5 Insightful Lessons Learned From Business Books

lessons learned from business

Since the response was so great on my last article, “10 Valuable Lessons Learned from The Top Business Books,” I thought I’d share more lessons learned from business books gathered from my personal network.

In fact, business books have been on my mind a lot lately due to the 2014 Small Business Book Awards, as well as the recent Google+ Hangout, “Best Business Books.” If you missed the hangout, you can view the replay. I’m the kind of person who would rather read a book than attend a seminar or webinar, or even ask someone for help. So naturally, I’ve learned plenty from business books. It turns out my clients and contacts feel the same way.

Lesson 1: It’s Possible to Deliver Happiness

Nellie Akalp, a Small Business Trends featured expert and CEO of CorpNet, says she was inspired by Tony Hsieh’s “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.” It’s a book that’s been referred to again and again as the handbook for better customer service:

“You can take away market share from your competition by wowing your clients in giving unsurpassed customer service.”

Lesson 2: Anyone Can Self-Publish, With a Little Work

As a self-published author, I’ve struggled with making my book look more professional, as well as marketing it. So when Guy Kawasaki published “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book,” I paid attention.

It’s a fabulous how-to book that takes you by the hand and helps you from inception to publication.

Lesson 3: Don’t Follow Your Passion. Craft It.

If there’s one person I know who reads more business books than I do, it’s the Small Business Trends Book Editor, Ivana Taylor. She gleaned valuable information from Cal Newport’s “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love:

“Newport builds a case for developing and crafting your passion by getting really good at what you do.  And you get good at what you do by constantly crafting and honing your skills, knowledge and talent.”

Taylor said she has taken this concept on in every level of her business, especially in crafting her website, blog posts, and presentations:

“I do this by tracking performance and conversion rates and testing.  Analytics aren’t normally something I like and enjoy, but inside of the context of getting better and more effective, I’ve really come to appreciate it.”

Lesson 4: Your Business is Not Your Life

Here’s a book I agree is one of the most influencing on my attitude toward my business, “The E-Myth Revisited,” by Michael Gerber. Niki Robinson, President of Posts by Ghost, says this book changed how she viewed her company:

“Once I realized that I need to work ON my business instead of IN my business, I was able to shift my focus to creating a business model that really works. By implementing consistent processes and procedures, I was able to streamline operations, provide my customers with better service, and grow my business without feeling super-frazzled all the time. I recommend this book for anyone contemplating starting a small business.”

Lesson 5: Get Laser Focus, then Grow From There

Here’s an oldie but a goodie (and incidentally, revised just this year) that Jon Byrum, President of HelloScheduling, keeps at the forefront of everything he does, “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore. It’s the idea of finding a niche and zeroing in on that audience:

“When you are starting your business, you want to have a laser focused value proposition with a very specific target audience.  The audience might be too small at first, but don’t worry.  First, make your target audience is really passionate about your product.  Then you’ll be able to grow from there.  It’s amazing how a small group of passionate users can drive really powerful word of mouth marketing (read: Free).”

Some of these are classics that continue to teach us years after they were published.

Nominate Your Favorite Business Books Now!

small business book awards 2014

Participate in the 2014 Small Business Book Awards. Let your favorite authors (and fellow colleagues) know that their work is appreciated and help fellow entrepreneurs like me and you gain valuable insights by knowing which books are worth reading.

I encourage you to think about the business books you’ve read recently (those published in 2013) and submit them to the Book Awards.

Nominations end April 30th, so be sure to nominate your favorite business book(s) now!

Books Photo via Shutterstock

3 Comments ▼

Susan Payton - Awards Communication Mgr.


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

3 Reactions

  1. These are really valuable tips. I need the last one as I really want to focus on what I need to do. I also find the third tip fascinating. There is always a confusion between passion and skill and this somehow cleared it out.

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