Starting a business isn’t often easy. At times, it can be challenging, frustrating, and confusing. But it can also be empowering, personally and financially rewarding, and freeing. A lot of your success will depend on your attitude and the way you approach a problem. Maintaining a positive attitude and an open mind is a great start in any endeavor, especially one that involves starting a business. A healthy dose of patience couldn’t hurt, either.
Over the years, there have been thousands of books written on the topic of starting a business. People who have achieved varying degrees of success have taken pen to paper (or more likely fingers to keyboard) to tell us their stories. Wins, Losses, successes, failures, ups, downs, laughter, tears; it’s all part of the process.
We know that the cautionary tales and inspiring stories are out there just waiting for us to discover them, but with so many options, how do we choose? Well, we’ve scoured the depths of the internet, reviews, forums, and more to find the six best books on starting a business, so you can skip straight to reading and getting ready to change your life:
The Business Start-Up Kit (Steven D. Strauss)
We’ll start out simple here. This super famous book on starting a business comes with a pretty self-explanatory title, and it continues on with “Everything You Need to Know About Starting and Growing Your Own Business.” This straight forward option is great for anyone who’s looking for a really well-rounded picture of what it takes to start a business. Strauss is a successful columnist and a well-respect authority in the business world, so we know he knows his stuff.
In this book, he’ll tell you about what does and doesn’t work in the world of business start-ups, provide countless tips and words of wisdom, and show you why it’s important to be passionate about your work. He’ll also give you a good breakdown of what each step looks like, from acquiring loans and hiring a team to market and growth. Every individual getting ready to start their own business could benefit from something in this book, if not all of it.
Start Your Own Business Rieva Lesonsky)
Rieva Lesonsky, along with the well-versed editing staff of Entrepreneur Magazine, has brought to the table a book that boasts its ability to be “The Only Startup Book You’ll Ever Need.” While we think that could be pretty hard to prove, it’s definitely a contender. Start Your Own Business has sold over 200,000 copies across the four editions that have been released, so it doesn’t look like the hype will be dying down anytime soon.
Just like Strauss’s start-up kit, this one is great for anyone starting their own business, offering a wide scope rather than a narrow focus. But that’s what you want in a book about starting a business, at least at first. Once you’ve read one or two that give you a good idea of the big picture, you can either continue on that path or narrow your focus down based on your niche.
The $100 Startup (Chris Guillebeau)
Don’t worry about the fact that his last name is nearly impossible to pronounce, this man clearly knows his stuff. The rest of the title gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect from this one: “Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future.” Enough said we’re in. Guillebeau speaks from experience, and his passion for turning ideas into profit is what makes this such a fun and exciting read.
This book is great for anyone who needs a boost of motivation or anyone looking to start their business without breaking the bank. He’ll cover investments, business basics, lessons he’s learned on his journey to self-fulfillment, and more. He also uses dozens of case studies to back up his ideas and strategies, so you don’t have to just take his word for it.
Escape from Cubicle Nation (Pamela Slim)
“From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur” is an incredibly intriguing extension of this already interesting title, so it’s easy to see how it has become so popular. Slim really knows how to capture an audience, especially one that is tired of working for other people. Speaking of which, this book is a fantastic choice for anyone who hasn’t quite made the leap and begun the process of starting their own business yet, but they’ve been sitting in their office daydreaming about it for a while. It’s also great for people who are just tired of reporting to others in the corporate world.
Slim was a corporate training manager before she went off on her own, so much of what she has to offer comes from real-world experience, interesting anecdotes, and helpful stories. She’ll guide you through the tumultuous process of leaving a steady income behind and taking a chance on yourself, offering guidance every step of the way.
Rework (Jason Fried and David Hansson)
This New York Times’ Best Seller is more of a collection of essays from a popular blog than it is a novel, but that makes it easier to read, and it’s well worth changing things up a bit. The essays rely heavily on the ideas and strategies that they’ve used for their blog (Signal vs. Noise) and their trailblazing software company (37signals), so this may not be quite as well-rounded as some of the others, but hey, we know they’ve been successful, so maybe they’re onto something.
This book is great for anyone who’s looking to start a business up without spending too much and anyone whose primary goal is to make money, even in the very beginning. Now, we know what you’re thinking: isn’t the goal of any business to make money? Sure, mostly, but this is more about life hacking, technology workarounds, and rapid-fire movement than patience and organic growth.
The Lean Startup (Eric Ries)
We would say that we’ve saved the best for last, but each of these books is one of the best books on starting a business, so it’s hard to pick. Throwing his hat in the ring, Ries wrote a book that will guide you through the challenges and changes that come along with starting a business, with a heavy emphasis on cash flow. From explaining the importance of managing it to explaining the best ways to manage your budget, this book is full of useful and precise advice.
For anyone who needs a bit of help with the management side of things (especially when it comes to finances), this one is for you. He’ll teach you how to adapt, adjust, and successfully manage your business in a time where everything changes in the blink of an eye.