The world is full of fierce competition so if you’re an online business owner who craves success, check-out one of these eight business books for startups (and everyone else)!

Starting a company, whether it’s online or brick-and-mortar, is one of the hardest things a person can do.  It can also be one of the most rewarding, if you play your cards right.  You’re basically waging a daily war against competitors, trying to win your small share of the billions of daily transactions. So how do you stay ahead, motivate yourself and fuel your brain towards creative new ideas?  Try reading business books for startups, articles and trending eCom news.  Yes, it can be that simple.  Snatch a few minutes of your day to absorb the experiences, guidance and stories of other SMB entrepreneurs like yourself.

There are many times an online article just doesn’t cut it, so here are eight of our favorite business books for startups or SMB owners…
(as recommended by the superstar team at PinnacleCart eCommerce.)

  1. How to Influence People and Make Friends by Dale Carnegie
    Recommended by Craig Fox, owner and CEO of PinnacleCart
    “From a business perspective, this book really is a timeless classic and is a must read for anyone thinking about starting a business. As internet entrepreneurs, we sometime forget that one of the most important contributions to the success of your business is networking. The lessons this book teaches about how to communicate effectively with your customers is well worth the price of the publication. Remember, your business is direct reflection of you and your values. It’s not that you can’t succeed being a jerk, it’s just easier to succeed when you’re genuine and people generally like you.”
  1. business books for startupsThe Referral Engine by John Jantsch
    Recommended by Marcos Llanes, software developer
    “This book presents the reality of today’s marketing world in a very fun manner. I didn’t think a marketing read would be entertaining but The Referral Engine manages to be both practical and engaging. It explains how traditional marketing strategies are not as effective as they used to be and how a company can grow and be successful by using only word-of-mouth referrals and peer recommendation.  One of my favorite points, though, was when Jantsch tells business owners to “talk with your customers, not at them”.  I can’t tell you how many social media fails I see when companies don’t follow that advice on engagement.  Anyway, I’d recommend reading the book through one complete time and then going back to reabsorb the parts that fit your specific business need.”
  1. Leading from the Front by Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch
    Recommended by Nancy P, content manager
    Leading from the Front is one of my favorite business books for startups.  It was designed to help people who have never had formal management training. It was written by two successful businesswomen who are former Marine Corp officers.  As you can imagine, it delivers efficient, effective tips on how to take control of decision making, leadership, and really… any other challenge that presents itself.
    Morgan and Lynch example stories from both their military careers and personal successes, making this a diverse, interesting read.  I’d recommend it for both men and women who want to strengthen their stand, both in business and personal life.”
  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
    Recommended by Jeff Little, Chief Operations Officer
    7 Habits… what a read. I first read it when I was making a life change from one company to another but its lessons have stuck with me, through to my current role.  It basically tries to convince people to take responsibility for their own life and work towards a goal.  Most things, including your failures and success, aren’t done to you, but are a result of what you have allowed to happen (by doing or not doing something).  You choose your life and make the decisions in it.  That’s an important lesson for everyone, especially new business owners.  I believe the lessons in this book will help shape you into being a good boss, the role model and inspiration you want your crew to work by.
    My biggest take from 7 Habits was, don’t just react to what happens around you… focus on being proactive and don’t waste time on things you cannot change.  There are more important tasks that need your focus!  Oh, and “Sharpening the Saw” – always work on improving and tending to your mind, body and soul.”
  1. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
    Recommended by Marc L, software engineer
    Delivering Happiness is a great book. It’s a straight-forward read that tells the story of Zappos and how they rose to a mega company in less than 10 years under Hsieh.  The base idea is how the success of a business is directly related to company branding, which is started through the happiness of employees and creating an awesome company culture.  Hsieh explains how a positive work atmosphere irradiates directly into the clients; especially through good customer service.  One of my favorite points had to do with happiness – there are three kinds of happiness, apparently, and the Higher Purpose kind is the right one to make your goals by.”
  1. Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock
    Recommended by Susan Delly, senior media manager
    “I will never forget the first time I heard the idea that women make less money in the same jobs because they don’t advocate for themselves. I thought it was ridiculous.  Though I still think it’s mostly ridiculous, I do see a grain of truth to it… women are statistically less likely to ask for a raise, or promotion, or the better office space.  But why is that?  Women Don’t Ask is a progressive read that pulls on science and life to explain the differences in the way men and women navigate the gender divide.  Though it’s written with gender in mind, I feel it can also be useful to those who come from cultures that are less assertive and those who are generally less likely to speak for themselves.
    It would be a great read for small-to-medium business owners, and even start-up entrepreneurs.  The lessons on negotiation will go a long way with every client, contract and competitor you encounter.”
  1. business books for startups

    Business books for startups provide inspiration!

    Getting Real by 37 Signals
    Recommended by Viktor Felendysh, senior software engineer
    “For me, Getting Real is the ultimate book about programming. Don’t let that turn you off, though.  It’s a fast, simple, good read.  All online store owners who want to work with web apps need to read it.  It’s worth the small time investment – especially as Getting Real can be found online for free.  You’ll learn a lot about technical creativity and get inspiration for your next startup or online project.  I love the philosophy that less is more – especially when it comes to toxic work meetings that take up valuable time and produce very little.”

  1. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Theil and Blake Masters
    Recommended by Judy O, software engineer and online business owner
    ““What is something you think is true, but that most people disagree with you on?” I laughed when I read this question because I have a lot of these ideas.  Supposedly though, most people don’t and what’s contrarian is usually not true.  That probably means I’m on the wrong track a lot but reading this book helped me re-evaluate my theories and find one that worked.  This is how I’m both a software engineer (soon to be former) and newly successful online business owner.  Zero to One is one of the most engaging books for startups that I’ve read.  It was thought provoking, and when it falls into the right hands, it can lead to success for a forward-thinking business mind.”

There are many business books for startups that can help entrepreneurs break into business or reach that next level of success.  Books provide new points of view, inspiration and information on a variety of subjects that SMB owners need to learn about.  Check one out today… literally.  Your library, Kindle or local bookstore is waiting!

What are your favorite business books for startups?  We’d love to hear your advice in the comments below!

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