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20 Inspirational And Useful Business Books To Read in 2016

20 Inspirational And Useful Business Books To Read in 2016

Personally, I enjoy reading books, especially when I know I can recommend them in the future, in place of long explanations on a topic. For example, someone may ask me how I gain such a following on Instagram, and in turn I’d recommend them a book on that topic. Here is a set of books that I’ve read within the past 3 months, that many aspiring or current business professionals will find useful.

Small Business Owner’s Guide To Local Lead Generation: Proven Strategies & Tips To Grow Your Business!
By Ray L. Perry, Justin Sturges, Phil Singleton, Kevin Jordan and Mark Z. Fortune

This book covers exactly what a lot of new local businesses lack: leads. It starts off with a number of rave reviews, one from the executive editor at Search Engine Journal. The book starts simple. First, it talks about identifying your market and the importance of a website. The book then gets into the meat by talking about scaling your content marketing strategy and the basics of search engine optimization. This book is a must read for any beginner looking to generate extra leads for their business online.

Renewable Referrals: How to Cultivate More Profits
By Debbie DeChambeau, Ray L. Perry, Jeff Stec, Rosie Taylor, Kelly Weppler Hernandez, Dawn Westerberg

This 100-paged book instructs the reader in a foolproof way, exactly how to develop a referral program. They address concerns like how much to pay your referrers and mediums of communication for your referrers to promote through like trade shows or newsletters. The book won’t take any longer than an afternoon to read and will help any beginner in understanding the referral economy.

Branding Your Business
By James Hammond

This book is a comprehensive and conclusive book about building a rock solid brand for your company. The information in it can be applied to all sizes of businesses. The advice James gives is very practical and applicable to a range of situations. If you’re looking for a book on improving your business’s branding, which in turn will improve every aspect of your business, you should pick this book up.

30 Days To Social Media Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIN, and Facebook
By Gail Z. Martin

This book is broken into 30 steps, not particularly days as the title suggests. The first half of the steps are all about serving as an intro to why you need social media, then the next dozen are about the types of social media (Facebook, Squidoo, YouTube, etc), how to navigate each one, and then it gets into the application, by types. For example, “Social Media for Local Businesses” is one and “Social Media and the Speaker” is another. The book overall is very beginner friendly and good for any ancient dinosaur who is interested in getting onto Facebook or Twitter, but hasn’t made the leap yet.

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The New Elevator Pitch
By Chris Westfall

This book is broken into 3 parts, the first a bit about strategy. Then, there is a small 4-paged part on speed networking and then it goes into practical scenarios for the rest of the book. I initially started reading this book with an intention solely to form an accurate review on it, but I got carried away with it. It’s an easy read and the potential for application is not just business related. Elevator pitches are a good skill to have in a number of situations. This book will apply to you whether you’re trying to land a job, network, get a date, or gain an investor.

Bulletproof Branding
By Chris Westfall

This book starts off with an excellent story about United Airlines breaking a guitar, not compensating the customer for damages and the customer recording a YouTube video about the situation to get millions of views and damaging the airline’s brand. The book teaches through a number of examples, demonstrating exactly what branding is, and its influence on your business. The book is broken down into 6 actionable steps that will help your small business tighten up its public image.

Get Off Your Arse and Get Off Your Arse Too
By Brad Burton

These books are exactly what I’ll recommend to my college friends. Brad tells a story, starting off with him in a very tight situation, and teaching through lessons, applying his life to yours. He really takes you by the hand, and tells you exactly what you need to do to get your business off the ground. The books are built around only Brad’s stories, which really makes this book one of the most practical books I’ve read in awhile. He tells it all, the ups and the downs. The next time I hear someone is in a bad situation and they’re saying starting a business isn’t for them, I’m going to have to send them a copy of these books!

The Automatic Customer
By John Warrillow

This book is based on the highly relevant topic of recurring customers. The first couple of chapters talk about the importance of subscribed customers, then it moves onto nine example businesses types that use the subscription business model. Then it finishes up with a handful of chapters on building a subscription business. There are not many books that I get pure enjoyment out of reading, but something about subscription businesses make me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, and this book will make you feel the same way too.

The Predictable Profits Playbook
By Charles E. Gaudet II

This book shows readers exactly how to plan and manage their new business. Charles goes in depth, teaching each lesson by example or story. This book is that sweet medium between an easy read and a technical book. It contains some solid information, not only for beginners but is a breath of fresh air for those who have been selling products or running a business for a few years. While the book itself isn’t short, the lesson are. The book is broken down by subheadings into lessons about 1 or 2 pages long, which is handy given that most entrepreneur don’t have much of an attention span for overly long works. If you’re looking for a book that offers hundreds of business lessons, this is the book for you. For being a pure business book, its a pretty enjoyable book.

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The Coworking Handbook
By Ramon Suarez

This book is probably the most beginner friendly of all of them. It goes through a lot of basic definitions and gives the reader a very broad introduction to modern business. This book may not be for the fast-paced entrepreneur as many may know a lot of the content already, but to all the young managers out there, breaking into the business world, this easy read will give you a catch-up lesson on basics from the difference between incubators and accelerators to how search engine optimization can help your business.

Building Your Ideal Private Practice: A Guide for Therapists and Other Healing Professionals
By Lynn Grodzki

This is an in-depth book that walks you, a non-businessperson therapist, through starting your own private practice. The book is quite thorough, as a business book for non-business people should be. It is broken into 3 parts, starting with a preparation section then jumping into topics like internet presence, customer retention and other business lessons. I feel this book fills a huge gap for people in this situation looking for assistance.

Make Money Teaching Online: How to Land Your First Academic Job, Build Credibility, and Earn a Six-Figure Salary By Danielle Babb and Jim Mirabella

This book is all about academic teaching. Instead of teaching you how to be a guru and attract mindless customers, this book teaches the long way ‘round. It’s a thorough book, almost thorough enough to be considered a reference book. It answers all your questions from the expected pay to if its worth it and what kind of schooling you’ll need. Danielle herself has an MBA and PHD and teaches you everything you need to know about the academic system. In the 11th chapter, she dives into the technology aspect of this book, talking about basic tools you’ll need to make this all happen. If you’re a high educated individual and looking to continue in the education system, this is the book for you.

Wind In Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Growth
By David J. Greer

This book is broken down into sections, based on strategies. The first two sections are broken into the entrepreneurial strategy and the corporate strategy. A number of these books talk purely entrepreneurial, but this book gives insight into both worlds. Coming from a similar background as me, a programmer by trade, David shares his vast entrepreneurial experience in lessons. Unlike other books that take several pages to cover a topic like social media, David covers the important parts in just 7 bullet points. There is no fluff in this book, it’s all the meat and potatoes, which allows him to cover so many different topics and still keeping the page count under 200 pages. This book will give any business professional serious and actionable business advice.

Life. Business: Just got easier.
By Brad Burton

This book is the only book in the list that hops outside of the business world and talks about personal well being. This is Brad’s third appearance in my list but his writing style and aggressively persuasive approach are addictive. His opinions such as “the idea is only 1% of the big picture” couldn’t be more accurate. If you read his book “Get Off Your Arse,” I know you’re going to pick this up too.

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The Enthusiastic Networker
By Juli Monroe

This isn’t just your typical tome about networking. Juli teaches a number of strategies by asking questions about you, your actions and your goals. One topic in the book is the elevator pitch and how you need a 5, 10 and 30 second version of your pitch and how you should build your own. If you’re looking for a conclusive book on building connections and expanding your network, check it out.

Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreuners with Big Ideas!
By Adam Toren and Matthew Toren

This book is a short 60-paged, illustrated book designed to teach children entrepreneurship. Funnily enough, it motivates kids through the same cloud nine thinking that beginner entrepreneurs have, like the illustration of the person with their feet up on a big desk, reclined back in their chair and the “boss” nametag on the desk. There are interactive boxes which allow the kids to jot down ideas and interact a bit with what they are learning. If your child is interested in entrepreneurship, get them this book so they have something to do over the upcoming summer holidays.

Ultimate Guide To: LinkedIn For Business 2nd Edition
By Ted Prodromou

This book is a part of the Entrepreneur Magazine collection of “Ultimate Guide To” books. Over 25 chapters, it discusses everything you need to go from a fence sitter to a full-fledged LinkedIn connoisseur. From those looking for a job or those looking for new employees or new mediums to publish content, this book will sell you on why you should be using LinkedIn and what exactly you can do with it.

Lift Strategies: Quick Tips to Engage Customers and Elevate Profits
By Jen DeTracey

This book is made up of 89 knowledge bombs. So many books hover on the same idea for several pages but Jen’s tips generally don’t span longer than a page each which makes the book both easy to pick up where you left off and easy to stay interested in. It’s broke into marketing and customer retention with a couple odds and ends strung along at the end. Every tip includes a personal experience which makes the book very easy to read. If you’re looking for a broad, easy-to-read business book, pick this up and you won’t be disappointed.

Selling to China: A Guide to Doing Business in China for Small- and Medium-Sized Companies
By Stanley Chao

This book is not your typical business book. We all know how much business the US does with China and we’ve heard a lot about how the economy is booming in China. We’ve seen China’s wealthiest kids come over here for schooling and drive around in the nicest of cars. This book addresses all of your questions and curiosities about China, everything from finding your translator to the legalities of working with China. This book will not only provide you with a lot of information about doing business in China, but I think a lot of people will find it purely interesting.

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Millionaire Within
By E. Brian Rose

This book details what I’ve watched firsthand over recent past years. Brian features precisely his path to becoming a big fish in a small pond. The book is written in a similar fashion as Sam Walton’s book, Made In America. It tells the story of his first beginnings as an internet marketing professional, ending with the founding of the JVZoo marketplace, just a few years back. This is certainly one of the books I’m going to have to go back and re-read for sole enjoyment, rather than the purpose of creating an accurate review. It’s a breath of fresh air to read a modern biography from someone down to earth, unlike one of those Forbes-listed billionaire biographies. If you’re into product creation or marketing of any kind in this modern age, check out this book!

The Compass and the Nail: How the Patagonia Model of Loyalty Can Save Your Business, and Might Just Save the Planet
By Craig Wilson

This book teaches a number of solid business lessons through a number of excerpts. Craig focuses not just on consumers but on the behavior of people and how we act. Unlike a lot of other business books which are purely opinionated, this book cites scholars and other successful people on almost every other page. If you feel your mind is cluttered with incorrect thinking, and want a book that will teach you pure, truthful knowledge, pick up this book.

The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy
By Lewis Howes

Last but definitely not least, unless you’re living under a rock for the past year, you’ve probably heard of this guy, or at least have seen a picture of him on your Facebook newsfeed or on a YouTube thumbnail. Lewis Howes has been recognized by The White House as one of America’s top 100 under-30 entrepreneurs. His podcast, also named The School of Greatness, has received millions of downloads. Lewis is used to this amount of success however, as he’s played on a number of professional sports teams including the USA Men’s National Handball team. His book teaches a number of useful business lessons, a number of which he learned throughout his pro-level sports career.

Featured photo credit: Josh MacDonald via joshmacdonald.net

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

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