Jen Miller wrote here on OPEN Forum about five books for business owners. Hers was a pretty good list, and it encouraged me to share another list – a list chosen by a group of entrepreneurs and business owners.
Last month we asked readers of Small Business Trends to make their choices for best new business book releases of 2009 for small business owners. In other words, we asked entrepreneurs and small businesspeople to choose a list of books they recommend for their peers, for 2009.
Forty-seven books were nominated initially, and nearly 4,000 votes were cast in online balloting. Based on the voting, the list was narrowed down to 10 books.
Here are the 10 books named to the reader’s choice small-business book list (in alphabetical order):
Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action (by John Spence) – This book helps you cut through the clutter as a business owner by focusing on isolated 6 strategies: Vivid Vision, Best People, A Performance-Oriented Culture, Robust Communication, A Sense of Urgency, and Extreme Customer Focus.
BAM: Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World (by Barry Moltz and Mary Jane Grinstead) -- “BAM” which is short for “bust a myth” debunks 20 myths about customer service - from “The customer is always right” to “Companies achieve customer service by under-promising and over-delivering.” Bonus features: a "customer value calculation" and a list of customer satisfaction questions for conducting customer surveys.
Career Renegade (by Jonathan Fields) – Fields, a Wall Street attorney turned entrepreneur, offers motivational and practical advice to pursue your passions. If you've ever felt drained and devalued through employment, the book helps you translate your passion into a viable, profitable business. Inspiring case studies prove you CAN do it.
The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing (by Eric Groves) – This book gives you best practices for email marketing. Don’t let the focus on Constant Contact fool you.There’s a lot here for small businesses interested in email marketing, no matter which email provider you use. Example features: how to build an email list and how to create compelling content.
Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (by Gary Vaynerchuk) -- Online marketing phenomenon Vaynerchuk focuses on how to use social media and online marketing to grow a business. The book draws on his own experiences expanding his family's liquor store using techniques such as a video blog. Those who are fans of the author (he has a very large online following) will adore this book.
Escape from Cubicle Nation (by Pamela Slim) – Slim offers a road map for getting yourself out of that corporate cubicle and into your own startup. You have so much to consider when making the leap from corporate life to your own business – from managing your own mental state, to dealing with family objections, to finding health insurance. All of these issues are addressed … and much more.
Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (by Richard Herman and Robert Smith) – This book challenges you to think like an immigrant when it comes to entrepreneurship. The book notes that immigrants are twice as likely to launch a business as non-immigrants, and are behind half of the high-tech startups in Silicon Valley.
The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web (by Tamar Weinberg) – The author is a veteran of the online world and social media. In this book she shows you how to use dozens of social sites to market your business – from well-known sites such as Twitter, to niche sites like Kirtsy.
The Sassy Ladies Toolkit for Startup Businesses (by Michelle Girasole, Wendy Hanson and Miriam Perry) – The 3 women-entrepreneur authors have written a book that is part reference guide and part workbook. It takes you step-by-step through starting your business, including practical advice for startups, inspiring stories about women entrepreneurs, and a dash of humor.
Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust (by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith) -- The term "Trust Agents" refers to digitally savvy people who are adept at using the Web to humanize a business through developing relationships. This book shows you how to develop relationships with trust agents, and how to become one.
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To be eligible, books had to be (1) relevant to small business personnel; and (2) newly released during 2009. That excluded older business classics, no matter how good they are! It also excluded books that focus primarily on “big business,” economics or Wall Street/investing – as those topics would not be as much practical help to the entrepreneur faced with starting or operating a small business.
Most books targeting small business owners and entrepreneurs are written by, well … entrepreneurs and small business owners. So not only was this list chosen by business owners for other business owners -- but it also served to recognize those in the small biz community who willingly shared their expertise by writing books for their peers.
All of the above books can be purchased online or found/special-ordered at your local bookseller (print out this article and take it with you!).
Now it’s your turn: which books would you put on your list for 2009? And why? Share your choice in the comments below.
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Anita Campbell is the Editor in Chief of
Anita Campbell is the Editor in Chief ofSmall Business Trends, an online community of small business owners.