Entrepreneurs are the cornerstone of every successful economy. The prosperity that the United States, Germany and other affluent nations have achieved has been fuelled by entrepreneurs. Even today, one is quite amazed by the number of new companies that have become hugely successful in the US. I mean, just look at some of the newer American brands that dominate our lives today – Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, to name a few; they were all started by young entrepreneurs with an idea and a big dream.
As India grows, start-ups will have to play a very crucial role in its economic success. Yes, established companies will grow but the true measure of success would be how many Flipkarts, Snapdeals, MakeMyTrips and Meru Cabs can come up in India.
What is encouraging is that many youngsters in India today are coming up with ideas that they want to convert into feasible businesses. If you are one of them, you could spend some time going through the books that have been enumerated in this post – some of them may just help you as you embark on an exciting yet treacherous journey.
* Guerrilla Marketing By Jay Conrad Levinson
This book was first published in 1983 and it revolutionised the marketing strategies for small-time business owners. The book has several ideas that really work and teaches innovative ways of learning more about the market and tricks to gain market share. The book has been updated to include strategies for marketing on the internet and using technology to enhance one’s business.
* Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
Keith Ferrazzi is a master networker. In his book ‘Never Eat Alone’, he outlines his thoughts and ideas on how really successful people use the power of relationships to seal deals. He also opens a window into the techniques that he uses to build networks and deal with people who he has helped and those who have helped him.
* Rework by Jason Fried
This book offers wonderful ideas on how to succeed in business. According to Jason Fried, you do not need an office, staff or paperwork, you do not need to overwork, counter competition, plan things ahead and break your bank to be successful in business. The book offers innovative strategies that you employ for the growth of your business and make it a huge success. Do I Look Stupid? has a video of Fried’s talk at TED and you may want to go through it.
* Crush it by Gary Vaynerchuk
The ultimate guidebook to harness the power of the Internet for setting up your own business, Crush It is a delightfully motivating book that offers your guidelines on how to use the Internet for establishing your own personal brand. Gary started his wine business from a local wine shop and is today one of the leading businessmen of the sector. He shares the secret of his tremendous growth and how he used the Internet to give his business the enormous boost that made it a huge success.
* Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hseih
This book by the CEO of Zappos.com, a leading online retailer, is all about how emphasis on corporate culture, stress on customer satisfaction and employing best practices within the company can make your business a huge success. Tony Hseih is also the founder of LinkExchange which he sold to Microsoft.
* Good to Great By Jim Collins
Good to Great is not strictly a book about start-ups; it covers established companies that have had a history. However, this is one of the really outstanding business books to read and you can benefit immensely by going through it. It is known that companies that have a great DNA are built to flourish (and Jim Collins covered this aspect in his other great book – Built to Last). But what about those companies that have not been blessed with such fabulous DNA? How can average companies go from good to great? This book by Jim Collins explains strategies that can make a company that has experienced long term mediocrity into one that can develop long-term superiority.
* The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
This book by Tim Ferriss gives you ideas that will help you establish your dream business. It offers several strategies that are unique and innovative for making a business successful. The key takeaway is that you can get others to do the work on an idea that you have developed while you enjoy a leisurely life. I am not totally convinced by Ferriss’ mantra but the book was a huge success.
* Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Chip and Dan Heath are educators and in their book ‘Made to Stick’ they offer explanations on why some ideas thrive (stick) while others do not. They offer a concrete framework that will help you make your ideas stickier.
* Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
In Habits…, Stephen R Covey offers interesting solutions to professional and personal problems. Furthermore, the book offers insights to a holistic, integrated and fair way of living.
* Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands can Compete Against Brand Leaders By Adam Morgan
In this age of competitive marketing, major brands are out in the open taking their competition head on. This book is about how challenger brands can compete with the brand leaders of the present and establish their superiority.
* Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston
This book is a collection of interviews of some of the greatest founders in the business world. In exclusive interviews, great businessmen speak of their journey from scratch to becoming industry captains. The book is highly motivational and also shares some wonderful ideas contributed by leaders such as Steve Wozniak of Apple and Max Levchin of PayPal.
* Flying Without a Net By Thomas J Delong
This book focuses on the anxieties and worries that plague a would-be entrepreneur and that compel him to make mistakes that could prove harmful to his business. The book offers solutions and methods on deriving strength from weaknesses and vulnerabilities. It is an excellent book for re-orienting the entrepreneurial skills of a person.
* The Start-up Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank
This book is ideal for new entrepreneurs and offers a number of solutions and methods to test and gauge the market before rushing head long into a business venture.
* The E-Myth Revisited By Michael Gerber
This book is ideal for those who are confused about taking decisions regarding their business. The book offers a step by step guide right from the infancy of the business to its maturity.
* The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries
If you are planning to start up a software business, you should definitely read this book. Eric Ries shares his experiences, stories and case studies of the IT industry during the dot com boom and also offers ideas on how to sustain your business. Many entrepreneurs swear by the lessons outlined in Ries’ book.
* The $100 Start-up by Chris Guillebeau
This wonderful book is for those who are considering making their hobby or passion into a business. The author provides motivating case studies and provides suggestions and ideas on how to make your business a success.
* Start-up from The Ground Up by Cynthia Kocialski
This book is ideal for those who want to start a business but do not know where to start. The author provides a clear roadmap for such entrepreneurs and also offers solutions to problems that might come your way.
* The Business Planning Guide by David H Bangs Junior
The author provides guidance to entrepreneurs through this book. The dos and don’ts while venturing into an unknown market, steps on how to measure the growth of the business and unique ideas to help your business grow faster have been discussed in this book.
* Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim
This book is exclusively for those who are stuck in a corporate job and want to start their own venture. The author explains everything that you want to know about starting a business and the dos and don’ts of the trade.
* The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
This book is a business encyclopaedia in itself. It offers a step-by-step guide on how to start a business and make it successful.
What I have outlined above is a fairly long list that barely scratches the surface of what each writer has to say. If you are seriously contemplating a new venture or have just started one, do make a shortlist of the books that really interest you and go through the reviews of these on Amazon or Goodreads. Shell out the dough only after that. However, almost all the books are good and could provide you with valuable insights as you embark upon your exciting business journey.
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