners and business dreamers of all sorts.
Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
If you’re not familiar with the name Blake Mycoskie you may recognize the name TOMS. TOMS is the uber comfortable, uniquely designed shoe line built on a “One for one” business model. The shoebox explains it further – “ With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair to a child in need.”
Extraordinary but simple.
Read Start Something That Matters for lessons in being an efficient startup, for examples of how every role is equally important and for a call to action to create something that matters for you and others.
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
So you have a passion that you plan to use as the core of a business. Awesome. Let’s do it. But as you do consider this question, “what makes yours irreplaceably different?”
The likelihood that you’re creating something entirely unique is slim. And you know that. You won’t be the first cupcake shop in town most likely or the only landscaping company.
In Purple Cow, Seth Godin pushes business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs to create brands that are “inherently remarkable.” Read Purple Cow for real-life examples of companies who have created their own Purple Cow and why it’s been a difference maker in their growth. Ask yourself tough questions about your brand’s differentiators and the sort of fan base you’re attracting.
Nuts!: Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success
By Kevin and Jackie Freiberg
In a business space packed with similarities, Herb Kelleher created Southwest Airlines with a focus doing the basics exceptionally well and standing out with the people that represented the brand.
Read Nuts! to see how a big business doesn’t have to be faceless and how something as serious as safe air travel can choose to have a sense of humor.
Duct Tape Marketing Updated and Revised Edition by John Jantsch
So you’ve started this business based on your passions. You’ve focused on the distinct things and personality traits that make your brand remarkable. You’ve surrounded yourself with great people who will be the best for your customer experience. Now you gotta let people know you exist.
It’s easy to peal through a forest of blog posts telling you to use Pinterest or else, to send at least 100 emails a day, to spend x amount on Google Adwords but their only giving you pieces.
Read Duct Tape Marketing for real actionable takeaways for creating a cohesive, long-term plan for marketing your great small business or at the very least to know how your marketing partner should be performing for you.
Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fools Guide to Surviving With Grace by Gordon MacKenzie
Once your business gets rolling it’s easy to get caught up in the bottom line and sink into a “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality. That startup energy and creativity that got you going always has its place.
In Orbiting the Giant Hairball 30 year Hallmark creative veteran Gordon MacKenzie talks about the importance of dreaming and the danger of rules just for the sake of rules. One of my favorite books – a quick, funny and valuable read.
Have a favorite book that’s helped you personally and professionally? Share it with us in the comments or on Facebook.
photo credit: Ginnerobot