Just because someone has a great business idea doesn’t mean they will know how to execute it. Many aspiring entrepreneurs lack a background in business and have no experience starting and running a company. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources available today to help guide inexperienced up-and-comers in the right direction.
Whether it’s a book, website, podcast, blog or influencer, most successful entrepreneurs have a favorite resource that helped them on their journey to business ownership. Below, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council share their best recommendations for those who are new to startup life and need to learn how to launch and run a business relatively quickly.
1. The Power Of Strangers (Joe Keohane)
Not all entrepreneurs are extroverts and skilled at conversation. Yet, networking and connecting are essential for them, as entrepreneurs must bridge differences to sell their product, service or vision. In The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World, Joe Keohane gives practical tips on how to talk to strangers, and he shows the psychological benefits of these interactions in an entertaining way. - Vanita Bellen, True North Coaching and Consulting
2. Who Moved My Cheese? (Spencer Johnson, M.D.)
I generally encourage my mentees to read Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson, M.D. The aim is to encourage them to identify who they are and better understand who needs to be on their team in order to take progressive steps. Who Moved My Cheese? shares insights into the type of person you need to become on the journey of entrepreneurship. - Claudine Reid, PJ’s Community Service
3. The E-Myth Revisited (Michael E. Gerber)
Any beginner entrepreneur should read The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. In fact, I recommend this book to established entrepreneurs as well. The E-Myth Revisited teaches us how to build systems and processes into our companies as if we were going to franchise (even if we never will) so that the systems run the business and the people run the systems. This is the No. 1 one resource for avoiding or ending entrepreneurial burnout! - David Taylor-Klaus, DTK Coaching, LLC
4. The Power Of Habit (Charles Duhigg) The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg is a great resource. I am a big believer in the intertwined impact of behavior in our personal lives and our business lives. This book addresses them equally, as well as how to change these disempowering behaviors for increased performance. Not a one-size-fits-all book, it instead details a structure for exploring solutions and instituting new habits. - Karen Silins, A+ Career & Resume, LLC 5. Profit First (Mike Michalowicz) I recommend the book Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz. I love this approach to cash flow management, which is designed to ensure entrepreneurs make a profit and are paid. In the Profit First system, business owners take their profit out of the cash deposits before expenses rather than paying themselves with what’s left over. This is a very important concept to grasp in order to ensure you stay in business. - Betty Kempa, Betty Kempa | Business Coach 6. Traction (Gino Wickman) Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman is by far the No. 1 book that I recommend to aspiring entrepreneurs that I coach. This book gives you the tools and resources to learn how to establish accountability, organization and a vision for your business. There are also online resources that can be utilized, but I would suggest reading the book and then seeking out some assistance with effective implementation. - Bryan Powell, Executive Coaching Space
7. Someone Working In The Market You Want To Serve Find someone who is working in the market you want to serve and has been successful for a period of time. They don’t need to be serving it exactly as you will, but it would be helpful if they are serving the same or a similar audience. Their perspective is going to give you a better frame of reference around what is working now as well as what has changed over time and how to address that evolution in your field. - Kathi Laughman, The Mackenzie Circle LLC
8. HBR IdeaCast Podcast (Harvard Business Review) There is no shortage of amazing, free content online that is available to anyone who is looking to learn and willing to put in the time. I am a big fan of the Harvard Business Review’s HBR IdeaCast podcast, as it’s a good mix of scholarly work with practical application and a practitioner focus. This is just one example of the many great resources that can help you quickly learn where you should focus your attention. - Jonathan H. Westover, Utah Valley University & Human Capital Innovations, LLC
9. How I Built This (Guy Raz) The podcast How I Built This with Guy Raz is a valuable and interesting resource for any aspiring entrepreneur. In this podcast, Raz interviews leaders of a diverse group of well-known companies about how they started their businesses and the successes and challenges they encountered along the way. The collective wisdom from these leaders is invaluable to any entrepreneur. - Aaron Levy, Raise The Bar
10. Who Not How (Dan Sullivan and I very recently read, Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy, a book I now recommend to most of my business clients. Too often, when you start out in the world of business, you feel as if you need to do everything yourself and then wonder why everything is taking so long. This book shows you how focusing on “who” can help you is more valuable than “how” you do it yourself. - Rakish Rana, The Clear Coach
11. The Outward Mindset And Leadership And Self-Deception (Arbinger Institute) With any new business, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision and become too attached to your own idea. Both The Outward Mindset and Leadership and Self-Deception from the Arbinger Institute remind founders and owners that it’s not about you. Focusing on “other” rather than “self” is the best lesson for business (and life). - Julie Colbrese, Hot Coffee Coaching
12. The Mom Test (Rob Fitzpatrick) Read The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you by Rob Fitzpatrick. It’s a great book about how to find out what your potential clients really want and what they are willing to buy. - Rajeev Shroff, Cupela Consulting
13. Adversity Quotient Adversity Quotient by Paul G. Stoltz, my go-to pick-me-up as a business owner, is a book I recommend time and time again. All of what we need to do as business owners—installing systems, hiring people, acquiring clients, managing cash flow and more—can have dramatic ups and downs. Navigating through the adversity stemming from these events is the key to our success. - Lisa Rangel, Chameleon Resumes LLC
14. Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) One of the best in the business right now, especially for those just starting out, is Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee). He is a very authentic and real voice in the entrepreneurial space right now. He doesn’t back down and always gets straight to the point when addressing questions about what it means to be an entrepreneur. - Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience
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