Succeeding in business is a long and challenging road, but it’s incredibly satisfying to build something from the ground up that you really believe in. The journey is full of twists and turns and most successful entrepreneurs are constantly striving to improve both their business and themselves.
Everyone has a different definition of success. Some are driven by revenue, while others are more interested in building more efficient systems or having the best customer service ratings. But even though success looks different to every business owner, there are some essential skills and principles that every entrepreneur should know.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Check out these classic books.
Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher & William Ury
People often struggle in business because they’re afraid of conflict and don’t know how to conduct healthy conflict resolution. They’re not willing to negotiate and will do whatever they can to prevent “confrontational situations.” Unfortunately, that can lead to a lot of stress, misunderstandings, and ultimately, more interpersonal tension than simply dealing with disagreements immediately and with professionalism.
In Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher & William Ury, you’ll learn how to negotiate and stand up for yourself without taking advantage of others or being taken advantage of yourself. The book goes through how to understand problems and navigate potentially tense situations to come up with solutions that work for all parties involved.
Getting to Yes also goes over how to deal with people who aren’t interested in being civil or have more power than you. This bestseller will teach you how to be more confident in negotiations and stand up for yourself with integrity.
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
You’ve probably heard of this classic, and for good reason: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie has become essential reading for business owners all over the world. The title sums up the content pretty well—this book will help you to build communication skills that will serve you well in both your professional and personal life.
Everyone can learn to be a better communicator. In his book, Carnegie talks about staying positive, about not criticizing or complaining. People want to be around those who are interested and friendly. You can learn how to become a better listener and techniques for winning people over while staying true to yourself and your values. It’s a must-read for any business owner!
Lean Thinking, by James P. Womack & Daniel T. Jones
If you’re like most business owners, then you probably can’t say truthfully that every dollar you’ve ever spent on your business was well-spent. It’s almost impossible to avoid wasting money at some point in your entrepreneurial journey, but you can do your best to build a company that’s as lean and efficient as possible.
Lean Thinking, by James P. Womack & Daniel T. Jones, talks about the theory behind lean organizations and gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to build a more streamlined and efficient business.
This book provides practical advice for creating a lean organization, but it also focuses on the mindset behind lean thinking. It’s an all-in-one, essential resource for every entrepreneur looking to give every dollar a job.
Good to Great, by Jim Collins
Most entrepreneurs don’t get into business to be “good.” Entrepreneurs are driven, passionate people who want to be great at what they do. So what holds most businesses and entrepreneurs back from greatness? Jim Collins explores this question in Good to Great, a book that examines companies that did become great and breaks down their keys to success.
This is an incredible resource for entrepreneurs who have built solid companies but have plateaued. Good to Great offers practical lessons and debunks myths about greatness for business owners who are ready to take their companies to the next level.
Make Time for Reading
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to make time for personal and professional development. If you don’t spend time on yourself, you’ll struggle to continue growing your business.
The books listed above are a great starting point, but don’t limit yourself. Make a pledge to read every day. You’ll be inspired, motivated, and ready to tackle any challenge that comes up as you build a business you can feel proud of.