At the beginning of 2018 I decided as part of my self-care, wellness and business development to start reading more small business books. Using the hour I sit at the gym whilst Olive has gymnastics I now spend reading rather than scrolling through my phone kidding myself I’m *working*. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy reading and absorbing information. Skip through 2 years and I’m still reading more and more small business books, this post is being added to again and again so why not bookmark it and make sure you don’t miss any new reads?
Some of the best marketing books to read today:
PR School Your Time To Shine by Natalie Trice: A lot of my networking friends complain they just don’t have the time to read anymore and I get that I really do but you’d be surprised how much you can read in a short space of time. PR School is so well laid out making it the perfect dip in and out of the book, however having said that I devoured it in 1.5 hours whilst Charlie was at football. It’s written in a jargon-free (although any PR jargon used is explained in detail in the glossary), having a 1:1 chat way it really does feel like Natalie is holding your hand on your new PR journey.
The first five lessons (I love that she calls them lessons, gives the book a friendly yet actionable feel, you HAVE learnt something) set up what you need to know/think about to then set up your PR plan, pitch and write press releases. I’d say from Lesson Six onwards that is a sit down one chapter at a time with your notebook/laptop to really physically work on. There is “homework” dotted throughout the lessons which give you an opportunity to take what has been said and apply it to your own business. It’s important to mention that Natalie uses a huge, vast amount of business genres for her examples which again adds to the feel that this book has one audience – you run a business of some kind. Too many times do you read something and feel it doesn’t resonate with you or your business, I never felt like this at all reading PR School Your Time To Shine.
I love the mixture of Natalie’s advice interwoven with actual opinions, do’s and don’ts from real-life journalists. It gives you proper insight into maybe why past ventures into PR didn’t work and how to build lasting relationships with journalists. There is also a super detailed index at the back of the book making it even easier (although the table of contents is pretty in-depth) to find specific areas of PR you want to work on or might need a reminder. The margins are generous too if you wanted to write notes inside the book. Highly Recommend!
How to Prevent Burnout by Susan Scott: This book is not a pickup and put down kind of read, you need to fully immerse yourself in the content, fill out the charts, discover things about yourself and work out how to combat them. This book is filled with all the know-how to stop stress in its tracks and prevent you from burning out. I did, however, find this a little heavy going, the science behind burnout, it has a school textbook feel about it that I wasn’t keen on. There are some really interesting facts about sugar and what we eat, I found myself nodding a lot at the list of rocket fuel foods, that give you that initial kick but leave you later with a mid-afternoon slump. Grab the fruit and not the crisps. There are some really great sleep tips too like having a pre-sleep brain dump. It’s really useful that you can fill this book in as you go along and there is an action plan at the end.
Business Zero to Superhero by Graham Jules LL.B (Hons): Jules famously won a trademark dispute with Superman creators Marvel and DC Entertainment. This book is really easy to read, the layout is clear and the headings mean it’s easy to see what the content is about, making it great for picking up as and when. There is lots of really useful practical advice embedded in Jules business experience. The comic strips are interspersed highlighting certain facts and events that carry on the superhero theme. I did feel like the graphics and large fonts made this book in places feel basic and aimed at a younger audience, although Daddy Moo liked this layout (which is odd as I’m a comic book superhero fan). You can easily get through this book in an hour or so and have taken away some useful tips. “At the start, money is tight so don’t try to be perfect. The trick is to create a veneer of professionalism for little or no cost.” (pg. 81) your basic fake it to you make it, I like that Jules doesn’t over-complicate situations or use loads of words when he doesn’t need to. The section on applying and seeking investors was really interesting and Jules has some great feedback there’s also a list of investors included if you are looking.
Stand Up and Sell by Dexter Moscow: This book looks at how to effectively “stand out from the crowd and clearly articulate their proposition and inspire others to buy what they’re `selling’.” It’s jargon-heavy and definitely not a book you can read in large chunks. However, having said that there is lots of valid information and takeaway action points. Dexter uses his stories from selling products on QVC The Shopping Channel and how he has used these skills to teach others to do the same.
There’s a real textbook feel about this book. I’m also not a fan of the size, it’s almost a square which means it doesn’t sit nestled nicely amongst other books, maybe that was the author’s desired effect but it did mean I couldn’t chuck it in my handbag to read when the opportunity arose (a bit early to pick up Olive, swimming lessons etc …).
She Means Business by Carrie Green: Was part of the Allow Focus Foundling Box. I literally devoured this from cover to cover on the drive to Snowdon in 2 hours. It’s a really easy read and filled with some super actionable tips. This for me is really important in a book, I want to put the book down and feel compelled to do something, and take action. Each chapter ends with a “She Takes Action”, giving you clear direction, thinking about what you have learnt and having an action plan of what to do with this information. Through this book, you are able to get clear on your business vision which can sometimes fall by the wayside. I’ve been self-employed now for 10 years and have been feeling overwhelmed by tasks I no longer want to do my business vision got off course at some point s these tips were most welcomed. The book is well laid out so you can easily come back to certain topics or skip over any that don’t relate to where you are currently at. The Law of Attraction plays a big role within this book and much of what Green says does make sense, however, if you aren’t one for positive affirmations and visualisation you might not enjoy this book. I really liked Green’s simplistic approach, she doesn’t overcomplicate things with business jargon etc. which so often can happen in business books. Although not many of us couldn’t afford to spend $7500 on a one-day coaching session in Canada, this is probably a great example of taking opportunities when they present themselves. (Also not sure why this book uses $ as Green is British)
Here are the two key points I took away :
- Not spreading yourself too thin over every single platform. Instead, become an expert in one and work on it. Green then goes on to look at how she built her business growth via Facebook advertising.
- In the early days when Green wanted to do something, she became an expert through google and YouTube. This reminded me of those early Charlie Moo’s days when I’d stay up late working out HTML, it gave me the boost I needed to get on with things, regain that passion and stop coasting.
Usborne Business For Beginners: I bought this for Megan for Christmas, being the child of two self-employed individuals she’s keen to be her own boss. Her future career choices at the moment include Ballerina, Author, Illustrator and Hotel Owner in Corfu! and knowing Megan she’ll probably do all of them! Although this is aimed at children, it’s actually really good and really informative. I love the way the pages are laid out they are bright colourful, real-life examples are embedded between business jargon which is easy to understand and well explained. The book is split into 7 chapters covering everything from How to Start a Business, to Keeping Track of Money and Growing the Business. The money chapter is really good, I think a few adults could benefit from reading it. There’s even a section on Why Businesses Fail which looks at lack of market research, poor execution and competitors doing a better job than you. This book is exactly what is needed to nurture entrepreneurial streaks and make business something relevant to children today.
Is this it? by Ruth Kudzi: I literally devoured this book in 2 hours during the car journey to my parents and back this Easter Sunday, now if that’s, not a great way to multitask I don’t know what is! Which made me chuckle as Ruth suggests “I recommend you do something every day (including the weekend), even if it is only reading a book by someone you admire,” (pg. 101) #nailedit.
Chapter 7 looks solely at Time, this has to be one of the most inspiring chapters which really made me stop, think and give myself a grilling. How often do you find yourself saying “I don’t have time”? I put many of my time management and organisation, not staying on task or meeting deadlines down to the fact I don’t have time rather than I don’t use my time efficiently and this is pivotal. As Ruth says, “we have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.” this one statement is enough to reassess how we spend our time. There are some really handy resources that accompany this chapter including doing a time audit, and assessing which tasks need to be done, delegated or discarded, if like me you work well visually there’s also a Day Scheduler PDF.
This book is well set out, each chapter is clearly defined and the subheading enables the reader to see what is happening. I found the book really easy to read, Ruth writes in a way which is familiar to the reader she avoids pompous jargon opting to keep the content real. This is highlighted by the use of real-life case studies to justify the points she has made. There is a little too much emphasis on coaching for my liking but the content is valid for non-coaching businesses too.
Live, Love, Work, Prosper by Michael Tobin: Tobin is an entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist and an acknowledged authority on leadership. This book is a really easy read, which is good as I’ve been reading it whilst the children have swimming and gymnastics lessons and it can get very noisy at the Leisure Centre. It’s divided into 4 sections Live, Love, Work and Prosper, each section has 3 chapters, this layout makes it really easy to pick up, put down and come back to later. Each chapter ends with a bullet-point breakdown of key points and a QR code to download bonus video clips. Full review here: Live, Love, Work, Prosper | Book Review
If you have any small business book suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to read as many as I can. Or if you are looking for someone to read and review your small business book let me know.
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