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15 Great Books for Small Business Owners

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If you’re reading this, you know it’s not easy to start, run, and grow a business all on your own. Tack on the duties of motherhood and life in general, and finding time to learn and expand your horizons can seem downright impossible!

Enter books. Reading is a great way to soak up knowledge without investing a fortune or spending countless hours on courses. The biggest bonus of making time to read? Think about all of the mistakes you can avoid and time you may save by learning from those who have already been where you want to go. 

Further, when you find yourself faced with a challenge, you may have an incredible group to ask for help, but you can also turn to books to get deep insights really quickly. Doing so will pay big dividends to your business. 

But, which books are worth reading? 

We've asked our Facebook community, and the Pepperlane team, to share their favorite business books, along with the best bits of wisdom they gathered from reading them, and we got a huge response. You’ll want to save this list!

Books to improve your money and business mindset:

  1. Success coach Jessica Miller (and several other Pepperlaners) love Jen Sincero’s books “You Are a Badass” and “You Are a Badass at Making Money.

    You Badass (1)
    Favorite piece of wisdom- Both of these bestsellers guide readers to stop accepting anything less than their wildest dreams, improve their money mindset, and get out of their own way to find success on their terms. These books may live in the self-help category, but thanks to the clever tone they give fresh new insights into earning what you’re worth.

  2. Elizabeth Foley Hallgren- Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

    Profit First (1)
    Favorite piece of wisdom- “The primary purpose of running a business is to get paid. So make sure you pay yourself first.”

  3. Pepperlane copywriter Celsea Jenkins- Do Less by Kate Northrup + Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny.

    Over coming under earning (1)  Do less (1)

    Favorite pieces of wisdom-
    Do Less is a great read for all women, but especially resonates with moms who realize that trying to do everything (work, kids, life) is, as Northrup says, “leading to your undoing.” Her advice on better understanding our own natural cycles has been a game changer for my productivity (spoiler: you don’t have the same amount of energy everyday of the month)!” 

    “Overcoming Underearning, is such a classic full of wisdom about why underearners are in fact not reaching their financial goals, and how to break these old patterns and limiting beliefs to finally value yourself and charge what you’re worth.”

Books about the importance of customer experiences + relationships:

  1. Life and ADHD coach Amy Falk- It’s Not About You and Go Giver by Bob Burg.

    Its not about you  Go-Giver (1)

    Favorite pieces of wisdom- Amy shares that “both books give lots of great lessons, but overall, emphasize the importance of providing as much value as you can, and more than you take in payment. Her favorite quote sums it up well, "shifting your focus from getting to giving is not only a nice way to live life and conduct business, but a very profitable way as well. It’s all about building relationships, walking your talk, creating true connection, and living and conducting business authentically." We couldn’t agree more, in fact, that’s what we’re all about here at Pepperlane.
  2. Kate Hollis (and our COO Kate Keough) love- Give and Take by Adam Grant

    Give and take

    Favorite piece of wisdom-
    Kate Hollis shares that “Grant talks about how generosity can lead to professional success. I’m a giver and teacher by nature, and this book helped me to see how I can leverage those traits in my business while still maintaining healthy boundaries. It’s a great read on collaboration, negotiation, and motivation.” And according to Kate Keough, “this book was the inspiration behind Pepperlane’s generosity begets generosity culture that we're trying to build in this group.”

Books for business building + working efficiently:

  1. Academic consultant and tutor Jennifer Mack- The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

    5 Second Rule (1)
    Favorite piece of wisdom- “Full of great insight into understanding how the brain works, why we procrastinate, and how to take clear action to move forward!”

  2. Small biz attorney and all around law pro Tania Shah- The E-Myth by Michael Gerber

    E Myth
    Favorite piece of wisdom- “This book taught me very early on that a true entrepreneur cannot be the doer, thinker, and admin (known as the technician, entrepreneur, and manager). Also, just because someone loves doing something, that’s absolutely different than running a business doing that thing. I try to re-read it every year and every new edition. It is my bible and has never failed me. Not once. At all times, good and bad, there has to be at least three of us.”

  3. Sales Psychologist and strategist Nancy Zare’s top pick- The Greatest Salesman in the World by OG Mandino.

    Greatest Salesman
    Favorite piece of wisdom-
    “This book encompasses the 10 principles that raise your game. Every day I read one of the scrolls. I've read and reread this for years. I love the advice to “bring love to every encounter.”

  4. DeKesha C Williams- Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

    Start with Why
    Favorite piece of wisdom- I love the idea that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This is when I first realized that there is power in your story.”

  5. Home business tax guru LuSundra Everett- The One Thing by Gary Keller

    One thing
    Favorite piece of wisdom- Short and sweet, “you can only have ONE priority, multitasking is a lie!”

Books for thinking outside the box/becoming a leader:

  1. Pepperlane Co-founder and COO Kate Keough- Good to Great by Jim Collins + Rework by Jason Fried

    Rework Good to Great

    Favorite pieces of wisdom-
    Good to Great examines common traits in successful businesses and just as importantly, that common held beliefs of what creates success are no longer true, it’s all about discipline and creating a great culture in any size business.”

    “Rework takes a different approach to building a business. The tone is really straightforward and emphasizes the importance of just getting to work. This book shows you the way. You'll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and a lot more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.”

  2. Business strategist Brenda Crawshaw- Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim + Renee Mauborgne

    Blue Ocean
    Favorite piece of wisdom- “People who think outside the box to fill the gap are the very best kind of outliers!”

  3. Workforce/HR consultant Wendy Silver- Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

    Brene Brown
    Favorite piece of wisdom- “Amazing, both on a personal and professional level.” This quote from Brown sums up the book well, “I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”

#1SimpleAct: Choose one of these books (or another one from our Facebook community) and order it today! Spend 10-30 minutes reading per day, this may be easiest to squeeze in right when you wake up or before going to bed. Feel free to share new wisdom you uncover to the thread at any time and we’ll keep the party going!

Are you part of our incredible Facebook community? There are new conversations going on everyday, join in to make some new friends, learn, and grow as you build your service based business!

Join our Community!

Written by Team Pepperlane

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