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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 January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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