Lucky for you, some of the most successful business leaders of all time have written books about how to start a business with less risk. This list is meant to be considered as a well rounded compilation of books that attack starting a business from many angles. This is because some books on this list cover operations and not marketing. We believe that if you read all these books or our summaries of them, your chances of success in your business endeavor will be extremely high.
Written by the billionaire cofounder of PayPal and you will immediately understand how smart a billionaire is. He identifies the main aspects of starting a business that are so difficult and must be overcome in order to succeed and there is more to it than differentiation.
You’ll need an insulated defensible position. As in, a product that can’t be easily copied and sold at a lower price. This destroys margins, limits scale through me too products.
Find a market without too much competition and ideally no competition. This invites a race to the bottom through price reductions. This case is made wonderfully through an example of how competition has destroyed the San Francisco restaurant market.
There are many other rules that Peter provides in starting a business, so read this book if you want certainty of success.
Click here to read the full book summary of Zero to One.
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Get people to remember your brand, tell their friends, and buy again and again. This is a book about how to get your company word of mouth or even to go viral.SHOP NOW
If you’re starting a business you’ll need to have something unique about it. Even if it’s a gimmick. This book will inspire you to imagine a way to make your brand standout to your customers and get them talking about it.
In the book you’ll learn that people sharing your unique experience or even knowledge of your product is called “social currency”. When we share something unique, cool, & inspiring it gives us a rush of “cool” from our peers. Creating an experience that is cool enough to share is the key.
Example after example are shared from using music to draw on nostalgia or adding secret rooms and speakeasies to a shop owner’s experience are thoroughly explained and shared. This book will help you understand why restaurants offer outrageously expensive Philly cheesesteaks. Read this book and figure out what you’re going to do to get people talking.
Click here to read the full book summary of Contagious.
If you’re reading this article then you’re either thinking about starting something or you just did. This book is for those with a great idea. Unfortunately it’s an idea that will never see the light of day because they are never going to actually do anything about it.
Poke the box means to be curious and try to see how something works or if it can work. Figuring out a smart way to explore an idea and push yourself to find your potential in a new capacity.
Many people are held back by self fulfilling proficiency that they can’t, but exploring something is how you’ll find out your super power. It’s about winning against your primal instinct to protect yourself.
Click here to read the full book summary of Poke The Box.
This book is about category creation. Avoiding competition is explained to be the key to success for a new venture. Which makes sense but the thorough examples shared in the book will give you a great grip on how to poke holes in an idea before moving forward.
The goal is what they call Value Innovation. This can occur when aligning your innovation with price, utility, and cost positions. They want you to start with Price and subtract the cost, not do what is traditional and start with cost and add margin.
The best example explains what Yellowtail wine did by creating a new market for intimidated Americans wine drinkers. They welcomed all to drink wine.
The New York police department turning around crime in two years is another would be impossible story.
It will challenge you to ask yourself questions like: Where are the biggest blocks to utility for your buyer? And does your offer effectively solve these blocks?
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The Innovator's Dilemma
This books clearly shows the challenges in bringing new ideas to market. What is the best way to innovate? What part of the market should you go after? All this an more is answered.SHOP NOW
This is the highest caliber book on this list by far. The detailed examples and research are unrivaled. You’ll learn the challenges facing new companies and why large companies must buy to innovate, rather than create from within.
What is explained so well is the opportunity in smaller unwanted parts of industries. When one thinks of getting into the steel business they link of beautiful sheet steel, not rebar. This leads to the formation, size and ultimate take over of an industry leader. But for the industry giants to start and grow a rebar business would have been insignificant to revenues and thus, unjustified.
The lesson in this book is to consider smaller dismissed and perhaps unwanted ways to make money and build a business scooping up all the work here. Then once you reinvest the larger opportunities will come and perhaps a buyout from a larger business once revenues are substantial.
Click here to read the full book summary of The Innovator's Dilemma.
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The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
Rules for a lifetime of successful business operations and launches. Find out what rules you're breaking and learn from the mistakes other brands have made.SHOP NOW
After a career in marketing. The authors have taken the best lessons from their experience and listed them out. Half are very import for a brand launch.
Things like the first mover advantage with examples like Pepsi never overtaking Coca Cola. Or Powerade never outselling Gatorade.
Avoiding line extensions through stories like Budweiser diminished their own market share when introducing Bud Light.
This book is a brisk read that will round out a short and long term plan for any business. If you’re planning a launch you’ll need a vision for what you’ll offer, how to sell it, and this book will help you with a plan.
Click here to read the full book summary of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.
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Fooled By Randomness
Life is nonlinear which leads to chance events, so luck plays a big role. When considering a past event in politics, investments and business, look at the costs of the alternative rather than the outcomes.SHOP NOW
This book is included to make sure you have a crystal clear understanding of what statistical significance really means. One cannot launch a brand, get a few clicks online and make a decision. We need more data.
The idea is to create a business that succeeds in a predictable way, not “blow up” as they say in the book when someone’s luck runs out.
Making conservative decisions with all downside considered is the only way to ensure success and minimize risk. This is another great lesson from this book, you cannot under research an idea. How can you minimize the luck factor to your success and still have certainty of success? Striving towards certainty is the key to success.
Click here to read the full book summary of Fooled by Randomness.
To start a business one must have long-lasting relevance. You must not be swayed into joining a fad. What is trending now may not be in 6 or 12 months. Avoiding this and creating a “cool” business is supremely important. Cool is different and cool stands the test of time.
This book helps the reader understand that one must have awareness of what your customers are thinking. What interests them and why. Learn how to communicate your differentiation in a cool way without saying “I’m cool”.
An example provided is that of the iPod destroying the Sony Walkman upon its release. It was cool and new, had the benefits of being easy to carry and could hold much more music. The iPod quickly became an iconic must have item. Even forcing other companies to wonder how they too can have their product turn into a veritable iPod.
Click here to read the full book summary of Chasing Cool.
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Mind Your Business
For those looking to monetize a passion. This is a Step-By-Step guide to building a brand new business. Get the product right, website built, branding, and more.SHOP NOW
This is a workbook for those looking to take a passion and monetize it by creating a business. A great tool for those who are feeling unorganized or have incomplete vision for what is needed and what to plan for. Branding, marketing, monetization, budgeting and more.
Many people are held back by their indecision or loss aversion. This book will guide your step by step through all the steps in the process, so you feel completely calm and in control. Imposter syndrome is real and can be very hindering.
You are the brand. Learn to identify your main value proposition and how to market this to your ideal customers. All while remaining in control of the financial side of this new endeavor. Potholes are everywhere in business and this book will give you a wonderful road map to avoid many of them.
Click here to read the full book summary of Mind Your Business.
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