Blog post: 5 Books to Read Before Starting a Small Business

We’ve compiled the best business books for entrepreneurs so you can easily freshen up on crucial small business skills before opening your doors. Check out the top five here.


No matter what your business background entails, it’s possible to find success as an entrepreneur. And though it’s tough not to feel the internal pressure of immediately being successful and all knowing, any long-time business owner will tell you every day is a new learning experience. As you work to hone your entrepreneurial skill set, there are a few foundational tools that can help you find success more quickly, avoid costly errors and build a cohesive team. Fortunately, all the information is readily available at your local library or, of course, one click away on Amazon. Here’s a look at some of the top business books you should read before starting a small business.

1. Finance For Nonfinancial Managers by Gene Siciliano

Fortunately, most cloud-based accounting software, like Intuit’s QuickBooks, are user-friendly enough that even the math-adverse can be updating their balance sheet in no time. However, as a business owner, who is responsible for the greater financial health and wellbeing of the company, it’s important to be able to understand some basic (and not so basic) accounting and financial principles. Finance For Nonfinancial Managers is a great resource for those who are brand new to business accounting to those with some experience who need a refresher. Most importantly, this book is jargon-free, so you won’t need to keep a financial dictionary on-hand while you’re reading it. In other words, this book isn’t going to make you feel bad about what you don’t already know.

Get the book here: Finance For Nonfinancial Managers

2. Brick and Mortar Franchise Success by Carolyn Miller

Purchasing a franchise is a popular way to become a business owner because — to put it simply — it works. Stepping into business ownership with an established business model in place, pre-curated marketing materials and experts to lean on are the makings of a solid foundation for success. Unless your business is exclusively online, one of the biggest (and most expensive) decisions you’ll make is the location of your business — and there’s a lot more to making this decision than you think. Carolyn Miller explains that when it comes to business real estate, ignorance is not bliss. Read her book to learn about finding a location, paying the right price and avoiding costly mistakes when it comes to leasing a building for your new business. It’s a great read for independent business owners too!

Get the book here: Brick and Mortar Franchise Success


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3. The Big Book of HR by Barbara Mitchell

If you get a little uneasy thinking about navigating your way through an HR debacle, you’re certainly not the only one, and there’s no shame in brushing up on the basics. Even for those of us who are well versed in employee relations, there’s still something to be learned from Barbara Mitchell’s The Big Book of HR. From FMLA laws to hiring and firing, Mitchell provides detailed information for (just about) every situation. And having a solid understanding of HR isn’t just about avoiding legal blunders; it’s about creating a healthy working environment for you and your employees. Even if you don’t sit down and read each page before opening your doors, this is one of the best business books to keep around as a resource while your company grows.

Get the book here: The Big Book of HR

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie and Associates

Whether you’re working with bank lenders, vendors, clients, business associates or employees, you’re going to interact with people at every stage of entrepreneurship. And, though contrary to what the title of this book suggests, it’s not necessary to win friends as a business owner, but it is crucial that you learn how to communicate in a way that is effective and makes people want to work with you — and be a part of your success. Dale Carnegie’s original How To Win Friends And Influence People has timeless advice anyone can apply in business and in life when it comes to interacting with others. The updated version, …In The Digital Age, takes Carnegie’s original principles such as ‘being a good listener’ and applies them to building relationships online. After all, being liked and getting likes aren’t always one in the same.

Get the book here: How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

5. Profit First by Michael Michalowicz

Even with a short list of only five business books, we’re dedicating two of them to financial management. Because at the end of the day, your business needs to make a profit, which is the focus of Michael Michalowicz’s Profit First. Michalowicz, who has run many successful businesses, presents a new way of looking at business accounting: Taking profits first and leaving only what remains for expenses. Whether you decide Michalowicz’s style of accounting is for you or not, his book presents some solid evidence that businesses who focus on making profit early and staying out of a debt have a better chance to succeed in the long run.

Get the book here: Profit First

There’s a lot to accomplish in the weeks leading up to the launch of your business, but investing the time to freshen up on invaluable business skills can help you avoid painful mistakes and build a foundation for success. So take a few minutes each night to review one of these top books on starting a business. Use the links provided or consider supporting a fellow entrepreneur by shopping at a locally owned bookstore.

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