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12 Essential Books for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

12 Essential Books for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs


12 Essential Books for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

To increase your chances of succeeding in business, embracing new habits — like reading — is crucial. Great books reveal many business secrets, provide advice on business strategies, and help budding entrepreneurs develop essential skills.

Whether you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you probably already know the challenges to succeed as one. To build a profit-generating business, you need to make smart decisions, understand industry trends, stay motivated and disciplined — the list goes on and on. 

Achieving business success is a challenging feat, but reading the right books can make a lot of difference. Books cover various topics that can help you manage and grow your business by building essential skills like marketing, productivity, and leadership. 

We’ve compiled this list of essential books that can help small business owners and entrepreneurs succeed. Some of these books were recommendations from successful entrepreneurs from different industries whom we interviewed in the past.

Letting Go by David Hawkins

Focus: Becoming free from negativities

Coach and author Maria Gavriel, who coaches women entrepreneurs, recommended this book during our interview. The author, David Hawkins, is a renowned spiritual mentor and psychiatrist with a Ph.D. in philosophy. He wrote the book to teach readers the value of letting go as a technique to treat emotional pain, anxiety, depression, and neurosis. 

It’s definitely a great read, as it provides easy-to-follow tips for improving one’s mental health and understanding how emotions affect life and one’s overall health.

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

Focus: Avoiding burnout and being in control

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are at a higher risk of experiencing burnout. According to a national survey by Capital One, 42% of small business owners experience burnout due to inflation and business model confidence. When left untreated, this can pose serious problems to the business. 

Avoiding burnout and taking control becomes more manageable with this book. It helps you overcome some of the most common challenges new business players face by teaching you to implement The Entrepreneurial Operating System. It’s a method personally designed by the author to achieve long-term business success. 

The book is filled with different techniques and tools that’ll guide you to regain control over your life and your business. Concepts are written in a straightforward manner, so you don’t need an MBA to appreciate the content!

The Tax and Legal Playbook by Mark J. Kohler

Focus: Tax and legal issues

Duane McHodgkins credited this book for his success in turning a side hustle into a thriving local business. It’s an excellent resource for anyone in the business industry — whether new or experienced — as it provides good insight into tax and legal issues. Concepts and details were explained in progress, making it easy for anyone to consume the information presented. 

The book covers the basics of tax and legal issues without bombarding readers with jargon or overloading them with ideologies. This book provides valuable information if you want to ask your accountant the right questions or find the best tax software for your business.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Focus: Leadership skills

Regardless of your business model, having strong leadership skills is essential to your success. And if you need to be confident in your ability to lead, this book will certainly help.

The author encourages readers to reconnect with the reasons why they started a business in the first place (hence, everything starts with “why”). By focusing on your “why,” you’ll have the motivation to manage your business and the people behind it. Over time, these will help you take your business to new heights.

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks 

Focus: Eliminating barriers to success

This book helped Michelle DeNio build an online networking company after she left the corporate world. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to dive into business as it’s founded on the idea that everyone is born to win, but whenever people get a feel for winning, they back down and settle in their comfort zone. The author offers ideas on how people can operate in their “genius zones” and out of their comfort zones. 

The ideas in the book are thoughtful and thought-provoking. Many discussion points were presented, encouraging you to interact with the questions provided. It’s definitely one of the best self-help books today, beneficial for anyone’s personal and professional life!

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Focus: Importance of effort and perseverance to attain success

This book is readable, enlightening, and can be a great resource for anyone who wants to cultivate a culture of believing in a growth mindset. According to the book, being successful requires four things: passion, practice, purpose, and hope.

The author used several case studies to conclude that “as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.” The book will teach you that although natural talents exist, at the end of the day, the goal is not to become the next Wolfgang Mozart or Usain Bolt; it’s learning to put significant effort into endeavors in order to reach your full potential.

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz

Focus: Handling business finances 

Therapist and entrepreneur Figs O’Sullivan vouches for this book. It’s centered on a common human trait: use whatever available resource to make things happen. The book encourages readers to use the same principle in treating business expenses. 

This book presents simple, clear, and practical approaches to guide readers on handling business finances. The book isn’t rocket science, just basic common sense and a system that’s easy to apply and manage — perfect for budding business owners and established  entrepreneurs.

The Power of Broke by Daymond John

Focus: Bootstrapping

The book isn’t a roadmap to success in business, but it’ll motivate you as you start your entrepreneurial journey. It highlights that you’re only broke if you let it, and there are other ways to reach your personal and professional goals even when you’re at rock bottom. 

It’ll also encourage you to embrace uncertainty and lack of resources and maximize what you have. According to Daymond, being broke is a state of mind and doesn’t only mean a lack of financial resources; it could also indicate a lack of knowledge, experience, support, and many others. But you can always compensate for being broke with creativity.

Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler 

Focus: Sales systems

Worried about the competition in business? Add this book to your to-read list and have better chances of succeeding, just like Nii A. Ahene, who co-founded CPC Strategy in 2007. The authors fully understand the challenges marketers and entrepreneurs face in generating sales and provide solutions eloquently. 

The book presented many good points on creating a sales organization and what it takes to generate revenue. It’s a great go-to book for SaaS entrepreneurs as it corrects many myths prevalent in the industry and provides strategies to help businesses build a more effective SaaS sales function.

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Focus: Creating high-quality content

This book is a godsend for marketers and business owners who want to take on content writing. It presents many useful concepts, like identifying your audience and exercising empathy through content. This concept makes it easier for anyone to produce tailored content for an audience than content satisfying the writer’s ego. 

Whether you’re interested in writing blogs, research papers, or ads on social media, this book is a great resource. The author succeeded in providing a quick and in-depth explanation of how to write different types of content.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Focus: Business and personal productivity

Achieve the same success as real estate agent Denise Schroder (who sells 10x more than her competitors) by adding this book to your reading list. Unlike other self-help books, this one from David Allen doesn’t beat around the bush and instead focuses more on implementation than motivating readers, defining values, or finding inspiration. 

The book focuses on getting “stuff,” such as commitments, reminders, and to-do lists, out of your short-term memory. As a result, your productivity levels will increase as you get to focus on one task at a time.

Maximize Your Social by Neal Schaffer

Focus: Social media marketing

Neal Schaffer used his experience as a social media strategy consultant in writing this book. It’s an excellent resource for anyone who wants to improve their business’s social media campaign. It covers topics on how to promote business on social media and that, in most cases, you don’t need a lot of money to succeed — just time and effort. 

The content is well-constructed and easy to read, and the author clearly defines the lessons on each page. The ideas are best suited for newcomers, so you don’t need to familiarize yourself with any jargon or complex terms just to get the gist of this book.

Read More to Succeed Faster

Most of the books mentioned here highlight the best practices in the corporate world or showcase life experiences relatable to business. Either way, the insights you can grasp from these books can help you navigate the complexities and challenges of starting a new endeavor. 

With this in mind, we recommend you start reading at least one of the books on this list. Having the willingness to learn is a valuable skill that’ll surely catapult your business.

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