With the New Year upon us, you should think about what you could be doing to better manage your startup, whether it’s just getting it off the ground, finding more time for yourself, or doubling sales. You may have had a crazy last year so think about improvements that you’d like to see and form a strategy that you can implement to accomplish your goals. With that, there are three must reads for any entrepreneur--- that I know can help you get there. My top picks are Guy Kawasaki’s “Art of the Start”, Eric Ries “The Lean Startup”, and Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth”. I suggest reading these books in this order too! They inspire, help us stay lean and efficient, and help us better manage our energy. Every year, at this time, I assess my own situation to see what I can improve – I recommend that you do the same too!
1) Art of the Start- Guy Kawasaki, the former chief evangelist of Apple and well-known Silicon venture capitalist, provides a high-level framework for starting a business. His book covers the many facets of starting a business, from deciding on your business idea and writing your business plan to establishing your brand. Kawasaki's approach is very high level, but his book is packed with practical wisdom and his enthusiasm is infectious. Kawasaki argues that great companies are great because they have "meaning" and "mantras". Their ideas and solutions make life easier, people more productive, solves problems, and their mission, vision and business models are simple and brief - "You make something, you sell it, you collect the money."
2) The Lean Startup- Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The “Lean Startup”, by Eric Ries, is a new approach that changes the way new products are launched. They’re more capital efficient and they can effectively leverage human creativity. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, his approach relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. Rather than wasting time on creating elaborate business plans, agility is the name of the game. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups.
3) The E-Myth- You hear horror stories all the time of entrepreneurs toiling 24/7 for months, if not years, on end to make their business a success. However, working harder doesn't guarantee getting ahead. In this book, Michael Gerber provides a great primer for re-thinking how to succeed as an entrepreneur: earning more and working less, by delegating and inspiring more. The goal in effect is to work on your business strategically, and not on your business tactically.
To see my complete list of must reads for entrepreneurs, click here. Be inspired by other entrepreneurs who’ve successfully navigated the startup world- maybe you’re already among them - however, I assure you that these are nuggets of wisdom that we can all pick up. Whatever you do, keep learning, stay relevant, and continue building greatness!