The people who have accomplished what you are working toward have written books to help you get there.
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Reading is one of the most valuable activities for anyone, but especially for entrepreneurs who are breaking into new verticals that few have entered. It is important to read to challenge your perspective, gain knowledge from someone else’s experience and to help you through the inevitable challenging times you will face.
These six books — some old, some new, but all relevant — can help every entrepreneur succeed.
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
Creativity, Inc. is an essential book for entrepreneurs. Why? It focuses on building creative, out-of-the-box thinking teams, which is exactly what a startup needs to succeed. From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, this book is a timeless dive into the difference between mediocre and excellence.
Catmull stresses that excellent teams can turn average ideas into gold, but average teams cannot turn great ideas into anything. As an entrepreneur, building your team and leading them in a way that allows them to be creative and flow can make the difference between failure and success for your company.
Platform: The Art and Science of Personal Branding by Cynthia Johnson
For entrepreneurs, the book Platform by Cynthia Johnson is a very useful handbook for utilizing your internal team and personal influence to help drive your business. Johnson dives into strategies for creating a strong personal brand message, owning the narrative around your industry topics, and growing a targeted and specific group of followers. The book breaks down the actions of masters in personal branding and shows how they differentiate themselves in language, strategy, and promotion. This book is ideal for the entrepreneur who wants or needs to be the face of their company.
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
This is Marketing by Seth Godin will help any entrepreneur understand the difference between adding true value to your target audience and spam-based marketing. Godin has had several best-selling marketing books over the years, but this one is by far his best for anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit. He encourages marketers to solve problems for their customers, not their organizations. As any successful entrepreneur understands, if your company is not solving a problem, then you are wasting time. Godin’s new book will change the way you think about marketing.
The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business by Elaine Pofeldt
The Million Dollar, One-Person Business is great for the entrepreneur who wants to start a business and doesn’t know where to begin or how to scale without spending money. Pofeldt dives into how to build a business to that million-dollar revenue mark with only one-person as the driving force. This book shows entrepreneurs how to be successful, both financially and personally. Work-life balance is a huge issue for many entrepreneurs and an important topic to be addressed. If you want to be a million-dollar company while sitting poolside in Bali, this book is for you.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is a great book for the long-haul entrepreneur who needs to be continuously testing their vision as their business grows. The concepts in this book are based on lean manufacturing and rapid scientific experimentation. This book gives you the tools and tests to make improves and decision for your business in real-time. Ries details how to keep making key decisions on the direction of your business moment to moment and without delay. This book is for the entrepreneur that is building an innovative and sustainable business.
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Chris Guillebeau wrote The $100 Startup after identifying 1,500 people who were making $50,000 per year or more on a company that required a modest investment (in most cases $100 or less). This easy-to-read book is full of true stories and advice from people who have accomplished growing a business after bootstrapping their launch. This is a go-to book for the average person with an idea and a desire to leave or avoid the corporate grind.
No matter what stage you are in as an entrepreneur, it is important that you always continue to read and educate yourself throughout each and every stage. There are mentors, authors, blogs, and book clubs full of people and ideas that can help move your ideas to reality.