You have a great business idea. You have a passionate need to escape cubicle life. You even have an outstanding work ethic and a healthy dose of risk tolerance. You're all set to quit your gig and be an entrepreneur--except for one thing.
You don't have an MBA. Or any idea really about the nuts and bolts of running a business. Is your great career leap doomed to failure?
Nope, argues a helpful recent post by founder Cathryn Lavery on Medium. Prior to starting her business, Calm the Ham, she was in the same boat--gung ho for a great idea but without an iota of practical business experience. She managed to make the leap successfully, she reports. It just required a little reading.
Faced with the problem above, she took simple but powerful action: "I made a reading list for myself of all the business books I had heard about from people I admired or that had been recommended to me personally. I spent $237.91 on 22 books, a hefty investment for me at the time, and got reading."
So what books were included in this valuable $238 mini-MBA crash course? Lavery helpfully rounds up all 22 on her Medium post, but to get you started here are a few of the lesser-known titles.
1. The Millionaire Fastlane, by MJ DeMarco
The basic idea of this one is to "become a producer instead of a consumer to attain wealth, and stop trading your time for money," Lavery explains.
2. The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy
"I'm using the formula laid out in this book to become the best version of myself. This book is a basic manual for success and living an extraordinary life," Lavery says.
3. The 80/20 Principles, by Richard Koch
According to this principle, in any domain of life, 20 percent of your effort yields 80 percent of your gains. Find the right 20 percent to focus on and your productivity skyrockets. "I used it with Calm the Ham to define my top customers--the 20% that give me 80% of revenue. Then I asked myself, How can I better serve these people?" Lavery offers.
4. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
"Through learning the science of habits creation, I've learned how to break some of my bad ones," she says, adding that "there's also great stories of how corporations have used habits to sell products."
5. This Book Will Teach You How to Write Better, by Neville Medhora
Lavery sums this suggestion up as "a great introduction to copywriting and learning how to write better, converting people into customers and mind-hacks that make it easier to simply write."
6. Pitch Anything, by Oren Klaf
Clueless about selling? This one is for you. Lavery calls it "a great introduction of how to structure sales calls or presentations to ensure prospects are engaged enough to buy in," and recommends it especially to those would-be founders who are coming from non-sales backgrounds.
7. The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber
This book has helped Lavery in the battle against busywork, allowing her to carve out more time for the things that really matter, like growing revenue. Her prime takeaway from the title: "putting things in place so I'm working on my businesses instead of in them."
Looking for more suggestions? A startup training program has offered another interesting list of articles and blog posts for prospective entrepreneurs that you might want to add to your DIY syllabus.
What titles would you recommend to would-be founders?