Favorite Business Books for Small Business Owners 2017

April 06, 2017  •  1 Comment

It's no secret that I love books (and may classify as an addiction). I've always loved to read and, as a kid, would often stay up late reading with a flashlight under my covers after bedtime. I worked at a library in high school and college and really loved working with books too. In addition to my early childhood teaching license, I also obtained a reading specialist designation. I'm still an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction books. My husband and son share my love of books and we have amassed a mini-library in our home. Most of the books we have now are children's books, thanks to ebooks and the Kindle. I still prefer the physical book though, and we still buy the physical books of our favorite author's and most non-fiction books so we can reference back to them later if needed. There's just something about holding a book and turning the pages, not to mention the lack of eye strain due to staring at a screen too long. 

Over the last couple years as I've grown my business, I've been reading more and more business books, some of which have made a huge impact on me and my business. Many of the books I've read are great for any business owner, not just photographers, so I wanted to share them here with you all in case you might find one helpful. Here are five of my favorites: 

 

The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Morgan

 

1 - The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Morgan

I can't recommend this book enough. Anyone who wants to be able to accomplish more and achieve goals should read this book. I implemented this last year and it has made a huge difference in what I have accomplished and the growth in my business. I wrote an article with my good friend, fellow NAPCP photographer, and accountability partner, Willy Wilson, that you can read over on the NAPCP blog. We talked mostly about the benefits of an accountability partner, which was one of the elements of the 12 Week Year. The premiss of the book is to look at each quarter (12 weeks) as your "year" and set goals for those 12 weeks. It's much easier and more realistic to predict outcomes 12 weeks down the road instead of an entire year. There's also less time to push things off because you "still have time". You may still have an overall goal for the year, but you break that up into goals for each quarter that will get you towards that annual goal. Each goal is broken down into tasks that need to be completed by a certain time within that 12 weeks. I am very goal-oriented and am motivated by deadlines so this was perfect for me. Being my own boss, though, means I set my own deadlines and don't always feel bad about moving them if I don't get to a task. That's where having an accountability partner comes in. Having someone I can share my goals with, and keep me accountable on my task list so that I'm less likely to push them off, has been incredibly helpful. 

 

Your Brain At Work by David Rock

2 - Your Brain At Work by David Rock

I listened to this book as an audio book and honestly, I need to re-listen to it (or maybe get it on my Kindle or a physical book and actually read it). This is not a book to listen to while you're busy doing other things because you'll miss a lot of great info. The book even goes into why multitasking isn't efficient and we shouldn't do it (unless one of those things is something we can do without thinking about it like riding a bike). The information was fascinating and incredibly helpful to know and apply in your life. It reinforces the importance of mindfulness as well, which is something I've been working on. 

Here's a description of the book from the website: 

"YOUR BRAIN AT WORK Explores:

  • Why our brains feel so taxed, and how to maximize our mental resources
  • Why it’s so hard to focus, and how to better manage distractions
  • How to maximize your chance of finding insights that can solve seemingly insurmountable problems
  • How to keep your cool in any situation, so that you can make the best decisions possible
  • How to collaborate more effectively with others
  • Why providing feedback is so difficult, and how to make it easier
  • How to be more effective at changing other people’s behavior"

This is another great book for anyone. You don't even need to be a business owner to benefit from reading this book.

 

Fascinate by Sally Hogshead

3 - Fascinate by Sally Hogshead

This book is about marketing and branding, and dare I say, it was fascinating! (Sorry I had to!) The author goes into how brands fascinate us and what makes their marketing successful. She breaks down different advantages a brand/company can have and how to use them to fascinate your audience in your marketing. You can take a free personality test on her website to find out which advantage fits you best. Then read (or listen) to the book to learn how to use your advantage to fascinate. 

 

The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz

4 - The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz

Another great book, this book discusses how to build your business in a way that is profitable and sustainable. The author looks at how pumpkin farmers grow prize-winning pumpkins and applies those elements to business. The essential elements of the plan (as quoted from the description on Amazon.com) is: 

  • "Plant the right seeds: Don’t waste time doing a bunch of different things just to please your customers. Instead, identify the thing you do better than anyone else and focus all of your attention, money, and time on figuring out how to grow your company doing it.
  • Weed out the losers: In a pumpkin patch small, rotten pumpkins stunt the growth of the robust, healthy ones. The same is true of customers. Figure out which customers add the most value and provide the best opportunities for sustained growth. Then ditch the worst of the worst.
  • Nurture the winners: Once you figure out who your best customers are, blow their minds with care. Discover their unfulfilled needs, innovate to make their wishes come true, and overdeliver on every single promise."

I read this book a couple years ago and it was very helpful in learning how to build my business the right way so that I can remain successful over time. I highly recommend this book. 

 

Contagious by Jonah Burger

5 - Contagious by Jonah Burger

This was another fun marketing book. This book looks at word of mouth marketing and what elements can make something more likely to be shared, or maybe even go viral. There are six basic principles that are discussed in the book that you can use to help make your products, ideas, or brand something people want to talk about. The summary from the author's website states:

"Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender. If you’ve wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, Contagious explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content. This book provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and information that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on."

I listened to this on as an audio book and actually listened to it twice so I could take better notes the second time. I still haven't quite mastered this and should probably listen to it again!

 

Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Or maybe you have a book you loved that you'd recommend? Comment below with your thoughts and recommendations!

Kim

Owner/Photographer-Artist

Kimberly Tank Art & Photography

 

*The links in this blog are for your benefit. I do not profit from you purchasing through these links, but I do recommend you choose an Amazon Smile donation if you purchase through Amazon.


Comments

Willy(non-registered)
Ohh great list! I need to check out a couple of these for sure.
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Kimberly Tank is an award winning professional photographer and artist in Saint Marys, Georgia, servicing Camden County in Southeast Georgia (including Kingsland & Woodbine) and Northeast Florida (including Yulee, Callahan, Fernandina Beach, & Jacksonville). Using natural light and custom on location sessions, Kimberly Tank specializes in the family and child photography; providing an exceptional customer experience and helping you turn your family memories into works of art.

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