These are my go-to small business books. They are a great resource for anyone who is thinking of starting or who has already started a small business.

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Building a StoryBrand

Donald Miller

This book shares the biggest mistake that many business owners make that cost them money:  they confuse their customers and don’t clearly explain what it is their company does. 

Don Miller’s StoryBrand is a must-read for all business owners, especially before dropping a lot of money on a pretty website. If you don’t get the messaging and tell the story right, it won’t matter how much you spend on websites, social media help, Facebook ads, etc.

Atomic Habits

James Clear

To start a new habit, James Clear shares that one of his favorite strategy is called habit stacking.  After identifying a current habit that you already do each day, you stack your new desired behavior on top.  In other words, you have a higher chance of succeeding if you pair your new habit with something that you already do, instead of starting your new habit in isolation.  This is such a brilliant concept, and I have already seen the benefits of habit stacking in my personal and business life.

On the other hand, I’ve also seen the opposite (negative) effect of habit stacking behavior in which the author says is called the Diderot Effect.

Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur

Sylvia Inks

I’ve seen so many business owners make mistakes with their finances. This book is your step-by-step guide to building a solid, profitable business by making sure you get your bank accounts, invoicing, pricing, and budget set up correctly to make a profit!

Work Well. Play More!

Marcey Rader

This book is a step-by-step, month-by-month guide on how to create habits to live a more productive, clutter-free, and healthier life.

As a small business owner, it’s easy to put health and sleep last, especially when you’re trying to build up the business. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and tired, this book is a must-read!

Brand Aid: Taking Control of Your Reputation -- Before Everyone Else Does

Larry G. Linne & Patrick Sitkins

For those who have always worked for large corporations, you probably haven’t thought much about branding. However, all of us have a personal brand — and it can affect your success as a small business owner.

I found it amazing that the author teaches his five school-aged children about the importance of brand. This is a brilliant idea to instill and practice at such a young age! If young children can do it, certainly all of us can.

The Energy Bus

Jon Gordon

This inspiring book teaches how to overcome common life and work obstacles through a story of a manager who was on his last chance to prove himself at work (with a team who didn’t respect him) or risk being fired after the project was over.

This is a must-read if you need to overcome negative people and negative situations at work or your business, and want to learn how to become a great leader that motivates others to follow your dream and vision.

EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

Dave Ramsey

Even if you don’t believe in all of his financial or religious beliefs, Dave Ramsey runs a cash business with employees who are passionate about working there. Dave teaches that if there are problems in your business, don’t blame the economy or your employees. The problem (and solution) is you.

I love the advice he gives about the 12 components to a good hire. A couple that I find very enlightening are “Hire people you like; you will be trusting them and spending lots of time with them” and “If you hire people who are broke, they don’t make good team players” because they are constantly worrying about their bills.

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life

John G. Miller

If you or someone you works for you is constantly playing the victim and asking “Why is this happening to me?” or “Who droppped the ball?” — this is a must-read.

This quick and easy-to-read book is based on the tool that helps individuals practice personal accountability by asking better questions. For example, instead of starting a question with “Why” (i.e. Why did this happen?), you ask a better quesiton starting with “What” (i.e. What could I have done differently?)

Rhinoceros Success : the Secret to Charging Full Speed Toward Every Opportunity

Scott Alexander

This book is a bit silly, but has a lot of great points and comparisons of two types of animals (aka people) in life – the rhinoceros, who charges towards goals, versus the cow, who lazily grazes and does nothing, sees nothing, and accomplishes nothing.

I love the author’s advice to read positive, stimulating books and to always ask yourself, “Will the information in this book help me reach my goals?” If it won’t, then don’t read it! This has been my philosophy towards building my own personal library – books about personal development, business, and personal finance.