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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 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

Reference

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