Nobody says being an entrepreneur is easy. Most people become entrepreneurs due to overwhelming compulsion. They have no other choice but to follow their passion and vision. But passion and vision will only get you so far. The journey is long and challenging for most people with many twists and turns along the way. Here are the main obstacles and the book necessary to help you overcome each one.
1. Who is my optimal customer?
Just because you have a product or service doesn't mean it has value for everyone. You need to figure out who is the customer that will change their current behavior in order to purchase your offering in a way that you can extract profit.
Read Bob Bloom's Inside Advantage
2. What is my compelling value proposition?
Even if your product is fantastic, you still have to get the right message out in the right way. You must figure out how to connect empathetically so you attract customers predisposed to buy at a premium price.
Read my Best Seller ROAR! Get heard in the Sales and Marketing Jungle
3. How do I efficiently generate sales?
Seriously, your product will not sell itself. The greatest companies in the world still have more than one person attracting and closing new customers. You need a detailed sales process and a strong sales force to execute.
Read The Ultimate Sales Machine by the late great Chet Holmes
4. How do I make a profit?
Forget about those tech start-ups who think business is just about selling an idea to Zuckerberg. Most companies have to show a profit before anyone is interested in real investment. You need to get on top of your finances so you can prove your concept worthy.
Read The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack and Bo Burlingham
5. How do I recruit and retain talented people?
You can't do this alone and it's a tough market for great talent. You need to get good at finding and cultivating talented people so your company can grow. One bad hire can set you back months or even years. Make people a priority and get some systems in place.
Read Top Grading by Brad and Geoff Smart
6. How do I become a great leader?
You started this monster, now lead it to greatness. You need to have a good sense of self and find ways to be humble and motivational. Don't assume you were born with the skills to command the ship. Do your homework and get some training.
Read The 5 Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni
7. How do I differentiate from my competitors?
You may have thought you were unique, but so did your competitors that are stealing your sales. You need to figure out how you can master the market in ways your competitors can't or won't without great effort or expense.
Read Seth Godin's Purple Cow
8. How do I scale?
Once the business model is proven and the company is running, scaling up requires a whole different skillset. It's time to get the team aligned and fully develop that culture. Only rhythmic communication and near flawless execution will get you to grow 100X.
Read Scaling Up by Verne Harnish
9. How do I replace myself?
This may or may not be your first company, but it most likely won't be your last. You can't start the next chapter unless you do it all right on this company and make that exit happen where you actually get to move on.