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The 5 Best Small Business Books You Can’t Afford to Skip

Scott Hammer
August 16, 2019
6 min read

In the small business world, knowledge is power. From knowing the “ins and outs” of your market and ideal customer to capturing trends in software and social media, every ounce of information you gain can be your big advantage. One of the most effective ways to gather that intel? Turn to your nearest bookstore. Here is our list of the best books for small business owners:

(Read also: The Best ERP Software Systems for SMEs in 2021)

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It- Michael E. Gerber

erp software myths

In The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber (@MichaelEGerber) dismisses common myths that come with starting and successfully running a small business. He first rejects the E-Myth— that professionals in a technical field will be successful at spearheading a business in that field. In fact, Gerber argues, adherence to that myth is often why small businesses fail. In The E-Myth Revisited, Gerber explains how, instead, you need to play three roles in order to run a successful small business— equal parts entrepreneur, manager, and technician. You’ll learn how to navigate all phases of your business from infancy to maturity and how to work towards being able to work “on your business rather than in it. It’s a modern classic, and one of the best books about small business we’ve encountered.




SELL LIKE CRAZY: How to Get As Many Clients, Customers, and Sales as You Can Possibly Handle- Sabri Suby

business management books

When first starting a company, it can be difficult to translate your passion into getting sales. In his debut novel, SELL LIKE CRAZY, Sabri Suby (@sabrisuby) gives readers an inside look at the 8-phase selling system he has perfected and implemented in more than 167 different markets. Suby is the founder of King Kong, Australia’s fastest-growing digital agency. Using his pioneered system for his own business, Suby took his company from $50 to over $10 million in annual revenue— in just 4 years. Covering everything from Google AdWords to Facebook Ads, this book is your one-stop-shop for valuable advice. If you’re looking for one of the best books on growing a small business’ sales utilizing digital marketing, be sure to read SELL LIKE CRAZY.




Speaking to Influence: Mastering Your Leadership Voice- Dr. Laura Sicola

business management books

Exceptional communication skills are essential to any great business leader. According to an Inc. article on the subject, the “success and growth of a business hinges in large part on communication skills.” In Speaking to Influence, Dr. Laura Sicola (@LauraSicola) expands upon the idea that a great leader and strong communication skills go hand-in-hand. Dr. Sicola is a leadership communication coach with over 20 years of experience and founder of Vocal Impact Productions. Her client list is impressive, boasting major companies which include Comcast, IBM, and Chase Card Services. In Speaking to Influence, you’ll explore techniques of storytelling, vocal habits, and other topics about effective communication. Although this isn’t a small business book, it can teach you valuable skills to help you run your business. Dr. Sicola guides you through using communicate to increase your credibility and power of influence in business.




Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business- Paul Downs

business management books

If you’re looking for the typical “5 Steps to Creating Your Dream Business” book supported by studies, this is not the book for you. Instead, this small business book tells the story of Paul Downs (@paul_c_downs), Founder and CEO of Paul Downs Cabinetmakers. In Boss Life, you’ll follow the company through the year 2012 and all of the ups and downs that came with it. Each chapter represents one month, starting with the bank account balance for that month. We think this is one of the best small business books because Downs doesn’t sugarcoat. In fact, one of the first things you’ll read is Downs calling himself “a survivor, not a financial success.” Throughout the book, Downs explains how to run a successful business, all while trying to balance work and family life. If you’re interested in another person’s perspective about the struggles and triumphs of running a small business, pick up Boss Life.




Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t- Jim Collins

business management books

When running a small business, knowing what doesn’t work can sometimes be just as valuable as knowing what does work. In Good to Great by Jim Collins (@level5leaders), you get both. During the 5-year study this book is based on, Collins and his team found 11 companies that had achieved “good-to-great” business status. Not only had they achieved that status, but the companies profiled maintained that status for at least 15 years. To compare, they also profiled 11 companies in similar industries that had failed to achieve the same “greatness.” Throughout Good to Great, you’ll learn the characteristics and differences between the two types of companies. You’ll gain insight into the leadership qualities, disciplines, and company strategies that can take any small business from good to great— and why some companies fail to make that jump.

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Scott Hammer

Scott Hammer is a business technology writer. His background is in literature and education, which means he can quote Emerson and Thoreau at moments that seem appropriate, but are ultimately random. If pushed, he can also write really, really long sentences.