Five Great Books for Small Business Owners

5 Books All Small Business Owners Should Read

We here at SIGN.COM want to ensure you have the best head start possible when diving into the launch of a small business.  Towards this endeavor, we have gathered a selection of books pertaining to small business ownership.  Hopefully, one of these will strike your interest and passion while giving you good advice along the way.  Not all of these books will help every individual small business owner, but at least one of these will help guide you along the track in which you wish to follow.  This is the first blog in this series, with more entries to follow.

1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins.

small business

Good to Great primarily concerns a question that haunted Collins for many years: how do certain companies achieve enduring success?  Specifically, companies “not born with great DNA?”  The good ones, the mediocre ones, and the bad ones – Collins and his team performed five-year case studies on “elite companies that made the leap to great results” and sustained those results for at least fifteen years.  If you are dying to find out how these companies sustained success over those years, then this is the book for you.

2. Play at Work: How Games Inspire Breakthrough Thinking by Adam L. Penenberg.

small business signs

Penenberg is an investigative journalist and uses his sleuthing skills to discover how companies of all sizes all around the world are using ‘gamification’, or game theory, to create a more productive, creative, and efficient work environment.  These companies harness the power of games (whether they be mobile, video, analog, or even crossword puzzles) in order to maximize employee production and fulfillment.

3. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by the creator of the wildly successful comic strip Dilbert, Scott Adams

custom business signs

In this book, Adams takes the memoirist’s hatchet to his life and rehashes his many failures.  As the description reads, “Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you’ve ever met, including his corporate career, his inventions, his investments, and two restaurants…Adams shares the strategies he has used to invite failure in, embrace it, then pick its pocket.”  If you wish to succeed in your small business endeavors, this is a great book in helping you overcome your fear of failure.  As Adams writes, “everything you want out of life is in that bubbling vat of failure.”

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

make your own business signs

First published 1936, this book isn’t any less powerful or influential today.  Many consider it one of the first best-selling self-help books of the modern era.  Successful people such as Warren Buffett swear by it, and its valuable contribution to their rise up the entrepreneurial ladder.  Within its pages you will find time tested advice including, but certainly not limited to: “three fundamental techniques in handling people, the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.”  Upon reading this book, you will be well on your way towards your goal of assured small business success.

5. The Gen Y Handbook: Applying Relationship Leadership to Engage by Diane Spiegel

The Gen Y Handbook

One of the main difficulties when it comes to managing your first small business is figuring out how to motivate and inspire your employees.  Of course, each person will be different, but you will often be working with as many as four different generations within the same workplace.  That is not to say every person from the same generation will act in a certain way, but it is still important to “understand the cultural forces, which have shaped the way many people in a certain generation will act.”  And if you are managing individuals from Generation Y – more commonly known as ‘millennials’ – then Diane Spiegel’s book is for you.  It dives deep into the best practices you can utilize when managing the younger members of your employee base.  Spiegel writes: “Generation Y is the newest generation to enter our workforce and they pose a whole new set of particularly thorny issues, especially for those who manage them.  So how can you, as a leader, help them reach their full potential?”  This question drives the book forward, offering you insights “into the workings of the Gen Y mind: how they operate, their strengths, their weaknesses, and how to effectively engage the wide range of abilities at their disposal.”