There is so much small business owners need to know to operate at peak performance. Luckily we live in the Information Age with plentiful resources. To help you sift through some of the data, every week we’re going to look at three business books small business owners should read and the lessons you can learn from reading them.
By Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits
This book is disruptive itself, in both its shape and design. It’s the second edition of this New York Times bestseller. The “lean startup” movement launched by Steve Blank and Eric Ries has led to a litany of disruptive, innovative thinking and practices among businesses of all sizes.
The authors say their book is about “navigating change...and aims to help you create products people want, innovate with new ventures, and disrupt markets.”
They say at first glance you might think this book doesn’t apply to your business, but if you keep an open mind and maintain “a spirit of creativity,” you’ll discover how lean principles can “radically reshape how you bring products to market and, ultimately, success to your business.”
I’m a big believer in “lean” thinking and an admirer of Steve Blank, the man who started it all. This book will inform and inspire you. It’s packed with case studies, illustrations (which are available for you to download), charts and a “step-by-step bulletproof blueprint plan for success.” Entrepreneurs couldn’t ask for anything more.
eBay for Dummies ($24.99)
By Marsha Collier
This is the ninth edition of this book—all written by my friend and colleague Marsha Collier. In 1999, when Collier wrote the first edition, sales on eBay were about $2.8 billion annually–thought “staggering” at the time–and there were 10 million registered users on the site. Last year eBay’s 162 million active users had a gross merchandise volume of $82 billion.
If you’ve ever considered becoming an eBay entrepreneur, this is the book you need by your side. It will take you from a complete explanation of the marketplace, to how to get started putting items up for auction, how to fulfill orders, use images for your listings, choose the right tools and apps and so much more.
Collier is thorough—there is no detail she leaves uncovered—and honest. Her writing style is friendly (it’s how she talks) and the book is full of illustrations to help you easily get started selling on eBay. If you want more information, check out Collier’s website, CooleBayTools.
By Rosalie Chamberlain
Not all leaders are alike. Author Rosalie Chamberlain, an executive coach, says “Conscious leaders...can act as catalysts for growth.” Conscious leaders are naturally inclusive, which Chamberlain says is an essential factor for running a successful business, since inclusion fosters engagement and motivation and drives innovation.
Each chapter of this book contains steps that “bring greater consciousness into your leadership.” Chamberlain separates misconceptions and reality and explains how you can become an empowering and engaging leader.
The book is short—only 111 pages—but it’s full of good advice and exercises to help you become a more conscious leader.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.