6 Books Every Small Business Owner Should Read

While it’s true, running a small business can leave little room for any reading time, you’ll want to set aside a few minutes to take a look at these six must-read books. Then add one to your to-do list. 

Many a successful entrepreneur talks about the importance of learning from other companies’ successes, and mistakes. Here are books that all had runs as best-sellers with insights revered as some of the best and most useful for small business owners, across industries and business stages.  

You’re sure to find a book here to tap into new knowledge that will further your small business success. Grab the opportunity to expand your thinking on everyday issues, from managing your finances to leadership and relationship building. Be prepared to get a healthy dose of inspiration too.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen R. Covey

A tried-and-true fav, this book isn’t just for small business owners of course but for anyone who wants to work at being their best selves at work and in life. Covey writes that his 7 habits “embody many of the fundamental principles of human effectiveness.” The easy-to-read principles of fairness, integrity and honesty, along with workbooks that walk you through his concepts, have kept 7 Habits on the must-read lists for business leaders around the world.

There’s a special 25th anniversary edition out with a foreword by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, and a 15th anniversary edition features a foreword and afterword by Covey, who died in 2012.  

The E-Myth Revisited

By Michael Gerber

Another must-read popular pick is the revised edition of Gerber’s bestseller E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. E-Myth focuses on dispelling myths around starting and running a successful small business. Gerber warns that assumptions, expectations and technical expertise can get in the way of running a business and even lead to failure. Also, he explains the distinction between working on your business and working in your business.

E-Myth Revisited offers advice for businesses at different stages, from entrepreneurial infancy to the “mature entrepreneurial perspective.” If you understand and take to heart his four profound ideas, Gerber writes, you will have the power to create an “extraordinarily exciting and personally rewarding small business.”

Managing by the Numbers

A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Using Your Company’s Financials 

By Chuck Kremer & Ron Rizzuto with John Case 

The three authors – experienced in business education, accounting and open-book management – present a common-sense approach to managing the financial side of running a business. They explain why it’s important for small business owners to understand financial statements, and the bottom lines of financial performance: net profit, operating cash flow, and return on assets. 

Managing by the Numbers comes with an extensive glossary, exercises and examples (with templates you can download) and a management tool called “The Financial Scoreboard.”

Profit First

Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine

By Mike Michalowicz

In Profit First, Michalowicz presents his flipped approach to the traditional method of managing cash flow. With case studies, practical advice and his entrepreneurial insights, he outlines his Profit First system, which, he says, will help small businesses get out of the daily “check-to-check struggle.” 

Michalowicz gives readers a step-by-step guide for using the Profit First formula (Sales-Profit=Expenses), and explains how his system, which was developed for small businesses with a behavioral approach to accounting, “forces innovation, supports sustained growth and skyrockets profits.”

Conquer the Chaos

How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy

By Clate Mask and Scott Martineau 

Here’s a book that’s aimed at helping small business owners spot the warning signs of trouble before it’s too late to turn things around. As successful entrepreneurs themselves (InfusionSoft), the authors understand how easy it is to get buried in the chaos of running a small business, leaving no time to grow your company or have a life.

In Conquer the Chaos, Mask and Martineau tell their stories of starting and running a business. The book gives examples as it leads you through six strategies to bring order to your business, including ways to get organized so your business can grow – and you can find the healthy balance between work and family, achieving emotional and personal health. 

The Execution Factor

The One Skill That Drives Success

By Kim Perell

In The Execution Factor, Perell – an internationally known startup entrepreneur and angel investor – shares her personal journey and her proven program for achieving success. It is the ability to execute, she says, that makes a difference between success and failure, mattering more than a great idea, an advanced degree or a high IQ.

The Execution Factor points to five traits shared by people who know how to effectively accomplish their dreams and achieve their goals. With a coaching style, Perell teaches you how to embrace those traits – vision, passion, action, resilience, and relationships – and master the skill of execution.

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