Managing Yourself

Question: I know that I need to learn more about managing my small business. What books are recommended for entrepreneurs?

Answer: Josh Patrick listed “10 Books Business Owners Should Read” in his 10/10/14 New York Times article:

Here are a few that we think are appropriate for Cape-based small businesses:

“The E-Myth Revised” by Michael E. Gerber. Many small businesses fail due to the lack of systems vs. making it up as they go. Mr. Gerber explains why it is important to have, as well as how to install systems that will make their businesses better and more predictable.

“Every Family’s Business” by Tom Deans. If you own a family business and are considering passing one on to your children, this is a must read. Mr. Deans asks questions that every family business owner needs to ask every year in preparation for transition. The answers will help family members to focus on the roles they want to play in the business and get prepared to execute them. What Mr. Deans does best is the foster healthy discussion among family members.

“Traction” by Gino Wickman. Business owners are led to believe that they have to do everything and most try to do everything.. They have too much on their plate to do all jobs right. Mr.

Wickman focuses on the 10% of the time entrepreneurs have to be more strategic. He helps small business owners manage their meetings, why every employee needs a project they own and why all employees need to focus on metrics.

“Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port. Selling and cash management are the two most important activities for entrepreneurs. This is one of the best books on selling. Mr. Port helps the reader understand that selling is not just about getting a new customer walking through the door. You’ll figure who is the right customer for your business, where they hang out and how to attract them.

“The Goal” by Eliyah Goldratt. Every business has bottlenecks in its operations. Mr. Goldratt has taken a complicated subject, business operations and put it in the form of a novel. Find a problem, fix it and move on to the next problem. In this interesting novel, Mr. Goldratt fixes bottlenecks to save the company.

“What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith. This book is about managing change. Mr. Goldsmith emphasizes that most problems in business are caused by the person running it. Want to look at managing your business from a new perspective, try this book.

“How to Run Your Business So You Can Leave It in Style” by John H. Brown. Exit planning should be part of every successful business plan. Mr. Brown invented the exit planning profession. In this book, he walks readers through seven things they need to do to leave the business on their terms, including calculating the worth of the business and finding the best buyer.

“Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath. The Heath brothers are known for writing interesting books. Their first, Made to Stick, is a landmark publication about creating messages that are not only received but retained. In this 2nd book, they focus on change management. You’ll learn about the elephant and the rider. The elephant is your business and how hard it is to change. You’ll learn about the process of change to make it easier to effect.

As a small business owner being a life-long learner is a critical ingredient to success. You cannot possibly know everything you need to know to manage your business even though you might be an expert in your trade. Reading books, magazines, listing to webinars or podcasts or reading blogs are excellent ways to stay ahead of the wave and make the changes necessary to meet the future needs of your customers.

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