Tag Archives: business success

Great Books Every Small Business Owner Should Read

The life of a small business owner is seldom easy, and you don’t become an expert overnight. Reading the books of other entrepreneurs who have been there and done that is one of the best ways to soak up their wisdom and knowledge, while avoiding unnecessary mistakes. There are a few great books in particular that every small business owner should read.

 

Tools of Titans (Tim Ferriss)

Tim Ferriss is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, speaker and author. Over the years, he’s gained a reputation for his unconventional approach to business and for his willingness to be a “human guinea pig.” His most recent book, Tools of Titans is a 600+ word behemoth that examines the “tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers.”

Tim discusses key points that he’s learned in over 200 podcast interview sessions from people like Seth Godin, Edward Norton and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. He offers practical tips and “hacks” that can be implemented to run your business more efficiently and make the most of your resources.

 

Crush It! (Gary Vaynerchuk)

Ever since childhood, Gary Vaynerchuk has had a passion for entrepreneurship and has been “addicted to the hustle.” He got his start by growing his fairly small family wine business into a $50 million a year juggernaut. Although he’s known for being over the top and even a little crude, Gary’s enthusiasm and energy are unparalleled.

In this book, he talks about choosing a hobby or obsession and turning it into a viable business model. More specifically, he explains how to use online mediums such as social media to build your brand and reach a wide-scale audience.

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey)

This is an oldie but a goodie. Stephen R. Covey is one of the most highly respected authorities on leadership, and his work has had a tremendous impact on countless entrepreneurs. Although it’s over 25 years old, the message of this book is still highly relevant to today’s small business owner.

In it, you will learn how to be more productive, think more positively, manage your time more effectively and more. You will also learn how to be a better leader and communicate on a deeper level.

 

Virtual Freedom (Chris Ducker)

Chris Ducker is a fairly well known blogger, speaker, podcaster and entrepreneur. His main area of emphasis is virtual staffing and using technology to help small business owners run their enterprises more efficiently.

In his book, Virtual Freedom, Chris explains how many of today’s employers try to wear too many hats at once. For instance, they may try to handle sales, marketing, accounting, HR and more until the point of burnout. His solution is to hire virtual employees to handle much of the workload so that you can focus on your core competencies and growing your business.

These great books focus on different areas of small business ownership. Each one lends its own unique perspective that should enable you to become more adept at running your business and accelerating its progress.

 

How to Ensure Your Business Will Succeed

Building a business from the ground up until it’s ultimately a thriving enterprise can seem like a daunting task. Not to be pessimistic, but there’s a lot that can go wrong along the way. To be successful, it requires careful planning, organization, execution and a willingness to continually learn. While there is no one-size-fits-all template, there are several measures you can take to ensure your business will succeed.

 

Why Do Most Businesses Fail?

Research on Statistic Brain’s website identified three primary reasons for most businesses failing.

  1. Incompetence accounted for 46 percent of failures (e.g. nonpayment of taxes, lack of planning and no knowledge of financing)
  2. Unbalanced experience or lack of managerial experience was the reason behind 30 percent of failures (e.g. expanding too quickly and inadequate borrowing practices)
  3. Lack of experience in line of goods or services accounted for 11 percent (e.g. inadequate inventory and wasting advertising budget)

So how can you ensure that you don’t fall into the same trap?

 

Maintain Detailed Documentation

Perhaps the most important thing to do is document anything of importance. This can include everything from cash flow and employee documents to marketing reports and employee performance/behavioral issues.

Not only will keeping records provide you with tangible data to monitor profitability and improve your decision making, it’s important from an HR standpoint. For instance, if you find yourself in a wrongful termination lawsuit, you could provide reports documenting employee misconduct.

 

Stay Organized

Chaos and clutter are toxic to any business. To keep things on track, meet deadlines and keep consumers happy, it’s essential that you’re as organized as possible. Fortunately, there are an arsenal of apps and software that can help you stay on top of your game.

For example, collaboration tools like Slack and Wrike will keep team members on the same page. Task planners like Wunderlist and Trello will ensure that you’re completing necessary tasks each day. Accounting software like Freshbooks and Xero will make organizing financials much simpler.

 

Give Yourself Some Financial Wiggle Room

Mistakes and curveballs are inevitable in business. While it’s impossible to predict exactly what will be thrown your way, you should expect the unexpected and cover yourself when setbacks occur.

Ideally, you’ll have some extra capital at your disposal or an investor who can help you pull through tough times. If this simply isn’t a possibility, you should strive to be as lean as possible and not waste money so that you’ll have some reserves on standby.

 

Weigh Risk Versus Reward

Hardly any businesses succeed without taking at least some amount of risk along the way. The key to getting ahead is being a smart risk taker and carefully weighing risk versus reward when making critical decisions.

For example, it’s wise to examine what the downside would be if you made the wrong decision. If you know for sure that you could get back on your feet even in a worst-case scenario, then it’s probably a risk worth taking. When you make a series of smart decisions, it’s likely to be a catalyst for growth.

 

Although there are no guarantees that your business will succeed, taking an intelligent approach and being ready for a bit of turbulence will help your chances greatly. You may also want to check out the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website because it offers a lot of helpful advice.