“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Take it from Gandhi: if you want to succeed in life - and especially if you want to succeed in business - continual learning is a must. With technological advancements, economic fluctuations and steep competition on multiple fronts, learning is imperative to stay ahead of the curve.
The market is flooded with myriad business books - some of which are filled with excellent information and insight to help you stay on top of trends, continue your business education and completely transform your business. As the weather starts to change and you replace your flip-flops with scarves, it’s time to get cozy and curl up with one of these excellent reads to help you center your focus with useful, organized and reliable insight.
Here are a few business books we highly recommend this fall:
Traction is a book that every Jennasis employee will recognize, recommend and remember. We have been implementing strategies and components of Gino Wickman’s Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) over the past two years, and the results have been outstanding. The book is all about creating practical solutions for entrepreneurs to achieve business success. Wickman’s EOS Model breaks down the six key components of any organization - Vision, Data, Process, Traction, Issues and People.
A key takeaway we’ve utilized from the book is creating an Accountability Chart to keep track of who is responsible for each function of the business. Putting people in the right seats and clearly defining their responsibilities and functions within the business is imperative to delivering quality client deliverables that are on time. Since implementing these systems and processes from Traction, we have seen exponential growth in the company. This stuff really works, and we highly recommend this book!
This Is Marketing is a great read for anyone looking to deep-dive on their marketing strategy. Marketing is about making an impact and not just about hyped-up, sales-based tactics. Effective marketing now relies on empathy and service, not selfish mass spam. Essentially, marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve their problem. When you start to think of marketing in this way rather than as a sales pitch, you are far more likely to have a successful marketing strategy.
Godin breaks down marketing into five steps:
Invent a thing worth making, with a story worth telling, and a contribution worth talking about.
Design and build it in a way that a few people will particularly benefit from and care about.
Tell a story that matches the built-in narrative of the dreams of that tiny group of people, the smallest viable market.
Spread the word.
Show up -- regularly, consistently, and generously for years and years -- to organize and lead and build confidence in the change that you seek to make.
Godin has been a giant in the marketing world for years. With 12 marketing bestsellers under his belt, This is Marketing is his latest book and, as always, stays on top of current developments while relaying timeless principles to the marketing world. Go check it out!
Who knew that pumpkin farmers had the secret to good marketing? In The Pumpkin Plan, Michalowicz starts out by asking you to imagine that you are in the market for a pumpkin. Once at the pumpkin patch, you see an enormous pumpkin. Not the “for sale” kind of pumpkin, but the kind that people pose and take pictures in front of. Now imagine that pumpkin is your business, large enough that the media notices, and successful enough that people travel to do business with you. Michalowicz takes the strategy of growing world-record pumpkins and applies it to growing a successful business. Honestly, the idea couldn’t be more brilliant.
The key takeaway is that in order to stand out from all of the other pumpkins (or businesses) you need to be extreme. Be the strongest, the fastest, the best price, have the best customer service (thanks Amazon), or be the most unique. There are seven steps in the Pumpkin Plan. Step one is to identify and leverage your biggest natural strengths. Step two is to sell, sell, sell. Step three is, as your business grows, to fire all of your small-time, rotten clients. Step four is to never let distractions take hold. Step five is to identify your top clients and remove the rest of your less-promising clients. Step six is to focus all your attention on your top clients. Step seven is to watch the company grow to a giant size. Once you’ve moved past the early stages of entrepreneurship, success isn’t a quantity game anymore.
Who doesn’t love a good story? Check out Donald Miller’s latest bestseller, Building a Story Brand, to transform the message of your marketing and reshape your brand to be a customer magnet. Miller breaks his book into three sections: Why Most Marketing is a Money Pit and a Failure, Building your StoryBrand, and Implementing StoryBrand BrandScript. He also points out two big mistakes most businesses make when talking about their brands: failing to focus on key aspects of their offer that help people survive and thrive, and making it too complicated for customers to understand their offers.
Miller is on a mission to help you clarify your marketing message, develop quality websites, and create emails that get opened and sales letters that people respond to. As entrepreneurs, you aren’t just in the market to sell your product (although that’s obviously a HUGE part of it), but you also need to communicate why your customers NEED your products. The clarity of the offer is what separates the winners from the losers.
To develop your brand, Miller says you have to think of your brand like a story. Your customers are the heroes of the story, but they have a problem that only YOU can solve. Miller goes through several steps to creating an effective StoryBrand and then concludes with the hardest part of the process - implementation. Thankfully, he outlines exactly how to implement the story into your marketing, making this book a goldmine for business brand success.
Girl, Stop Apologizing is an empowering book by entrepreneur Rachel Hollis. The book is geared toward empowering women in business, a topic that is very relevant to our Jennasis team. It’s a quick, easy read filled with inspiration for entrepreneurs and business leaders that offers tangible advice toward reaching your goals and living unapologetically to get where you want to be.
Hollis gives 5 main points to guide you into achieving your goals. First, she talks about talents and skills - in order to be successful at them, we have to work at them. Secondly, she tells the difference between dreams and goals: a goal is a dream that you have decided to make real, and you are working towards it instead of hoping for it. Thirdly, she says you aren’t going to “find time to pursue your goals, you’re going to have to MAKE time to pursue your goals.” Fourth, not every day is going to be a good day. Finally, she concludes with the challenge to be centered instead of focusing on work-life balance.
So there you have it: five great reads to help continue your business education and give you some inspiration, whether you’re starting a new business or revamping an existing one. These books are all great resources for growing your marketing or business knowledge as well as your business itself!
At Jennasis, we make it a point to stay on top of marketing trends. If you’d like help implementing some of the advice you read about, let us know.
Jennasis & Associates is a full-service digital marketing firm. Our designers, writers, developers, virtual assistants, and strategists help your brand create more impactful relationships with clients and consumers. We have the tools to help you in every aspect of your marketing strategy. Give us a call, shoot us an email, or take a closer look at our website. We can’t wait to talk with you!
Have any other book recommendations that we should know about? Are any of the above books your absolute favorites? Let us know in the comments!
Becky Martin is a content writer and "boy-mom" to Charlie and Lucas. When she's not writing or taking care of her little ones, she can be found binging on coffee, Netflix and young adult fiction. She and her husband reside in the bustling suburbs of Philadelphia.
Megan Augustine is a Cleveland, Ohio native who relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2018. She has over 4 years of experience marketing in the technology field, and a passion to learn more every day. She enjoys traveling and scuba diving, and spending time with her 2 daughters.