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So everyone has read E-Myth

Any other start your own business type books people like?

Daniel Shchyokin
Friday, April 25, 2003

E-Myth was OK, but really a summary paragraph would have been sufficient.  It seemed very repetitive to me.  Aside from that, what you need are business forms, tax guides, accounting/bookkeeping books, etc....  Not very glamorous stuff.

Friday, April 25, 2003

There are an untold number of microbusiness books out there.

The easiest recommendation(s) are those from Nolo Press.  Nolo specializes in providing legal advice so you do not have to go to lawyers for basic stuff.  The books are written by lawyers and they write great books.

Their books are inexpensive, and many are even at 30% off sale for now from Nolo direct.  Some faves I've just purchased:

    "Legal Guide for Starting and Running a Small Business"
    Steingold (7th edition, Nolo)

    "Legal Forms for Starting and Running a Small Business"
    Steingold (2nd edition, Nolo)
    complement to "Legal Guide...", above

    "Tax Savvy for Small Business"
    Daily (6.2 edition, Nolo)
    "This plain-English guide will show you how to make the most of your tax deductions." --- Business Week

    "Marketing without Advertising"
    Phillips and Rasberry (4th edition, Nolo)
    'High-impact, low-cost marketing strategies...'

You may also consider any of the 'how to incorporate', 'writing a business plan', 'copyright and trademark', or other legal books they have.  Great books, great company.

There are a multitude of other great books on writing business plans, managing employees, providing a positive customer experience, bookkeeping, selling, etc..  You can check Amazon for reviews and for links to other 'recommended' books.  Find a book *you* especially like, and follow the links to other books by people who purchased that book.  The trail is virtually endless.

Some starting points:

    "Selling the Invisible"
    Harry Beckwith (Warner Business Books)
    Bite-sized micro business marketing tips (first of 3 books)
    Recommended by a friend

    "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference"
    Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown publishing)
    Meta-business book or 'working *on* the business' in E-Myth terms

There are plenty of great books.  You probably do not want to read all of them though.  So, I suggest three caveats:

1.  Try to stick to books which apply directly to microbusiness (exception: "The Tipping Point", above).  The bulk of best sellers are for corporate america, not microbusiness.    Most great books are irrelevant to your situation, and your situation will be very fluid as a startup.  Those books have little (if any application) when running a small business.  For example, a 'How to become a great CEO' is useless for a microbusiness as it targets corporate environment issues; it is easy to get carried away from Amazon reviews.  So take five-star reviews with a grain of salt until you see the book and ensure that it's not just megacorp-centric.  Plus, browse the books of interest to ensure they speak to *you*.  'Nuf said.

2.  Only buy book(s) that save you money (e.g., Nolo legal), have direct business relevance (e.g., customer service, or generating sales leads), or for which you have a craving (i.e., use your craving to learn) *now*.  Try to read at least portions of the book(s) right away to satisfy your craving or need.  Browse your local Barnes&Noble (for example) to determine which books suit your tastes and needs, and to scope other books.  Try to pare down your purchases to just those book(s) you care about and shall read *now*.

3.  Not all great books are meant to be read by you.  Another filter for books is length.  Short books are often better than longer books.  Gauge how important a topic is for *you* right now.  If it's important but secondary, consider purchasing the shorter of two great books on the topic.  You'll probably be better off reading the whole of the shorter book than a fraction of the longer book.  Your satisfaction will be greater as well (and you can always save the name of the longer book for later consumption).  IOW, match the book length and your time-commitment to the value of the topic to you.  Incidental topics suggest shorter, bite-sized books.  A good example would be the Beckwith (bite-sized marketing advice) versus the Nolo's "Marketing without Advertising" (structured marketing advice).  Each books serves a different purpose; they're both great.  For a brief read, go Beckwith; for a full planning guide, go Nolo.  They both have their purpose (I have both), but when in doubt, go lightweight (shorter, more topical).  The heavyweight stuff will still be there, and in the meantime you'll be better prepared for the heavyweight stuff on your next visit to the topic.

That's more than enough for now!

Joseph Grace
Saturday, April 26, 2003

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