Need some inspiration before you start working on your business idea? These books will help you start as you mean to finish!
One of the best ways to ensure that your startup is successful is by making sure that you don’t repeat the mistakes of others. Research into your market is one part of the puzzle but the whole idea of being an entrepreneur can be hard to wrap your head around. Reading about how others did it, and what their best practices are, can really help you avoid costly pitfalls as you begin your journey.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses — by Eric Reis
One of the single biggest reasons that businesses fail is a lack of cash. Cash flow management and ensuring that you have enough capital to start your business effectively, as well as to pivot should the need arise due to market demands, are all explained clearly in this book.
“The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.” (Source)
The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup — by Noam Wasserman
If you’re considering whether or not to startup your business on your own, or to bring in co-founders and partners, this book will help you wade through the details, and how to avoid the potential pitfalls of your options. Learning when to keep control and when to tap outside resources can make all the difference in a startup. Because after money, people are major contributors to business failure: assessing that risk before you even begin is just good sense.
“The book is based on Wasserman’s research at Princeton. He did a masterful job of studying founders from many industries and detailing their experiences, good, bad and ugly. The book is captivating because it uses identifiable examples, like Twitter and other recognizable companies. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to start a company.” (Source)
Ego Is the Enemy — by Ryan Holiday
Sticking with the idea that people can make or break a business, you could end up being your own worst enemy, faster than you might think. Figuring out how to remain open in leadership, willing to learn from others while at the same time influencing them to your vision of things, is the way you start if you want to finish on top.
“In an era that glorifies social media, reality TV, and other forms of shameless self-promotion, the battle against ego must be fought on many fronts. Armed with the lessons in this book, as Holiday writes, “you will be less invested in the story you tell about your own specialness, and as a result, you will be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve.” (Source)
The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything — by Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki is well known in the digital world for his marketing expertise, as well as being a seasoned venture capitalist. Guy’s writing transcends to all businesses—not just those in the digital sphere—because he’s clear, concise and has decades of experience to back up what he says.
“Guy understands the seismic changes in business over the last decade: Once-invulnerable market leaders are struggling. Many of the basics of getting established have become easier, cheaper, and more democratic. Business plans are no longer necessary. Social media has replaced PR and advertising as the key method of promotion. Crowdfunding is now a viable alternative to investors. The cloud makes basic infrastructure affordable for almost any new venture. The Art of the Start 2.0 will show you how to effectively deploy all these new tools. And it will help you master the fundamental challenges that have not changed: building a strong team, creating an awesome product or service, and facing down your competition.” (Source)
Will It Fly? How to Know if Your New Business Idea Has Wings … Before You Take the Leap — by Thomas K. McKnight
Beyond market research, beyond building an MVP, beyond focus groups, this book provides a concrete methodology—based on 44 elements of success—to help you to decide whether your idea has what it takes to be the real deal.
“The 44-point assessment covers everything from your mindset to your exit strategy, addressing such questions as whether you have proven customers and how stiff your competition is. While launching a business can be thrilling, it can also be extremely stressful if you’re not properly prepared. This book will help prepare you.” (Source)
An alternative option, with almost the same title is “Will It Fly?” by Pat Flynn: “The book walks readers through five different steps: making sure your business idea aligns with your goals; analyzing details about your idea you may not have thought of; assessing the market for your business idea; testing your idea; and finally, determining whether to move ahead with your idea or send it back to the drawing board.” (Source)
With either one, you can get the blueprint to ensuring you’ve got an idea worth pursuing before you spend a lot of time and money setting it up.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook — by Gary Vaynerchuk
Fundamental to the success of any startup is knowing how to reach your market. In a world where we’re all bombarded with so much information, all the time, it’s hard to be heard. Gary Vaynerchuk is an expert at making content speak volumes.
“It’s not just about adding value by way of high-quality content, but targeting that content to specific people via specific social media platforms. Getting attention online requires an increasing amount of content tailoring, but if you know how to match your message to each platform, you’ll be ahead of your competition.” (Source)
This isn’t an exhaustive list of startup reads: do a Google search and you’ll find plenty of others. The authors listed here are well known and their books have stood the test of time, so they’re all worth a read before you launch!