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Category Archives for Small Business Success

12 Books All Business Owners Should Read

books business owners should read

Thousands of business books are sold every year. Books that explain how to start a business, achieve goals, promote your business, budget your finances, how to be the best at what you do, and so much more. How do you decide which books to read?

Below are twelve books business owners should read … as recommended to me by various  business leaders:

1. Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and
Donald O. Clifton

Based upon a Gallup study of 2 million people this book will help you cultivate your personal and career strengths, capitalize on your talents, and know how to build an organization around your talents and those of your employees.

2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Many business startups fail. Eric Ries provides a set of tools and methodologies that any entrepreneur can use to achieve a successful business. The Lean Startup helps entrepreneurs build a workplace where employees learn, explore, and experiment.

3. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

A well-designed checklist is an extremely powerful tool. This book shows how a checklist can transform tragedy into safety, and can take your business from failure to success.

4. Built to Last by Jim Collins

Jim Collins and Jerry Porras completed a six-year project where they researched exceptional companies to determine what makes them exceptional compared to other companies. They then wrote Built to Last, a master blueprint for turning your business into an exceptional business.

5. The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

Using personal insight, science, and technology, charisma has been taken apart and turned into a science. In The Charisma Myth, you will discover how you can apply strategies and techniques to increase your charisma. You will be able to put the strategies easily to use, right away.

6. The Road to Character by David Brooks

Brooks explored how moral logic and economic logic conflicted within great thinkers and leaders. In The Road To Character, Brooks explains how they used those internal struggles and limitations to build better character. It combines psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional into structured path for building better character from within.

7. Competing Against Time by George Stalk Jr. and Thomas M. Hout

This book uses a series of case studies to show how long-held assumptions about how behaviour of cost, in relation to customers, is not true. The book explains how you can refocus your attention to responsiveness to increase costs, customer value, and demand.

8. e-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

One of my favourite business books of all time, this book reviews myths about starting your business, showing how they are not as true as you may think. It explains how common expectation, assumptions, and expertise can get in the way of building a successful business.

9 and 10. Rich Dad Poor Dad and Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki

Okay, this is two books, but I recommend reading them both. I first read Cashflow Quadrant in my late 20s and had some major “a-ha” moments. But I’m not sure if it would have made as much sense if I hadn’t read Rich Dad Poor Dad previously.

Rich Dad Poor Dad shares how Kiyosaki has used what he learned from his two fathers about investing, employment, and about how to view money to create a successful career. His real dad was highly educated, but financially poor. His second dad (his best friend’s dad) was a self-made millionaire who dropped out of eighth grade.

Cashflow Quadrant expands the information from Rich Dad Poor Dad, giving you a guide to financial freedom. This book is written for those who have made the decision that they are ready to make the changes needed to have financial freedom.

11. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Another all-time classic, this book was written to help you succeed in all areas of life so that you can do anything you desire.

Although its title indicates it’s about how to get rich, the philosophy is about successfully achieving your personal goals. It will help you build a lucrative business and experience success on all levels.

12. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is an inspiring story about a shepherd who goes on search for treasured riches. Along the way he meets a gypsy woman, king, and an alchemist who help him complete his quest though they don’t know the true destination of the treasure. The shepherd uncovers so much more… he discovers the power of dreams and why it’s important to listen to our hearts.

This book was recommended to me by a friend when I was going through a very difficult time over a decade ago. It helped me to see the situation I was in at that time in a completely different light, and its lessons have helped me over and over throughout the years since.

Many of these books are so good I’ve included them on the Resources page on this site, along with links for more information or to buy these books.

I hope you enjoy them and find them as helpful as I did.

How To Manage Information Overload

manage information overload

We live in a high-speed, digital world. There is no denying that.

Unfortunately, this can make the life of a small business owner extremely complicated with the need for one or more email accounts, social media accounts, texting, websites, blogs, and many other needed software and programs. Not to mention that you may have multiples as you have them for your business and your personal use. Aaargh!

The technology age has definitely laid out a great map for information overload. Especially with its enticing thoughts of accomplishing something. It’s easy to believe you’re being productive – after all, you are learning. Or networking.

Even with all that learning, you will put yourself in a paralysis of sorts because you become inactive. If you are constantly learning new things without taking action and implementing what you have learned, you are not really being productive.

That is just the knowledge information available to you. What about all the email, social media, and YouTube videos?

These can cause you to easily lose time as you are sucked into reading, responding, listening, and repeating. You enter a zone of information paralysis.

There is also such a thing as “too much information.” If you have too much information, you may begin making more errors and bad decisions. Especially when you hear (or read) that lists of things that you should be doing in your business, yet they are not all the same.

The best thing you can do for yourself and your business is learn how to manage information overload.

Here are some strategies you can use to better manage information overload:


1. Unless you are in a customer support role or otherwise need to do so more often, only check your email at one or two scheduled times throughout your day. One way to avoid becoming sucked into the email trap is to schedule when you check and send your email.

Also, there are many new software programs that allow you to manipulate your email. You can write it ahead of time and schedule it to be delivered at a certain time, have it leave your inbox and comeback at a better time, and set up automatic responses.

If someone needs an immediate response they will find another way to contact you. The more you practice this habit, the more people will begin to expect your responses only when you send them.

You can also set up an auto-reply to your emails, if necessary, advising that you respond to emails each morning or evening … or whatever time-frame is appropriate for your new routine.

2. Place emails in folders immediately. Many email clients offer the ability to automatically send them to various folders before they even hit your inbox. If they go to your inbox, during your allotted time, place them into folders such as reply, read, take action.

I have my email program set up with many folders and sub-folders and sub-sub-folders to file completed emails in. This also makes it easier to refer back to later. My goal is to have my Inbox at (or close to) “0”.

Social Media

1. How many accounts do you really need? Where are your customers hanging out?

Take a bit of time to do the research for your specific business and determine how many social accounts you need.

Unless you have a social media business, you most likely only need 2-3 to have a successful business.

2. Use a social media dashboard to manage your accounts. Having your accounts all in one place will help save time. Plus, many of them allow you to post to several of your accounts at once and schedule them to go out later.

3. Schedule time to manage social media. Although it may seem as though you need to be connected to social media at all times, you actually don’t.

Using one of the many tools available to you, you can make it appear as though you are always online, even when you are not. This will allow you to dedicate one chunk of time to social media while having a consistent presence.

Unnecessary Electronic Devices and Notifications

1. Turn off all electronic devices you don’t need for your current activity. Yes, this includes your phone.

You get used to not having it on with practice.

2. Turn off all notification pop-ups. These can interrupt your workflow, causing you to get distracted and possibly be pulled back into the information paralysis.

Project Management Tools

1. Use the many online project management tools to help keep you on task and organized. You can avoid much of this information overload when you know what must be done and are organized.

2. Use a calendar. You can use a desk calendar, planner, or online calendar. It will help you stay organized and see next projects and actions steps so that you remain focused.

If you’re addicted to your devices and accounts, and to always being reachable, it may take a little time to implement all of these suggestions.

That’s okay. Just start with one thing at a time. As you see the positive difference it makes, you’ll no doubt be more motivated to make more changes. Before long, you’ll be reaping the rewards of having more time available and getting more results from your productivity, rather than your constant busy-ness.

Managing The Fear Of What Others Think Of You

fear of what others think

Do you ever hold back for fear of what others think of you? If so, you’re not alone. This fear stops many people from going after their dreams.

Allowing your fear to take over can hold you back personally and in business. When you live in fear, you constantly feel as though you are on your own trying to make sure people like what you must offer and that those around you are not going to laugh at you as you struggle to start your own business.

It is common to see everyone else as confident while you feel as though you are trudging through the mud keeping your business from getting stuck. However, the truth is that most people are struggling just as much as you are.

Everyone has their own fears.

Will my business succeed?
Are people going to buy from me?
What if people don’t like my marketing?
What if people laugh at me for making mistakes?

Others are not thinking what you think they are.

You may be wondering what those other business owners are saying about you, thinking about you, or how they are judging you. In reality, they are not doing any of those things. They do not have the time.

They are too busy worrying about what you and others are saying about them, thinking about them, or how you are and others are judging them.

When it comes to running a business, and marketing your services or products, there are so many things that can keep you from being successful. Fear of what others think of you is simply the biggest fear that many new (and some not-so-new) business owners face.

How to Overcome the Fear

There are many things you can do each day to help you manage your fear. Here are some strategies that can help you:

1. Create a Plan

The lack of a plan can cause chaos and uncertainty in your marketing and selling. When you are organized, you will feel more confident and can worry less about what others think of you. You do not have to go through the process of creating a new plan each time, but at least once you need to write one down. The next time you want to sell and market a product you will have the steps laid out already. Then you will simply need to make a few adjustments. Having a plan allows you to see what needs to be done and how you can achieve your goal while keeping you accountable.

2. Focus on One Step at a Time

As a business owner, you most likely have a long list of things that need to be done to reach your next business goal. You may even have several goals. Knowing that you have a lot of things that need to be accomplished can leave you wondering if you will be able to successfully complete it all. Instead of looking at everything you need to do, pick the one thing that you need to complete right now to take you closer to your goal and only focus on that action until it is complete.

3. Turn Off Your Inner Critic

Most of the time, the person who is judging you the most is yourself. Once you begin judging yourself, you feel that everyone else is judging you as well. Begin focusing on your successes and what you do well. Focusing on the good will block your inner critic, allowing you to complete your projects without judgement.

4. Know the Values and Priorities of Your Business

When you allow yourself to become clear about your business values and priorities, then you will not have to worry about what others are thinking. Everyone has their own set of values and priorities; your business is your own and only you know what is right for your business.

5. Determine Your Fear and Take Action Against It

Figure out what it is that you fear. Take time to write it down and determine what you can do to overcome it. Then, begin taking action to manage that fear. You may find that you need to create a marketing plan, overcome your own judgements, or become more clear about your values. Whatever it is, the more you practice, the easier it will become to manage the fear of what others think.

Most importantly, don’t let this fear win. Don’t let it stop you from achieving the greatness that you are truly capable of.

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