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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 July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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