"Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." —Albert Einstein
Starting a small business can sometimes feel like a roughshod way of getting an MBA if you've never been to business school. Of course, with the internet, there are so many great videos on Youtube (Harvard's Innovation Lab comes to mind) and free resources and inexpensive courses from Udemy to Skillshare to Coursera to Edx that can help you on your journey. However, nothing sharpens the mind like a good book, and here we share a few of our favorites:
The E-myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
The book on how to automate and systematize a business so that you can work on the business instead of in the business.
Biggest takeaway point: Being an owner is not the same thing as being a worker. The skillset that you use to work in a profession is not the same thing as that needed to create and sustain a company that offers those products or services.
Favorite quote: "If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!"
Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
A very simple but salient view of how to market your product or service in a way that connects to your ideal customer and clearly communicate how your brand can solve their problems.
Biggest takeaway point: Companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but people buy solutions to internal problems.
Favorite quote: “Imagine your customer is a hitchhiker. You pull over to give him a ride, and the one burning question on his mind is simply Where are you going? But as he approaches, you roll down the window and start talking about your mission statement, or how your grandfather built this car with his bare hands, or how your road-trip playlist is all 1980s alternative. This person doesn’t care.”
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
One of the best books on customer service and how to create and implement a company's core values so that they inspire and engage your employees and customers.
Biggest takeaway point: People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Zappos is renowned for its customer service and the fact that they don't work from robotic scripts. Being human matters now more than ever in our overly-systematized world.
Favorite quote: “My advice is to stop trying to "network" in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is its own reward. The more diverse your set of friendships are, the more likely you'll derive both personal and business benefits from your friendship later down the road. You won't know exactly what those benefits will be, but if your friendships are genuine, those benefits will magically appear 2-3 years later down the road.”
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
A book about choices and habits and how the little things we choose to do every day are actually the biggest factor in longterm success or failure.
Biggest takeaway point: Compound interest works for behavior as well as money. Indeed, neither Tom Brady nor Derek Jeter embarked on their sports careers as highly touted prospects, but both were highly disciplined athletes whose daily behaviors of diet, sleep, and deliberate practice paid dividends in the long run. This is also true in business and it is true in life.
Favorite quote: “Any time you see what looks like a breakthrough, it is always the end result of a long series of little things, done consistently over time.”
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
A dense but important read about our deliberate thought processes and how they differ from our intuitive responses from a behavioral psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on identifying how people think.
Biggest takeaway point: If you try to say more than one thing, you don't say anything.
Favorite quote: “If you care about being thought credible and intelligent, do not use complex language where simpler language will do.”
Good to Great by Jim Collins
A book that details why some businesses flounder or stay mediocre while others become great. Collins codifies the hedgehog concept which is for an entrepreneur to figure out what her business can be best at, what it can't be best at, and what is she passionate about. Most startups make the mistake of trying to do too many things at once. Do less. Start simple. Don’t be afraid to Focus. Narrow it as much as you can. One particular brand, one particular pain point, segment. One thing.
Biggest takeaway point: The who is more important than the what when hiring. You can teach people, what needs to be done but you can't teach them how to be hungry, humble, and smart. Find the right people and you will build a great business.
Favorite quote: “We were surprised, shocked really, to discover the type of leadership required for turning a good company into a great one. Compared to high-profile leaders with big personalities who make headlines and become celebrities, the good-to-great leaders seem to have come from Mars. Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy—these leaders are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. They are more like Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar.”
The team at PopUP CleanUP is always learning. We are a small business that specializes in event and commercial cleaning in the Greater Los Angeles area.