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Recommended Readings

Entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar hurdles throughout their careers – personnel conflicts, undefined business paths and financial woes. Industry leaders have analyzed these common issues and have come up with a variety of solutions – often filling the pages of books with their insights and lessons learned. While there are many educational resources at your fingertips, the following list of books are our top choices for small business owners:


Traction

In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.



Simple Numbers

Take the mystery out of small business finance with this no-frills guide to understanding the numbers that will guide your business out of any financial black hole. Author Greg Crabtree, a successful accountant, small business advisor, and popular presenter, shows you how to use your firm’s key financial indicators as a basis for smart business decisions as you grow your firm from startup to $5 million (and, more!) in annual revenue.



Finish Big

Bo Burlingham is back to tackle a more common problem—how to exit your company well. Sooner or later, all entrepreneurs leave their businesses and all businesses get sold, given away, or liquidated. Whatever your preferred outcome, you need to start planning for it while you still have time and options. The beautiful part is that if you start early enough, the process will lead you to build a better, stronger, more resilient company, as well as one with a higher market value. Unfortunately, most owners don’t start early enough—and pay a steep price for their procrastination.



Get a Grip

Eileen Sharp and Vic Hightower were frustrated. After years of profitable, predictable growth, Swan Services was in a rut. Meetings were called and discussions held, but few decisions were made and even less got done. People were pointing fingers and assigning blame, but nothing happened to solve Swan’s mounting problems. It felt as though they were working harder than ever but with less impact. The company Eileen and Vic had founded and built for 10 years was a different place.



Scaling Up

Scaling Up focuses on the four major decision areas every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. The book includes a series of new one-page tools including the updated One-Page Strategic Plan and the Rockefeller Habits Checklist(TM), which more than 40,000 firms around the globe have used to scale their companies successfully ― many to $10 million, $100 million, and $1 billion and beyond – while enjoying the climb!



No Man’s Land

Rapid growth is every entrepreneur’s dream, but it never comes easily and is usually rife with dilemmas. Such growth should spark self-discovery, acquired discipline, and positive but difficult transition. Unfortunately, it often becomes an agonizing battle between the tendencies of a lonely entrepreneur and certain immutable laws of growth. The result is confusion, frustration, stagnation, loss of employee morale, and, at worst, financial failure. The good news is that Doug Tatum knows exactly what it takes to get through No Man’s Land: a map, a high place from which to orient yourself, and navigational rules to help you track your progress.



Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Patrick Lencioni once again offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, “The Five Temptations of a CEO” and “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive“. This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams.



The Hard Thing about Hard Things

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular Ben’s blog.



Good to Great

Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning. But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?



Topgrading

Great companies, large and small, rise or fall because of their talent; the higher performers on your team, the more successful your organization will be. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Research shows that only about 25% of all new hires turn out to be high performers. But companies that have used Brad Smart’s Topgrading system over the past two decades have boosted their hiring success rates dramatically—sometimes even to 90%.



Small Giants

It’s an axiom of business that great companies grow their revenues and profits year after year. Yet quietly, under the radar, a small number of companies have rejected the pressure of endless growth to focus on more satisfying business goals. Goals like being great at what they do, creating a great place to work, providing great customer service, making great contributions to their communities, and finding great ways to lead their lives.



Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

What are the underlying handful of fundamentals that haven’t changed for over a hundred years? From Harnish’s famous One-Page Strategic Plan to his concise outline of eight practical actions you can take to strengthen your culture, this book is a compilation of best practices adapted from some of the best-run firms on the planet. Included is an instructive chapter co-authored by Rich Russakoff, revealing winning tactics to get banks to finance your business. Lastly, there are case studies demonstrating the validity of Harnish’s practical approaches.



Great by Choice

Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague Morten Hansen enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous and fast-moving times. This book is classic Collins: contrarian, data-driven and uplifting.



Blue Ocean Strategy

Drawing on more than a decade of new work, Kim and Mauborgne show you how to move beyond competing, inspire your people’s confidence, and seize new growth, guiding you step-by-step through how to take your organization from a red ocean crowded with competition to a blue ocean of uncontested market space. By combining the insights of human psychology with practical market-creating tools and real-world guidance, Kim and Mauborgne deliver the definitive guide to shift yourself, your team, or your organization to new heights of confidence, market creation, and growth. They show why non-disruptive creation is as important as disruption in seizing new growth.



Rocket Fuel

Visionaries have groundbreaking ideas. Integrators make those ideas a reality. This explosive combination is the key to getting everything you want out of your business. It worked for Disney. It worked for McDonald’s. It worked for Ford. It can work for you.