As a content marketing and SEO consultant, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from starting (and working with) several businesses, it’s this:
If you’re not learning, growing, and innovating, you’re dying.
That said, not all information is created equal. And while I love the well-known business books—like “Good to Great” and “The Lean Startup“—there are books with more immediate actionable takeaways you can and should implement the day you start your business.
In fact, I wish I had read these books before I started. They would have shaved years off the time it took to get to where I am today. I’d have more money, spend less time working on “busy work,” and have a daily routine that all but guarantees success.
In this article, I share the three business books I think every new (and established) business owner should read. Let’s dive in!
1. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
“Profit First“ is all about putting your business’s profits first (I know—shocker).
The thing is, most businesses don’t take a profit, or don’t know if they’ve taken a profit, until end of year accounting.
This book teaches you exactly how you should set up your business bank accounts so you’re profitable from day one.
Specifically, Michalowicz advises you to open five initial accounts:
An “income” account, which is where you deposit all your checks and link up with your invoicing or billing software.
An “owner’s comp” account, which is where your pay is deposited.
An “operating expense” account, which is where you pay your business’s bills from.
A “tax” account to deposit your taxes.
And a “profit” account to deposit your profits (that you don’t touch or spend on the business—this is money for you).
Basically, twice a month, you’re supposed to log into your account and distribute certain allocation percentages into each account. And you can’t touch your profit or tax accounts except for once a quarter when you distribute/pay them.
This forces you to take your profits—even if it’s just 1 percent of your business’s income—and put it away before you start paying bills or taxes.
Why this book, though?
Because I, like many other business owners, didn’t read it for the first few years of my business. And, also like many others, I did not take profits for those years.
In fact, despite working 70 to 80 plus hours per week for over a year straight, I still struggled to pay the bills. I realized that despite my efforts, what I was doing wasn’t working.
And that really sucks.
Imagine spending years of your life with blood, sweat, and tears to build something, only to realize what you’ve built is an ugly mess. Trust me—not fun.
But you can avoid that if you focus on profits from day one. I wish I could give this book to my younger self. It would have saved a lot of headaches.
2. The One Thing by Gary Keller
“The One Thing“ is a fascinating book that essentially takes the 80/20 principle and delves deep into the core of why it works—and how you can use it to maximize your time, energy, and income with the least amount of effort.
Who doesn’t want that?
The thing is, most of us spend hours of time on “busy work.” This could be anything from checking emails, to posting on social media, to admin tasks that anyone could do, and more.
But this busy work isn’t moving the needle in our businesses in any way. It’s arguably just wasted time.
Keller teaches you how to focus on the one task that will have the greatest impact on your business and life. The one thing that, if done, will make every other task easier or unnecessary.
For example, if you have 10 things on your to-do list and one of them is “hire a virtual assistant,” don’t you think that VA could take some of the other nine things off your plate?
If you keep doing the same routine things for yourself or your clients (such as creating search-optimized content), rather than continuing to do those tasks over and over, create a standard operating procedure for how it’s done and hire someone. Or, find a tool to automate some of your tasks, like sending email follow-ups or responding to people who like your social media statuses. (One such tool I use is Social Report—check it out!)
Do you see how certain tasks can make other busy work easier or unnecessary?
It’s a simple concept. But then, the simplest things in life are also easy to overlook.
Speaking of simple things…
3. The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs by Hal Elrod
“The Miracle Morning“ is the ultimate morning routine.
As entrepreneurs (and human beings), the way our day plays out is often a direct result of how our morning went. If you have an inconsistent morning ritual, you’ll have inconsistent days.
But, what if you wake up to the same passion-igniting, mind-focusing, body-fueling habits every single day?
Then you’ll consistently pump out solid work, even when you don’t feel like it—because you’ve made it a habit to get it done first thing in the morning and set your day up for success.
Hal’s favorite saying is that he “gets more done by 8 AM than most people get done all day.”
Sounds super cheesy, but it’s completely true—a simple morning routine can change your entire life. Plus, it’s changed tens of thousands of other people’s, including my own.
I’ll admit, my morning routine isn’t perfect. But I make sure to get a healthy breakfast and a good workout at least three to four days a week, and those three to four days are by far my most productive!
One little nugget I took from this book:
You can create the person you want to be. Whoever it is you want to be—how would that person wake up in the morning and live their life? Do that, even if you’re not yet that person, and you will grow to become that person.
There you have it: three books every new and established business owner must read!
Read more about this at articles.bplans.com.