Top 10 books for start up businesses
Whether you’ve recently set up your own business or you are dreaming of doing so, research is key. This may involve specific market and competitor research.
However, it can also be a good idea to read the wise words of successful entrepreneurs who were once in your position. After all, books about startups are one of the many sources of inspiration and motivation.
No matter if you're a business novice or an old hand looking to start something new, there is always wisdom to be taken from the words of others. Business books can open your eyes to ideas you may not previously have considered. In turn, they may give you the information you need to launch your business with confidence.
In this guide, we take a look at some of the best books to read if you are looking to launch a new business.
What are the best business books to read?
Whether you’re out of your depth when it comes to securing investment or are curious about a specific aspect of startups, books are fantastic resources. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all 'how to' guide when it comes to starting a business. However, by selecting a collection of quality books on a range of different business areas (from management techniques to business insurance advice), you can find the information and drive you need to take the plunge and start your own business.
What books to read when starting up a business
1. ‘The Startup Owner’s Manual’ - Steve Blank
Used as a core text of elite US business universities including Berkeley and Stanford, this book lays out a model startup process. Using easy-to-follow steps, each chapter looks at a different aspect of a business startup. Handy checklists are also provided, giving the reader specific, easily-actionable steps. In total, over 77 checklists are provided.
2. ‘Boss It’ - Carl Reader
This highly acclaimed book focuses on helping regular people set up their own businesses, without relying on clichéd business jargon. Reader covers everything from turning initial ‘dreams’ into workable business ideas and simple methods for preparing for the practicalities of running and growing a business for the first time.
3. ‘Will It Fly?’ - Thomas K. McKnight
This book features a 44-item checklist, drawn from McKnight's extensive experience in business launches. This makes it ideal for evaluating your entrepreneurial ideas. It takes you through everything from your business attitude to exit strategies, helping you work out if you stand a chance of being successful.
4. ‘The Fire Starter Sessions’ - Danielle LaPort
This well-written, self-help book is designed to give you the nudge needed to launch a business. It features 16 'startup' sessions and will get you in the motivated mind frame for your business journey.
5. ‘The Art of the Start’ - Guy Kawasaki
Offering insider information with golden nuggets of advice (such as how to make investors want to give you money and how to motivate staff), this book covers a range of stages throughout the startup process.
6. ‘Startup Culture’ - Alexander Nicolaus
Setting the tone early when it comes to creating a positive working environment is a key part of launching a successful new business. In this book, Alexander Nicolaus helps new businesses and their management teams develop the kind of working culture a startup needs to thrive. Through specialist exercises and tips designed to create an unassailable competitive advantage, this essential startup bible helps generate a business culture of resilience and adaptability. This is something all startups should aspire to.
7. ‘Thrive’ - Arianna Huffington
Written by Huffington Post co-founder, Arianna Huffington, Thrive offers fascinating insights into the importance of striking a balance when starting a new business. Written after an exhaustion-induced fall, Huffington stresses that hard work and long hours can only take a startup so far and that for sustained success, time off, sleep and mindfulness are all crucial. A unique and highly personal take on the art of launching a new business, Thrive is there to remind entrepreneurs about the importance of finding a work-life balance.
8. ‘Hatching Twitter’ - Nick Bilton
Said to be the ‘ultimate 21st century business story’ this book describes how an inexperienced startup became a multimillion dollar business. Twitter is thought to be worth $13.316 billion, and its story will expose, shock and inspire.
9. ‘Investable Entrepreneur’ - James Church
Securing investment is essential for many new startups. However, the art of attracting third-party investments and/or securing business loans can be tricky. James Church’s Investable Entrepreneur sets out ‘The Six Principles of the Perfect Pitch’. These digestible steps are designed to help prepare startups for important investment meetings. Starting with ways to generate initial interest and ending with closing techniques, these tips help you to understand what investors are looking for and how to adapt accordingly.
10. ‘Start Your Business In 7 Days’ - James Caan
The premise of the book is that James Caan will metaphorically hold your hand for a week, while you ask yourself questions such as: Is my idea really a business? Does my costing work? Have I put together the right team? Dragon Den's Caan certainly has the authority to write this book, so his tips have real substance.
For more tips on successfully establishing and running a startup, read our guides on how to promote your startup and ways to avoid start up failure.
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