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10 Books You Need To Read Before Starting Your Business

10 Books You Need To Read Before Starting Your Business

There are essentially two main paths to success in business: either do it all on your own and make a lot of mistakes in the process, or learn from others’ mistakes and cut your learning curve considerably. If you’re like me, then you’ll prefer the latter route.

As an aspiring entrepreneur with a goal of building a profitable business, it might be worth taking the time to read a few books before you get started. You will still need to learn through your own failures, but why not get started on the right foot with a few tips from some experienced and successful entrepreneurs?

Since starting my first online business over 7 years ago, I have read over 250 business books, but these are the ones that have especially stuck with me.

1. Ask by Ryan Levesque

ryanask

    Ryan Levesque is a successful entrepreneur who left a corporate job in Shanghai, China to pursue his passion of starting an online business. Within a short period of time he was able to build over 20 successful companies online and hasn’t looked back since.

    He used to be known as the “secret weapon” for many entrepreneurs, but after a health scare, he realized it was time to share his knowledge with the world. He created his “ask” formula to promote success – which are a series of questions and surveys that help you gain deep insights about your target audience.

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    Ryan Levesque’s book Ask made me look at internet marketing and online business in a new way. Instead of trying to “guess” what my prospective customers need or want, I now use his formula to glean new insights so that I can build solutions that my customers actually want. If you too want to succeed online and don’t want to waste time and money, then grab a copy of Ask.

    2. DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online by Russell Brunson

    dotcomsecrets

      DotCom Secrets is my favorite book from this list. I keep returning to it over and over again when I need to setup or optimize my sales funnels. And what better person to learn from than the master of sales funnels himself: Russell Brunson? Russell has been successfully building sales funnels for himself and his clients for as long as I can remember, but I never really took interest in his work until recently. He offered this book for free + shipping on his website, so I thought I’d see what he’d come up with.  I wasn’t disappointed; it’s become my goto book for sales funnels ever since.

      3. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

      100dollarstartup

        Could you really start up a business on $100 budget? Chris Guillebeau says you can and makes the case by interviewing over 1500 entrepreneurs on their journey to building successful startup companies – many who started with a modest budget of less than $100. Chris Guillebeau himself is an entrepreneur that has a knack for turning ideas into income online and travels the world while living running successful businesses online. This is a great book to pick up if you need some motivation and want to learn some hard-earned lessons from entrepreneurs that have made it online without large budgets.

        4. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

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        artofwork

          If you’re not starting a business with the single intention of making more money, and would like to do something meaningful – something around your true calling or life’s work — then look no further than the Art of Work by Jeff Goins. Jeff has decided to take a different approach than his colleagues stating that your life’s work isn’t something you follow, but rather something that happens out of tragedy. His book answers the question: what was I born to do? By the end of it, you should gain some clarity on what your vocation may be.

          5. 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More by Perry Marshall and Richard Koch

          80-20perry

            You may have already heard of the 80/20 rule which states that 80 percent of your results come from 80 percent of your efforts. This powerful concept – called the Pareto principle – is elucidated beautifully in Perry Marshall’s book, 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More. Perry Marshall is known by many as the authority on Facebook and Google Adwords.

            His goal in this book is to help business owners save time and money by using the 80/20 rule in their businesses and to boost productivity. When I first read this book, it cleared up a lot of areas for me including how to best use my time, money and effort to focus on the things that mattered in my personal life and business. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to get the most out of their time and money.

            6. Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation by Nathan R. Furr and Paul Ahlstrom

            nailitthenscaleit

              I have read all of the lean startup books, but Nail It Then Scale It by Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom – innovation and entrepreneurship experts – takes the cake. It essentially distills the lean startup methodologies and breaks it down step by step for aspiring entrepreneurs so that they have the best possible chance of building a profitable business. Their no-nonsense approach to building a business is a breath of fresh air, as they show you how build a business from the ground up. They say that the “reason most businesses fail is because they do the right things, but out of order”. So by learning the correct sequence to start a business, you have a much higher chance of success. If you want to start your business on the right foot, then check out this book.

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              7. Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products by Nir Eyal

              hooked

                Hooked by Nir Eyal — a behavioral design specialist that helps companies create habits that more effectively engage their users — is a book about building habit forming products. One of the questions he answers in the book is why some people create companies that keep users coming back for more, and why others fall flat?  He gives many examples on how successful companies such as Facebook, Twitter and others have used the power of creating habit forming technologies to hook their customers. He outlines a simple 4-step process that believes is the underlying pattern of successful companies. Whenever I create products, I refer to this book because it’s an extremely intuitive, useful and effective way to create solutions that will keep people hooked.

                8. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G Lafley and Roger L. Martin

                playingtowin

                  Without a solid business strategy, you can’t win according to A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin. Together, they doubled Proctor and Gamble’s sales, quadrupled its profits, and increased its market value by more than $100 billion in ten years.

                  Their main goal in this book is to show you how to think strategically by asking 5 poignant questions: what’s your winning aspiration, where will you play, how will you win, what capabilities must you have in place to win, and what management systems are required to support your choices? By knowing the answer to these questions, you’ll position yourself to win in business.

                  In the book they give many examples and walk you step-by-step through each of these questions. I strongly believe that all aspiring entrepreneurs should have a strategy in place before they launch their business so that they have a solid roadmap. So whether you plan to start an online business, or build an offline empire, this is a book I’d recommend reading before launching it.

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                  9. Launch by Jeff Walker

                  launch

                    Jeff Walker is the father of product launches. He went from being a stay-at-home Dad to an internet marketing millionaire in a relatively short period of time using his product launch formula. His formula is relatively simple, and will work for anyone that plans to launch their product or service online. Anytime I do a product launch I refer to this book often since it shows you how to do it successfully step by step.  This book is a culmination of all of Jeff’s hard work and successes with his clients who have created over half a billion dollars in sales. If you’re looking to launch online, then definitely consider this book.

                    10. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris

                    4hhourworkweek

                      The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris was a game changer for me. When I first got started with online business, I was under the impression that I’d be stuck working 60 hours a week if I wanted to maintain my lifestyle and income. But I soon realized how wrong I was. Tim Ferris says that you can create a lifestyle in which you earn more money, and work less, if you automate your business. By setting up systems you can grow your business faster and work less hours. If you’ve been working at a 9-5, then this may seem like an esoteric concept, but it’s certainly attainable as many entrepreneurs have done this, including myself. If you’re looking to escape your desk job, then read the 4-Hour Work Week.

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                      Last Updated on August 16, 2019

                      15 Smart Ways to Approach Interpersonal Relationships at Work

                      15 Smart Ways to Approach Interpersonal Relationships at Work

                      Once you have embarked on your professional life, whether it is after college or high school, you will be making a transition to the workplace. If possible, it is good to find an employer that is flexible. In other words, one that possesses a culture that is diverse and tailors to the needs of its employees as a bottom line.

                      But, even if you don’t land your dream job right away, there are many ways to improve your experiences within the workplace as you climb the career ladder.

                      In the subsequent sections will be looking over ways to engage your relationships at work, including 15 ways to effectively approach interpersonal relationships at the workplace.

                      1. Open Up Cautiously

                      Depending on if its a startup, a small business, enterprise or corporation it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.

                      Be mindful of how much you open up about yourself, specifically regarding your personal life. You do not want to give the wrong impression, so be careful how much or what details you divulge about being in a relationship or having children.

                      You have to reach a certain comfort level and rapport with the rest of the staff to be able to engage in transparent conversations. A good general guideline is to stick to small talk.

                      2. Observe Your Surroundings

                      There will be times when we are summoned to have a leadership role or to undertake a project to lead a team.

                      Try not to be too bold or overcompensate at every turn when there is a meeting or an interaction among other staff or employees. The last thing you want to do is to be the person who wants to monopolize every conversation and every interaction.

                      Be a passive observer at first, and more often than not, you will learn a lot by letting others talk a lot about themselves.

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                      3. Listen Actively

                      It may seem redundant, but it is essential to practice the art of really listening to the other person.

                      Developing interpersonal skills and connections with others at work comes down to listening. It is not just paraphrasing what your superiors or colleagues are trying to communicate; it is about understanding what is at the core and reading between the lines.

                      Phrases like “I can see what you are saying” or “I can acknowledge your insight” are just some examples. Learn to empathize and relate with people with whom you have a genuine connection.

                      4. Consolidate All Feedback

                      When you learn to listen to others and to allow them to finish their thoughts you are on your way to be being a great communicator.

                      One of the toughest tasks to accomplish is to include everyone’s voice. Don’t rely on shout-outs or trying to come up with the best answer. Including everyone’s voice is about listening to all suggestions and putting together an entire picture. When everyone feels part of the process there is great cohesion.

                      5. Never Make Sweeping Judgements

                      As person and a human being with compassion never make any assumptions about anyone.

                      Just because they have a certain skin color, clothes or physical features, never make stereotypical or generalizations about anyone.

                      6. Keep Emotions in Check

                      Work-related stress is something we all have to deal with at some point or another. Whether you work in the public or private sector you will encounter stressors or stressful co-workers. In this case, it is good to keep open the lines of communications.

                      Always ask to clarify how a person feels and where they are coming from. It is better to entertain these conversations before they make a person lash out or have a negative reaction. Ask to speak privately and get feedback. When you do this it really shows you care about what your role is and that you are a true professional.

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                      7. Give Help to Others

                      Having compassion and empathy for others is a noble attitude to practice.

                      Though, do be careful about how much you want to get involved with colleagues at the office; it could jeopardize the nature of your work relationship and the roles you both have.

                      It’s best to separate the personal from the professional and lend a hand by using your best judgement.

                      8. Broaden Your Horizons

                      Once you have worked in a company or an organization, things can get repetitive and dull. Sometimes we need to remember that we are human and need to fulfill certain responsibilities.

                      Often we want to try to change things by introducing our best abilities or perhaps our inventions, but we need to be realistic. Change does not happen overnight, rather it is a long process.

                      Step back and take a look at the big picture, and, put all your cards on the table to get perspective. Sometimes we approach situations in life from the wrong point-of-view.

                      9. Be Optimistic

                      This is probably one you have heard time and time again.

                      When we suggest to have a positive attitude it does not mean to fake it until you make it, nor to conceal your feelings. This is not the case in this situation. Overall, you want to try to be authentic in how you are feeling, because life will throw curve balls that are beyond our control.

                      10. Be Sensitive to Cultural Norms

                      Whenever you are around other people within a professional workspace, do not make assumptions in trying to figure people out in an instant.

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                      Some cultures discourage physical contact, while others may be inviting. Always be courteous, respectful and ask questions. It will not only make you more aware of others’ needs, but show that you are considerate of the differences.

                      You do not want to get off on the wrong foot by being too friendly or too touchy. Just observe how people respond to your approach and let them lead the way of what is a safe practice to meet and greet the first time around.

                      11. Show Professionalism

                      How you interact and carry yourself around others will be the difference between a job promotion or losing your job. No matter what, always respectful and professional towards others.

                      You will have an opportunities in life and at work, so showcase an outpouring of great and positive energy in the face of adversity.

                      12. Get Involved with Activities

                      When you are part of a company, there are often opportunities for organized activities outside of the office space.

                      Sometimes it is worth exploring uncharted terrain and to get to know people in a different environment. Plus, you will have an opportunity to be seeing in a different light.

                      Even though you are off the clock, keep your professional tenure and set boundaries. You want to be vulnerable, but not put yourself in a comprising position. Use your intuition and common sense to evaluate these situations.

                      13. Get to Know Your Company

                      With your smartphone or your laptop, you have at your fingertips a mine of information online. Just as you would do before a job interview, conduct ample research to get familiarized with what your company does and how its branding is perceived via the media or social networks.

                      Rather than just focusing on doing your job and fulfilling the duties, see what the business is up to. It is fundamental to really know what organization you belong to. Get educated on what other ventures they are involved with as well as the ones that you are directly in the know about.

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                      14. Learn to Problem Solve

                      Problem solving is going to be a skill you will acquire with experience and by making mistakes. Furthermore, not only will you make mistakes but you will likely also sometimes fail. This is okay and is part of the natural swing of things!

                      Learn to take responsibility for your actions and decisions. At the same time, do not blame others for coming up short. When you come forward with the truth and responsibility, your supervisors or superiors will take notice of your authenticity.

                      One of the greatest gifts in life is fail and once you experience you start to get a different perspective on how to move forward at the job.

                      15. Do Some Prospecting

                      If you have coding, computer, language or other beneficial skills, be sure to pitch these at the right time.

                      When you start out new at a company it is best not to show all your cards. It is like poker: don’t let others see if you believe you have the upper hand. Take time to get familiarized with your company and organization before promoting your outside skillset.

                      You will know when to put forward your amazing talents, so proceed with caution.

                      Conclusion

                      Learning to refine your interpersonal skills is a lifelong process. In time, you will also became more effective and skillful after accumulating work-related experiences.

                      Exert humility, understanding, compassion, and mindfulness and the rewards will come!

                      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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