Updated: Sep 11
1.The Lean StartUp
Most of us start our businesses, for profit, or not, with passion and a prayer, then we wing it the rest of the way through. Market doesn't respond? We just dig our heels in and keep going, hoping for the best before our bills (charges) outgrow our bills (notes of currency).
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries will help you build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to help you test your idea, product, or service as you go, to decide whether or not it is indeed a viable business endeavour, and if so, how to continuously iterate and improve to make sure that it not only solves your target customer's problems, but most importantly, that they are also willing to pay your asking price to buy it.
2.The E-Myth Revisited
If "think big, start small" were a book, it would be The E-Myth Revisited.
One of the greatest challenges founders face is transitioning from being the technical doer, to the strategic thinker and builder.
If you have started, or plan to start a business around your areas of passion and proficiency, but wonder if you would have what it takes to actually operate a business, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber will guide you step-by-step through building a business you can work on, rather than constantly work in (because there would be no point in leaving your 9-5, if your business drives you just as crazy).
3.Measure What Matters
As a Founder you probably don't need anyone to tell you that resources are scarce. I am sure you are working miracles daily to find the most efficient and effective allocation of relationships, finances, human resources, equipment, contracts, networks, brand equity, goodwill, you name it.
This is why it is key for you to prioritize and measure what matters. It helps you to know what is worth pursuing, measure performance to make sure it leads to results, and increase the probability of generating the returns you expect.
If you want to make sure you have every resource working to grow your business, Measure What Matters by John Doerr will give you a framework you can adapt to your organizational context.
Wish you could just bury your head, do your work, and get paid, without having to sweat all the people stuff? Yeah, that's not going to happen.
In EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey shares wisdow on how to lead people as an entrepreneur, and how he messed up until he learned that his people issues were really his leadership issues, and how he had to subsequently change his leadership approach in order to build a multi-billion dollar business that has changed the trajectory of millions of families and businesses in America and around the world.
As a Dave Ramsey fan, student, and Personal Finance Certified Coach, I would highly recommend EntreLeadership, and all things Ramsey Solutions.
5.The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster
Reading The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster by Darren Hardy brought all the feels. Who chooses to start and build an organization and has the audacity to believe it will thrive, profit, and have great impact? I know, I know, Founders do!
If you ever needed someone to tell you that you are not crazy, or wondered how you would navigate tricky or treacherous terrain, The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster will help you gain the confidence to sign up to take the ride, and, if you're already on it, and going through a nasty bend, to continue to lean into the curve with all you've got until you come out safely on the other side.
This one will feel like a fraternity/sorority - you will be equipped and empowered to stay the course.
You exist in a 360º reality of at least 10 different aspects of your life (spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, personal, relational, professional financial, leadership, impact).
Unless you demarcate healthy boundaries that communicate what is in the domain of your control and responsibility, and what belongs to others, you may comprise your work or life in one area, by misaligning your work or life priorities in another.
This is why I highly recommend Boundaries by Dr, Henry Cloud, and Dr, John Townsend to every person I meet. It is guaranteed to help you navigate your "Yesses" and "Nos" as a Founder seeking to prudently invest and manage your time, energy, relationships, and finances at work, and in life.
7.How to Win Friends and Influence People
Not at all contradicting Boundaries, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a classic on emotional intelligence, interpersonal relations, personal branding, leadership presence, and networking.
Decades ahead of its time, this book will challenge you to get over yourself so that you can be a facilitator, rather than a bottleneck to relationship building and nurturing that increases your leadership and organizational effectiveness, as well as employee and customer satisfaction. Read and apply the witty wisdom within and your blood pressure and bottom line will both thank you.
8.Start with Why
Thought to tuck in Start with Why by Simon Sinek at the end, because this book is going to speak to you when self-doubt creeps in, the culture changes, and temptations to do what's comfortable and convenient rise.
Start with Why will remind you why what you set out to do as a Founder is important, how you can effectively accomplish your mission, and what you should be doing to keep the first things first, and everyone aboard the ship rowing together, and in the right direction.