Best Startup Books to Give Your Business Idea a Boost
Nowadays, it is perhaps easier than ever to start a business due to modern technology. However, this also brings a lot of competition and the market can often be very saturated. Therefore, even though it may be easy to start a business these days, it may also be more difficult than ever to grow it into a successful company.
That is why preparation is crucial. Before you commit to a startup idea, you need to learn as much as you can about the business world. And one of the most convenient ways to do this is to read books which cover this area.
The Benefits of Reading Startup Books
The upsides are clear and numerous. Startup books allow you to receive top-notch advice without breaking the bank as a good book will cost a lot less than a similar seminar and can be just as effective. It is also quite easy to find advice which applies to whichever specific business venture you have in mind. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others – both success and failures. Finally, you can find information on all the different stages you need to go through to see your startup idea succeed and achieve its full potential.
This final point is particularly significant because a successful business requires coordinated efforts in numerous areas. Consequently, when you’re trying to build your own startup, you will need to wear many hats.
For example, you need to test your idea beforehand to see whether you’re making a wise investment. You also need to know about the challenges that new companies face and how to overcome them. Furthermore, a solid strategy is a must, and it will be down to you to come up with one. You have to pay attention to marketing as well, to increase your customer base.
Then there is the issue of sales and getting the consumers to actually pay for your product. This invariably leads to your finances and knowing how to handle them properly. Not only is this crucial for profit, but there are also legal ramifications to worry about. Finally, since you will be leading the charge in most areas of your startup, it is imperative to develop your leadership and management skills.
Fortunately, there are books out there to help you in each of these spheres of interest. Below, you will find such a list of recommendations. You can use it as a step-by-step guide of sorts and let those books serve as the building blocks of your successful startup.
Testing Your Idea Before Committing
When you get a fresh business idea, you might get the urge to invest your time and money into it straight away. But a lack of proper testing can quickly spell disaster and cause your business to fail almost right out of the gate.
The best way to avoid this is to research your market, and social media can help in this regard. But there are plenty of other things to worry about.
Recommended book: Will It Fly? – Pat Flynn
This book will help you separate sound business ideas from ill-conceived theories. You’ll examine if there is a market for your product and whether the business model suits you personally. With practical tests, advice, and case studies, Will It Fly? will give you the tools to avoid misguided ventures that only end up costing you. Validating your idea is vital, and this book helps you do that.
Starting Your Own Business
While you do have numerous amenities of modern lifestyle at your disposal, starting your own business still presents unique challenges. This can range from legal requirements to funding issues.
For that reason, there are plenty of things you need to be aware of before you take this step. You need to consult a legal expert to make sure you comply with all regulations. You also need to handle any external investors, and there are also the seemingly more mundane issues such a finding the appropriate business space.
Recommended book: Startupland – Mikkel Svane
Chronicling the real-life story of Zendesk Inc., this book covers many problems that await anyone looking to launch a startup business. Among them is the risk that comes with leaving a secure job to pursue your idea. The writer also looks at the emotional turmoil that stems from financial insecurity and many other issues. Providing an in-depth look at the ups and downs of a company’s early days, Startupland will leave you better prepared for what is to come.
Coming up With a Game Plan
It is imperative that your company starts off on the right foot, so you need a good strategy. Whether it’s coming up with a business plan or attracting investors, you need a defined game plan. By having one in place, you increase your productivity and the chances of making it big.
Recommended book: Rework – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
The authors of Rework propose a business tactic which hinges on one thing only – simplicity. They argue that by doing less, you are able to focus on what really matters. The book provides tips on how to avoid complicated plans and instead rely on simple, yet effective strategies. This approach goes against the grain and makes Rework stand out.
Branding and Marketing
In a way, marketing is the most critical aspect of any business. When it comes down to it, it’s not really important how good a product really is – it only matters what the consumers think about it. People get attached to brands, and that creates repeat business. As such, marketing is the lifeblood of any startup venture.
Recommended book: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries and Jack Trout
By drawing a parallel with the unchangeable laws of nature, the authors of this book provide a list of 22 universal lessons they believe lie at the heart of any successful marketing effort. They argue the value of being the first and doing the opposite of what industry leaders are known for. As expected, you can apply these rules to any industry or marketplace. Therefore, this book is a handy compendium with a broad appeal.
At the end of the day, sales can be what makes or breaks a company. As a result, knowing how to generate them is invaluable. You need to research the market and analyze the competition to find a way to convince the customer your product is the best choice. Once you master this skill, the road to success becomes clear.
Recommended book: Zero to One – Peter Thiel
The world-renowned entrepreneur Peter Thiel believes that the success of a new company lies in the unexplored. According to him, the way to generate sales is to offer something unique and unexpected. Many startups fall into the trap of retreading familiar ground, and this book aims to help you avoid that. Zero to One claims that the next sales sensations will be novel inventions and that innovation is the key.
Handling Your Finances
Crunching the numbers is essential to any business endeavor. Reigning in your finances not only eases your accounting responsibilities but also allows you to control your spending and boost your profit. Expanding your network of suppliers, avoiding unfavorable last-minute purchases, and streamlining your business operation are all ways to achieve this.
Still, that does not come easy, and you might need to hire an outside professional to help you out, at least for a while. Because financial affairs impact every aspect of your business, improving yourself in this regard is of paramount importance.
Recommended book: The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
The Lean Startup is a widely-regarded book that covers many areas of interest to a startup entrepreneur. While finance is not the main topic of the book, we still believe the approaches shared in it can help in building a well working financial system. The author presents a method which relies on constant innovation, cycles, and a number of various practices to improve all areas of your company. Of course, managing your finances is a crucial element of this approach, and the book will help you lay the foundations of a stable and profitable system.
Leading by Example
It is common knowledge that everybody does a bit of everything in startups. However, this holds particularly true for the founder. As such, you will need to juggle HR, marketing, financial, and just about every other set of duties and possess the relevant skills. Basically, it falls to you to lead the way whenever the company is at a crossroads. And for that, you need to know how to make the right decisions.
Recommended book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
One of the main points of this renowned book is that there is no escaping the hard decisions you’ll need to make when you’re in charge of running a business. Strategies and plans can only get you so far, and the success of your company will come down to you. In essence, the book provides an honest look at all the ugliness that comes with the day-to-day operation of a firm. That’s why it is an essential tool in preparing for the challenges that await you as a leader.
Looking for Inspiration
Finally, you do not always need to look for books which give concrete tips regarding specific areas of business. Sometimes, you’re just on the lookout for a bit of general inspiration. There is plenty to gain from learning how someone like Richard Branson started the business which made him famous or reading the inspiring story of Steve Jobs.
Recommended book: Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
This book is a riveting tale about the life of one of the most important entrepreneurs to have ever lived. Isaacson gives you a candid look at the virtues and faults of a true business icon. Inspirational and cautionary, everyone can draw at least something from this story. It may not be possible to truly emulate the greats, but you can learn from them.
When you choose to start your own business, your entire life is in for a dramatic change. There are so many things you need to be aware of that it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, there is a way to be at least somewhat prepared.
Relying on the experiences of others is a great way to make the learning curve substantially less steep. Whether it’s specific business areas such as finance or marketing or just some general inspiration, the right books can give you and your company a better chance of success. These are some of the best startup books out there, and they are an excellent place to begin your entrepreneurial journey.
What startup and business books would you recommend to your fellow entrepreneurs?