I have a confession to make - I am a sucker for books! Sometimes it feels like an addiction - I get the "must haves" for a book and order it ASAP, only to have it sit unread on my book shelf for months and even years.
Some of my learning about business has come purely from books. More often than not, a book or magazine article has been the trigger for a deeper exploration - perhaps a conversation with an "expert", a phone call to a friend who works in the area, or retaining a professional service person to help me really grasp the knowledge! And then the books have been my faithful companions as I have been guided to solve business problems or develop my skills.
Some reading materials have been crucial to my development as an entrepreneur, and since I was asked the question today by an aspiring physician entrepreneur "Do you have any books you could recommend for getting started in business?", I thought I'd compile a quick list here to share with you all.
The reading that has had the greatest impact on my growth as a business person includes:
The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber. This book teaches business owners the skills of thinking not only like a Technician (someone with the "technical" skills to deliver a service), but also like an Entrepreneur working ON rather than IN a business, and like a Manager who is putting in place reliable and repeatable Systems and Processes for efficient and effective operations. It was an eye opener for me early on in business.
Gerber has two companion books that are relevant and helpful - "The E-Myth Physician: Why Most Medical Practices Don't Work and What To Do About It" and "E-Myth Mastery", a detailed workbook.
Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, by Peter Block. This is a MUST READ for anyone who plans to offer consulting expertise. The take home message - your greatest value as a consultant to another business derives from the powerful combination of your expertise and your authenticity.
The One Page Business Plan, by Jim Horan. This high quality workbook engaged me right away with it's insightful questions about why I wanted to be in business, who I wanted to serve and how I wanted to serve them.
I have used this book over and over with my coaching clients, and when I wrote to the author Jim Horan hoping to have him be a guest interviewee at one of my monthly teleclasses, I was thrilled when he said "yes". Look out for the April teleclass in which I interview him - the class will be posted for your registration after March 21st.
StartUpNation, by Jeff Sloan and Rich Sloan. From their Life Plan to their completed Business Plan, the Sloan brothers offer a quick but detailed overview of the steps needed to go into business. They have a companion website at StartUpNation.com filled with free content about business.
There are many more books I could recommend for reading from cover to cover, but this is enough to get you thinking like a business person.
For valuable reference books, here are my top three:
Streetwise Small Business Book of Lists, edited by Gene Marks
The Entrepreneur's Desk Reference, by Jane Applegate
201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business, by Jane Applegate
Finally, for those of you who are Book Hogs like me, a terrific investment is Amazon Prime, if you like to purchase books frequently over the Internet. For an annual fee of $79, you can have all your books (and many non-book items, including grocery items, that qualify for Amazon Prime shipping) shipped f.ree with a two-day delivery time (or $3.99 for overnight delivery). It is a most satisfying experience ordering something and having it arrive two days later, with no shipping charges!
Please share your great resources here, if you have any. I'm always on the lookout for good stuff.