In his book The E-Myth, Michael Gerber says, “You need to work on your business, not ‘in’ your business?” The general idea is that you need systems put in place so that your business doesn’t need you in the moment making every decision.
Here’s the thing: running a small business is hard work, and once you start, it’s hard to take an overarching “work on your business” approach – especially when deadlines are always popping up and clients or customers need to be taken care of. Even if you had the time, where would you start?
That’s why we wrote this blog post. With these five books, any small business owner will get a great foundation for how to build their business the right way. How do we know? Well, we read these sorts of books A LOT. It’s one of the ways we help our clients stay current with what they need to know. In fact, one of these books we give away to every new Kaizen client. Here are the five best business books every small business owner should read.
Read up, learn something, and work on your business. 2023 is a growth year, let’s do it!
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
Profit First is a methodology for small business budgeting. That doesn’t sound like a ton of fun, but hear us out. First of all, the book itself is so much more fun and interesting to read than you might think. Secondly, this is THE BEST way we’ve found for small business owners to understand budgeting in their business - by looking at their bank statements – something that most business owners already do!
Now, we’re not here to shame anyone, but small business owners are generally not finance or accounting majors. What Profit First does is take your natural inclinations as a business owner, and channels them into a system that is simple, but extremely effective. We love the simple way that Mike takes an idea and builds on it in every chapter. This is a great book for small business owners who might not have a handle on their finances.
What Profit First will teach you
- How to prioritize profit and manage cash flow in a small business
- Practical strategies and tools for implementing profit-first approach
- How to create a financial roadmap for your business
Built to Sell - John WarrilloW
Built to Sell by John Warrillow is a great book about shifting your perspective as a business owner. Its main premise: you need to design your business to not rely on you. Makes sense, right? Well, the problem is that too many business owners have a mentality that they need to be the superstar, a perfect craftsman who knows all the ins and outs of the product. While some of that is true, your main role in growing your business is to build an organization and a team that can facilitate your goals for business growth.
The best part? Warrillow very smartly puts you in the scenario of creating a “saleable business.” It reminds us of how you put all the work into your house before you sell it. This is a way to shore up the parts of your business that would make it unattractive to a buyer. You know why? Because if it’s unattractive to a buyer, it also means that it’s not working for you. Right now. Think about it!
What Built to Sell will teach you
- Shows how to create a scalable and sellable business
- Discusses the importance of creating a unique value proposition
- Provides tips for creating a systematized and documented business process
StoryBrand by Donald Miller
StoryBrand by Donald Miller is a marketing book – but in our experience, it’s much more than that. It’s a way to clarify your goals and the goals of your potential client base and create an effective framework for messaging through emails, websites, etc. This book does a great job of helping you understand how OTHER people understand your business.
After reading this book, you should be able to have clarity around the problems your business solves for your customers, as well as how you’ll accomplish it. It’s also written in a simple manner that everyone can understand.
What StoryBrand will teach you
- Offers a framework for creating a clear and compelling brand message
- Shows how to use storytelling to engage customers and build trust
- Provides practical tools for creating a brand story that resonates with customers
Ultimate Blueprint for an Insanely Successful Business by Keith Cunningham
We love Ultimate Blueprint by Keith Cunningham because it’s different from any other book on this list. This is a tactical book that will give you actionable items on how to create processes that will help organize and then grow your business. It’s right there in the name (which we love by the way.)
Everything about this book is tangible, and as such it’s hard to get into an overview – but this is a great read to balance out some of the more abstract or philosophical books on the list. This isn’t just an aspirational book about business, this one is going to tell you how to get stuff done.
What Ultimate Blueprint will teach you
- Offers a comprehensive guide to building a successful business
- Covers all aspects of business development, from strategy to marketing to operations
- Provides practical tips and case studies from successful entrepreneurs
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber is where we got the core tenet from the beginning of this article: you need to work on your business not in your business. This book is about changing your mentality from being an operator or technician to becoming an entrepreneur.
We love to pair this book with The Ultimate Blueprint because that one does a good job of tactically explaining what you need to do, while this one does a great job of understanding a business owner’s frame of mind. If the majority of your time is spent being passionate about your craft – well, you won’t grow your business.
What the E-Myth Revisited will teach you
- Common misconceptions about entrepreneurship
- Offers a framework for building a successful business system
- Provides practical advice for creating a business that can run without the owner's constant involvement
Read these five books, and you’ll have a great foundation for your business. We challenge you to pick them up and implement their strategies. Do you have any great books on business that you’ve read this year? We’d love to hear about them. Let us know!
Our team of experts is committed to helping you navigate the complexities of running a small business by offering personalized guidance and support, complementing what you'll learn from these remarkable books.
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