I’ve seen many book lists over the years that urge startups to read a select set of books. Although one or two on my list also appear on the others, I think some key ones are regularly omitted. So with no further ado, here are the books that I wish I had read BEFORE starting a business, with an explanation of why I think you should read them too.
Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
The best time to raise money for your startup is when you don’t need it. And the best way to show you don’t need it is to follow Oren Klaff’s approach to pitching investors.
Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
With almost 20 marketing channels available, it can feel overwhelming to get started. But when you review the timing that makes sense for your business, as outlined in this book, you’ll be able to decide where to focus your effort and for how long. If something works, pile on! If not, move along.
The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
I think I’ve bought more copies of this book than anything else in my life. I bought it for my whole team when we started, and I even got the audiobook for reminding myself during Los Angeles commutes. When it comes to crafting the ingredients of a pitch, this is the holy bible.
Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com
Knowing how to manage your sales funnel is critical path stuff for a startup. Knowing how to configure a business to have a sales funnel stands even before that. Aaron’s treatment of the subject, based on his days building sales at Salesforce.com (before it got traction), can lead to a great foundation. Plus, the community and support around this approach are growing.
Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
Another key element of building your business is thinking about where revenue will come from. BMG does a good job of showcasing frameworks.
The Art of Profitability
Almost a companion piece to Business Model Generation, this book also provides a number of templates to grow revenue opportunities. You’ll be in better shape for pivots or adjustments to changing markets if you’ve thought through more ways to earn revenue.
I share such reading material to help others who may be considering #startuplife. It sure ain’t easy, and the more successful companies that emerge around me, the better my life (I hope, at least).