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18 Must Read Business Books for Emerging Entrepreneurs and Startups

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Reading is both relaxation and training for the mind. Who reads, dives into another world. Learning, entertaining and breaking out of everyday life for a short moment. One could go even so far as to say reading is the second most beautiful thing in the world! Whether it is non-fiction or a novel of all the world’s man has created, the book is the most powerful tool. That is also, why we wanted to find out which business book you should undertake in the new year.

Here are 18 business books you might not have heard of but you need to read:

1. Prediction Machines by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb

The book “Prediction Machines” helps to classify the development of artificial intelligence and deal constructively with uncertainty about changes. The book first appeared in October and highlights the changes that AI inevitably brings with it. The three renowned economists give an overview of the possibilities of AI and deal with economic issues related to this technology. This book offers some illustrative examples of use.

2. Growth Hacking with Strategy by Hendrik Lennarz

The book by Hendrik Lennarz provides numerous tips and practical examples for the successful introduction of a growth hacking strategy for companies. The spectrum ranges from organization through product development to marketing and customer loyalty. The growth-hacking-readiness checklist is particularly useful here. In my view, the book is a must for anyone looking to maximize user growth.

3. 7 Ways to Effectiveness by Stephen R. Covey

A classic among the business advisers, which appeared in 1989, but has since lost none of its topicality. Covey describes the habits of successful individuals and derives universal principles from them. They help me both in my professional and personal life and are reflected in the successful development of extremely strong teams. The book is one of the most influential business books of the last 100 years, according to Time Magazine.

4. Digital Offroad by Ulf Bosch, Stefan Hentschel, Steffen Kramer

“Digital Offroad” shows that digitization should not be considered one-dimensional. It touches just every area of a company and must, therefore, be understood as a holistic challenge and an opportunity. The authors argue that digitization has an impact on a variety of factors, including corporate culture. Provocative thesis that reveal important questions, as well as best practices, make “Digital Offroad” an absolute must-read for me.

5. The Startup Code by Johannes Ellenberg

In seven chapters, the book sums up clearly and pragmatically what middle-sized companies can and must learn from startups. It clearly represents startups and why they are better prepared for the future. Johannes Ellenberg, who helped set up the startup scene in Stuttgart, explains how companies have to change their course and adapt to changing market conditions in order to remain sustainable. A new mindset is postulated: cooperation instead of competition!

“Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes and fill up my heart.” – Oprah Winfrey

6. From Zero to One by Peter Thiel

“From Zero to One” is full of unconventional perspectives on starting a business. The basic idea of the Silicon Valley veteran Peter Thiel is to build something fundamentally new — a monopoly. He explains what has to happen to ensure long-term success and how to protect this monopoly from imitators. From the book, I was able to draw many valuable ideas for our own startup — a real must-read for anyone who wants to start their own business!

7. The Platform Revolution by Geoffrey Parker, Marshall van Alstyne, Sangeet Choudary

Although the book was published in 2016, the content is more relevant than ever. The authors clarify all important questions about the development of a successful platform business model and the concepts can be applied to both B2B and B2C. The examples are very practice-oriented and the analysis of how established companies can adapt to new requirements in the market is sound. Whether founder of a startup or established player in a changing market, this book is a must for everyone!

8. Artificial Intelligence by Peter Buxmann, Holger Schmidt

Holger Schmidt is an economist and journalist on platform economics and has even developed a stock index exclusively for listed companies with platform business models. In his new title, he and some colleagues are scientifically dedicated to artificial intelligence and its impact on the economy and society. The book deals with many myths and provides exciting facts and case studies. The book is very inspiring for me.

9. Fast thinking, slow thinking by Daniel Kahneman

This excellent book opens your eyes to the countless limitations and influences of your own thinking. It helps to reflect on how decisions and assessments – which you as a founder and entrepreneur must constantly make — actually come about and this often does not go as rationally as you would wish. Admittedly, it takes some time to read — definitely not easy reading — but it is worth it.

10. Founder to CEO by Matt Mochary

I can recommend this book to anyone because it covers the most important start-up and growth topics: competencies and motivation in the team, knowledge transfer and productivity, cash flow, finances and scaling — all in all, the perfect sweeping blow. Founders who are CEOs for the first time will find guidelines and answers for challenges. Long-time CEOs can use the guide to reassess their own and the company’s performance.

11. Rethinking Agility by Klaus Leopold

The book “Agile Rethinking” by Klaus Leopold is my book highlight for 2019. Just 136 pages of concentrated knowledge with precise illustrations of why agile teams alone are not enough if you want to re-think the entire company and be agile. A case study, which shows all the problems and the appropriate solutions in the practical example. My clear recommendation for every leadership team at C-level — from 50 employees to a global corporation.

12. The Startup Way by Eric Ries

Eric Ries is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who helps large and small organizations with transformation processes. He helps them to focus on their customers and their requirements with little capital and lean processes in order to bring the right products to the market. Based on his experience of the past twenty years, Ries has developed a system of corporate governance that leads to stable growth and sustainable effect.

13. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari describes in his bestseller how people have striven to challenge the status quo from the very beginning. At the same time, he explores the question of what a world in which man has become “homo deus” through technological progress looks like. A must-read for the entire tech industry, which deals with future topics and looks for the appropriate modus operandi. Harari points out the potential of innovation and warns to think about developments from the potential end.

14. The Design Thinking Playbook by Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, Larry Leifer

Design thinking is a great approach that defines customer needs and practical use cases for these needs for constant innovation. Too many companies are still pursuing an “inside out” approach, focusing on internal skills and innovation plans in the development of new services and products. The book provides a playful approach to the methods and tools used. It also provides sufficiently detailed and clear explanations for those who want to get directly involved in the practical application of design thinking.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison

15. Smart Business – Alibaba’s Strategy Secret by Ming Zeng

Alibaba looks at some digital transformations we are about to face and which an almost unbelievable success is the group’s platforms attract more users than the US, and earn higher margins than Amazon. Alibaba’s chief strategy officer Ming Zeng, who is also a former professor, discusses the guidelines for the world of artificial intelligence. Spoiler: human creativity and innovative ability are essential.

16. Hard Things about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The book gives an open and realistic view of entrepreneurship, with all difficulties. Through the own experiences of the author and Silicon Valley investor Ben Horowitz, the tips and advice are very practical and have a real added value for the reader. After reading, you are prepared for the next lows as an entrepreneur. Many books and guides ignore the negative aspects of founding. That is not the case here. A real recommendation for every entrepreneur!

17. Digital Vortex by Michael Wade, James Macauly, Jeff Loucks

A vortex described in fluid mechanics is a mathematically not precisely formable circular flow, which sucks things with increasing speed into their center. Metaphorically transferred to organizations, they whirl chaotically along the flow, collide, merge or dissolve completely. They head for the center of the movement — a digital revolution. For entrepreneurs, the question of what role they play with their company in the wake of digitization is decisive. Therefore, the question of what incumbents should know as they move in the digital vortex is at the heart of the book.

18. Measure What Matters by John Doerr

My must-read for 2019: “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr. He describes how goals and responsibilities can be defined and controlled by means of objectives and key results. In particular, the case studies and knowledge resources in the book help to understand the approach and to find starting points for the implementation in their own environment. In summary, a very practice-oriented book that shows possibilities for direct involvement.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Max Babych is serial entrepreneur and IT professional. Owner of https://spdload.com/. His focus optimizes the business process and increases KPIs. Expert in Growth Hacking, Lean Methodology and Customer Development approach. You can reach him through LinkedIn.

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Entrepreneurs

Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur? Try Intrapreneurship First

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Studies show that 15 million Americans are self-employed full-time and that an estimated 27 million Americans will transition from the traditional workforce to full-time entrepreneurship by 2020. Additionally, it is asserted that entrepreneurs are 125% more successful if they have previously been employed in the industry in which they presently do business. This is all great news on many levels.

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you are considering transitioning from employee to entrepreneur, or perhaps you have already made the shift. I get it. I am one of the millions who has made the switch – trading stability and comfort for passion and freedom. However, if you are a potential full-time entrepreneur, there are many things to consider before making the leap.

How will I support myself and my family in the initial stages of development? What do I do if I fail? How do I maintain the drive needed to make a business successful? How will my business harness the creativity and innovation required to thrive in the marketplace? These are all valid questions and should be considered deeply.

If only there were a training ground to test your management capabilities, gain knowledge, think innovatively and be solution-focused. But, wait, there is. Your current employment can offer these opportunities and more – through intrapreneurship.

By definition, an intrapreneur is an employee of a company who has adopted an entrepreneurial mindset. Intrapreneurs are highly motivated self-starters and innovative, solution-driven thought leaders, who work within an organization. Because of this definition, acting in an intrapreneurial capacity in your current place of employment makes a great deal of sense when considering the move to self-employment. You can use your current employment status as a testing ground for where you want to be.

Here are four reasons why intrapreneurship can work for you:

1. See a problem. Solve a problem

All businesses should be designed to fulfill a need. Just as your own business should be able to justify its existence in the marketplace, initiatives within an organization should do the same. Closely examine processes and products in your place of employment. Determine what could be executed more productively. Alternatively, design a new initiative to creatively meet and exceed customer expectations. Acting in this manner will prepare you for building the structure and mission of your own business.

2. Creatively capitalize on skills and talents gained outside your employer

In many instances, we separate business from personal, and there are many good reasons for this approach. However, there are notable skills and talents used in your personal life that are transferable to the workplace. For example, if you engage in team sports, use your team building skills and charisma to involve your colleagues in projects.

If you love to read fiction books, integrate the creativity of the stories to bend the thinking of traditional methods of operation. The possibilities are many. Business owners rely on all life experiences, directly or tangentially related, for the benefit of their enterprises.

3. Intrapreneurship is for all employment levels

If you think intrapreneurship is only for c-suite executives, think again. Intrapreneurship is for the mailroom to the boardroom. As noted in the definition, intrapreneurship is about being a self-starter. You do not need permission from anyone to be highly motivated. Just as all parts of our bodies have a function, so do all positions in an organization. Even if you feel your position has no purpose in your organization, make one. We all have to start somewhere in our entrepreneurial journeys, so start right now, where you are.

4. Experiencing failure is inevitable. Move forward anyway.

All of us will experience failure at some point and multiple times as well. Failure will happen regardless if you remain employed or set out on our own. Be bold enough to move forward with establishing your voice and your place anyway. Business and life are about forward movement. Decide now what next step you will take if you fail. There is always a path forward. Get used to the possibility of your ideas being rejected and your designs being flawed now, so when you are a full-time entrepreneur, you will know how to advance.

Whether you are at the infancy stages of developing your own business, currently self-employed or even wish to remain an employee, establishing yourself as an initiator and innovator can reap many benefits for you and your company. That is the beauty of it.

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3 Ways to Remove the Hustle From Your Business Through the Power of Automation

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If you’re anything like me, when building your business online you may see asking for help or taking short cuts as cheating. I can’t explain why but when I first launched my business online, I wanted so badly to be able to do everything for myself. It gave me more of a sense of achievement, and I worked many extra hours than I probably needed to trying to do everything myself.

The admin, content creation, marketing, prospecting, web design…I’m sure you get the picture. But it all came to a head when I would burn myself out time and time again. I kept hitting a wall where my business was concerned as there was only 1 of me and only limited hours in the day.

I got bored of the hustle and thought there must be a much simpler way to build and market a business online. Especially as I was a single mother, looking after my child when I wasn’t running a business single handedly. That’s when I discovered something that not only gave me back my freedom but also transformed my business, bringing in enough revenue within 8 weeks to enable me to leave the day job and become a work from home mum.

It was the power of automation!

I looked all around me as well at the other mum’s building their businesses online but desperately struggling to make ends meet and wearing themselves out. I knew there was a way to simplify my sales and business processes.

Here are my top 3 recommended tools to start removing the hustle from your business today:

1. Messenger marketing

I use Manychat which is a messenger marketing platform which enables you to market to your subscribers directly through Facebook messenger. The ways in which you can use this incredible technology is endless but I will name a few ways in which you can use this in your business.

Automate your sales process! You can build a sales funnel with a messenger bot that can take your prospects through a warm up sequence, build the relationship with them, showcase all of your products and services and even take payments on autopilot.

You can register people for online events or training sessions using your messenger bot, communicate with everyone simultaneously and provide any updates direct to their messenger.

Do you have a membership, team or group of people you need to communicate with? Create a messenger bot specifically for them to enable you to communicate with everyone directly at the same time with just 1 click of a button. Subscription messages can also be sent and scheduled in advance.

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates

2. Email marketing

Another form of digital marketing, email marketing has been around for some time but still very much has a place in today’s marketing world. You can use a lead page/landing page and an account with an email provider to automate all aspects of your sales process and communicate regularly with your subscribers.

Treat your list well, provide them with valuable content and you can build a tribe of loyal followers. If you match this with an ongoing ad campaign you have the ability to be making sales on autopilot.

Set your automation up and you can take your leads through your whole sales process and all the way up your product/service value ladder. If you sell digital products such as courses, this allows you to be earning a residual income whilst you sleep.

3. Automate your social media content

Zapier is the most incredible workflow automation tool I have ever come across. Allowing you to create automations between most apps that you can use online. For example, if you use spreadsheets, you can create a trigger every time a new entry is entered on your google sheet with an email address, they automatically get added to your mailing list and sent automated emails.

My favourite zap (an automation created between 2 apps) is between Trello and Buffer. You can connect both apps together in a seamless way which allows you to plan your social media content in Trello, write your content, set the date you wish the content to post, add an image and this will automatically send all of the information to your Buffer account and schedule the post for your social media accounts.

Even more incredible is that this system works across multiple platforms so you can use it to schedule content for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram all at the same time.

“Automation and technology don’t cure behavioural ruts; they just create new instances of them.” – Kenneth Goldsmith

I can’t even begin to tell you how much my life has changed since implementing these into my business. In just 3 months my income increased by 500%. So it’s time to relax and start implementing some automation into that business of yours. The hustle is all a myth.

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5 Challenges New Entrepreneurs Will Face While Starting a Business

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Entrepreneurship is a field that comes with many obstacles and challenges. It’s important to be aware that sometimes it can be extremely difficult, especially for first-time entrepreneurs.

Before you launch your business, you need to be well equipped to face the challenges that’ll surely come your way. Mark Victor Hansen, Founder and Co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, said “You don’t become enormously successful without encountering a number of extremely challenging problems.”

Here are the 5 challenges that you are likely to face and how you can overcome them:

1. Lifestyle Change

The experiences of entrepreneurship will change you profoundly, from the way you think, to how you act, to your manner of living. You begin to realize you’re not getting enough sleep, have little time for yourself, can’t spend the same amount of time with friends, and you get complaints from people closest to you This is all because you’re putting most, if not all your energy and focus into running your business.

The solution, in order to sustain your passion, is to make some tough choices and identify your priorities. You’ll need to sacrifice much while you learn new things. You can start by organizing your day the night before, by creating a list of your activities for the next day in terms of priority.

Constantly, visualize your destination and surround yourself with people that motivate, inspire and push you to be your best self. By the time you apply these principles, you’ll feel more relaxed and energized.

2. Facing Uncertainty

When you launch your business, even if you offer the best product or service in your industry, you’re bound to face uncertainty.

Your marketing strategy might fail, your customers may not be ready for your product or service because it’s too early, and your competition may be a little bit tougher than expected. Even if you’re able to handle all of this, it doesn’t mean you’ll get your desired paycheck. However, keep in mind, that if you are well prepared, you’ll be in the best position to handle any of these roadblocks without stress.

An important thing to do is to test your product in the marketplace. By doing this, you will observe how the market views your product or service and can get feedback as well. If you do this right, you’ll be on your way to launching a successful business. The joy that eventually comes from launching a successful business is the greatest feeling ever.

“Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.” – Brian Greene

3. Team Building

Recruiting a trustworthy and reliable team is an important part of building a successful business. Every entrepreneur should know it’s important to recruit a strong team because your team can either make or break your business.

Lawrence Bossidy, Former Chairman and CEO of Honeywell, once said “I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people not on strategies.” The common mistake new entrepreneurs make is hiring too quickly and if this doesn’t turn out well, you might be setting yourself up for failure before you even begin.

One solution is to hire individuals you already know or get references from people you trust from your professional life. Having the right people around is significant because they will influence your decisions and therefore the success of your business. Choose wisely.

4. Capital Management

One of the major reasons many startups fail within the first few months of business is because of capital mismanagement. The common mistakes entrepreneurs make are spending prematurely and not separating personal account from your corporate account. Spending too early on items like business cards and marketing materials might just end up being too costly for your startup.

You need to stay on top of your cash flow by keeping track of all your business expenses. You need to create a budget and set up an emergency fund account. You may decide to hire an accountant to help handle your finances, so they can assist you in fine-tuning where the money goes.

“Money is usually attracted, not pursued.” – Jim Rohn

5. Loneliness

Starting and running a business can be very stressful. This pressure can cause entrepreneurs to feel alone and maybe even depressed. If it’s extreme, you may develop mental health problems. Studies show that 30% of entrepreneurs report a lifetime history of depression.

It’s vital to reach out to your support system regularly. Family, close friends or mentors can be a big help in getting you back to your best. Once in a while get together with your family and friends and do some fun activities.

Starting a business has it’s challenges but if you’re prepared and know what’s ahead or what to expect, it will be a little less surprising when you run into an obstacle and you’ll be able to take the hit better than you thought!

Have you wanted to start a business? If so, what’s holding you back from pursuing it 100%? Share your thoughts with us below so we can be of service to you!

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9 Ways to Help You Think Like an Entrepreneur

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Going by popular opinion, being an entrepreneur seems a lot more thrilling than the typical 9-to-5 job. No bosses anymore, no pressure of completing the work in a rush, and no limited paycheck. Sure, an entrepreneur doesn’t have to go through the daily grind. However, there is so much more to the life of an entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur is like treading on thin ice. The moment you decide to be one, 9-to-5 will almost turn to 24×7. Your consumers will become your new bosses, and the size of your pay check will differ from month to month. If you still want to venture into it with the resolve to work hard and the willingness to innovate, you can join the club.

Now, to make your journey a little smooth, here’s presenting some pertinent ways to think like an entrepreneur:

1. Pinning your hopes in one place takes you on the road to disaster

To think like an accomplished entrepreneur, you must know that these professionals would never place all of his/her hopes in one place. Too much dependence on luck could be detrimental to the business that you are working on.

In reality, you must always be prepared for things that might never go as planned. There’s no point in being dejected about the way things are unfolding. Instead, you have to be willing to go with the flow and simply accept things as they come.

2. Treat your decision making skill like a superpower

You must be familiar with the iconic dialogue from the movie Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Well, it’s the same with entrepreneurship.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll be the person to make decisions and be quick at it. Now, over-analysing things can take up a lot of time, and you may miss out on many opportunities along the way. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to decide, or shouldn’t ask experienced people for advice. When required, you must act quickly. Make more space for big decisions, and do away with the small ones.

3. Wear your confidence like an armour

This is one of the most significant aspects of developing an entrepreneurial mindset. You should have self-confidence in abundance and immense faith in your abilities. If you keep doubting and second-guessing every decision, then you will never be able to take risks.

An entrepreneur is aware of the fact that he/she is the captain of their ship. The moment he/she starts to flounder or display any signs of weakness and insecurity, the workers and investors are bound to lose faith in him/her. This is something that is harmful to any business.

“Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.” – Wendy Wasserstein

4. Never let failures get to your head (or heart)

Failures and struggles are as inevitable as the sunrise and sunset. The value of your success increases tenfold if you have gone through an insurmountable struggle.

A skilled entrepreneur always thinks in a way that they’re both willing to accept failure and success with open arms. They would never let failures bring them to heel, and at the same time won’t bask too long in the glory of successes.

If you develop such an attitude to your work and develop a positive way of thinking, then there’s no stopping you from making it big as an entrepreneur.

5. Taking calculated risks comes with the territory

An entrepreneur has to be well-versed with taking calculated risks. You should be happy when things go as planned and should gracefully accept when things don’t exactly go the way you want.

Ultimately, to thrive and prosper in today’s business landscape, it’s vital to take risks. Make sure you take risks after doing your homework. This is exactly how successful entrepreneurs think and make decisions. Make sure once you’ve made a decision, you stand by it. After all, there is no point in constantly thinking if you have done the best for your business.

6. Always stay updated with relevant information

Like every successful entrepreneur, you too have to be acquainted with the latest advancements in your field. In order to gather sufficient knowledge, you have to keep your eyes and ears open to what’s happening around you. It’s only when you’re clued in to what’s going on in the world around you, that you’ll be able to collect relevant information.

This, in turn, will help you to get ahead in life. Isolating or cutting yourself off from the rest of the world will only create a roadblock in your way to success and prevent you from moving forward.

7. Ignorance isn’t a bliss when it comes to good advice

Connecting with people in your field allows you to develop the thought process of an entrepreneur. You must interact with the industry experts and influential figures in your line of work because they’ll help you sway your thought process in the right direction.

If you are ignorant towards good advice that people offer, then you are likely to end up making mistakes. In the fiercely competitive world of business, finding a mentor to guide you in your journey to success is absolutely invaluable.

“If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.” – J Loren Norris

8. Your qualifications will always be useful

Having the right qualifications will propel you to think like an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur involves hardships and turbulence, and the journey won’t always be smooth. You must be ready to counter any and every obstacle that is thrown your way.

An entrepreneur is someone who has a flair for thinking. That’s how they come up with solutions to problems that present themselves all of a sudden. Having appropriate training and qualifications can help you with your problem-solving skills.

For instance, if you want to set up an industry specific company, you must have the right training and qualifications to understand the nuances of the business.

9. Positivity will take you forward

In order to help an organization move forward, an entrepreneur knows that it is essential to stay positive at all times. If he/she gives in to negativity, then it won’t be long before the employees fall prey to the negative feelings.

Accomplished entrepreneurs are smart enough to ensure that the negative vibes do not affect the workflow. It’s no secret that when you maintain a positive outlook, you will also motivate your subordinates to work efficiently.

These are some ideas you can implement in your daily life to think like an entrepreneur. While entrepreneurship may come across as thrilling, there is a lot of hard work that goes into it. However, be assured that if you put your heart and soul into it, success will never evade you.

Which one of the 9 ways to help you think like an entrepreneur resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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