You don’t need a degree in business to have a successful SMB, but that doesn’t excuse total ignorance. While it may not be necessary to spend thousands on a university degree to manage a successful small to medium business, winging it won’t cut it. You need to stay up to date with current markets and be familiar with breakthrough economic strategies.
Want to run a successful SMB? It’s time to study up with these five books.
Drop the Pink Elephant: 15 ways to say what you mean, by Bill McFarlan
An excellent read on the use of language, this book will help you better communicate with employees, colleagues and customers. A ‘pink elephant’, as defined by McFarlan, is an unnecessary negative that usually highlights the opposite of what one intends. He cites, as an example, Tony Blair’s “This is not a war on Islam,” quote to highlight this. Among other things, this book aims to help create a more positive culture and help people be better understood which will help business relations, marketing, networking and profits.
The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, by Guy Kawasaki
For those of you who are just entering the SMB world, this book is a must. It’s equated to the What to Expect When You’re Expecting guide book for start up businesses. It’s witty and engaging and cuts to the chase. It’s an easy read, avoiding the bad habits of some business books of using lots of jargon and having a very technical and boring tone. The book will help answer questions that plague small business owners like ‘what does it take to turn ideas into action? What are the elements of a perfect pitch? How do you win the war for talent? How do you establish a brand without bucks?’
How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
Probably one of the most cited books for small to medium business owners, this book is a classic. First published in 1936, this book might not have been written in the context of the GFC or even purposed for entrepreneurs, but the skills it teaches are timeless and can be applied in any walk of life. A business is mostly about relations: between producer and consumer, employer and employee, between colleagues, businesses, networks, media and many others. This book will teach you to have harmonious relations – essential for any successful business.
The 24-Hour Customer by Adrian C. Ott
A great marketing guide if ever there was one. This book was released in 2010 and is therefore up to date with the current market trends and customer mentality. The central premise is that gone are the days where time was money, instead, the author argues, time is more important than money. It encourages business to reshape their approach to advertising based on customers’ time consumption. A riveting read throughout, it has novel ideas that are sure to help your business flourish.
The E-Myth Revisited: why most businesses don’t work and what to do about it, by Michael E. Gerber
Gerber, a small business consultant, effectively dispels myths surrounding business start ups. If you think you know what you’re doing and haven’t checked out this book yet, get ready to have your world turned upside down. This book promises to change your outlook and perception of common assumptions, expectations and technical expertise and ultimately lead you to a successful business. It is from this book that the oh-so-often quoted mantra of ‘work on your business, not in your business,’ comes from.
[author ]Adrian Rodriguez is a freelance writer who studies everything business-related, from big MNCs to small corner shops. An extra tip he can offer is to check out Clime for great SMSF options.[/author]