13 Books on How to Run a Small Business

13 Books on How to Run a Small Business

Let me ask you a question. Do you prefer a job or a business? Many people will say job and a few will say business. You’re not wrong, though, as growing up, that’s what we’ve seen and heard. “Jobs are more secure,” “You have a stable income, “businesses are risky,” and whatnot. But don’t you think that relying entirely on jobs is also not so secure in today’s market scenario? Along with doing your job, having your own small business can help you create a backup in your life, and here, I’m going to help you find some books that will help you start one.

I am exploring different business ideas and looking into different business models. I find businesses very tempting as the life we dream of living, businesses and not just jobs can only attain it. I know a few people who have their startups and small businesses. The things I dream of having one day are already there, which inspires me a lot to start something.

As tempting as it sounds to start your own small business, it’s not that easy as well. There is ‘n’ number of things that you need to study and take care of before jumping into anything. It would help if you studied the market scenario, the demand, the customers’ psychology, and many more things. And who is our go-to saviors whenever we need information about anything? You guessed it right. Books! There is no better source than a book for learning how to operate one’s own business, as they’re written by people who have made that happen in their own lives.

Since we’ve already understood why businesses are important in today’s life and it is also established that everyone needs a little bit of guidance before doing anything, we can now look at some books that can help us with our startups.

13 On-Point Books on How to Run a Small Business

From knowing what to start, where to start, and how to start to marketing, branding, and selling, I’ve got everything you need here.

1. Purple Cow

purple cow book cover

Full Title: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Author: Seth Godin

Genre: Self-help book

Publishing Date: 2002


This book is about making their business stand out. The ‘Purple Cow’ mentioned in the book title is used as a metaphor here. We might see so many cows just casually passing on daily, but we don’t care about them. Now imagine, suddenly a purple-colored cow appeared in front of you. That’ll be a huge deal. Similarly, as business persons, we need to understand that the customers we are pursuing face so many similar and common products daily. We need to do something unusual to get into their sight and this book will show us exactly how.

2. Great by Choice

great by choice book cover

Full Title: Great by Choice

Author: Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen

Genre: Business

Publishing Date: 2011


Jim Collins, after ten years, has returned with another record-breaking work after his previous success, Good to Great. In the current book, Jim raises the question of why some businesses make it through even in the hardest of times while the others do not? Along with his colleague Morten Hansen, he has come up with solutions for enterprises to run smoothly even when the times are rough. Every point that has been made in this book is a result of nine years of research work, extensive analysis, and real-life experiences. Along with a team of 12 people, Jim and Morten conducted rapid studies, which were full of surprises.

3. The 4-Hour Workweek

the 4-hour workweek book cover

Full Title: The 4-Hour Workweek

Author: Tim Ferriss

Genre: Non-fiction

Publishing Date: 2007


This book will see how we can grow our businesses even without working for straight 10 hours or more. When asked the question ‘What do you do’, the author Tim Ferriss found it troubling to answer and it’s a given that we all will be in the same boat if we give it a little thought. This trouble will be solved completely once we finish with this book. This book will show us how to work smart instead of hard. One doesn’t need to burn their overnight fuel to become successful in life. If time is managed perfectly, only 4 hours are more than enough. We’ll learn how to do it in this book.

4. Zero to One

zero to one book cover

Full Title: Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Author:  Blake Masters and Peter Thiel

Genre: Business

Publishing Date: 2014


This book is a guide for those who don’t know what kind of business they should start. Peter Thiel, very straightforwardly, points out that we live in an era of technological stagnation, even though it seems otherwise. He further continues to tell that progress can be made in any field. If we keep on doing what people out there have already done or are doing, we’re just adding another competitor n the market. Still, if we start something out of the box, which no one else has done before, we can grow and flourish more, avoiding competition altogether.

5. Work the System

work the system book cover

Full Title: Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less

Author: Sam Carpenter

Genre: Christian literature

Publishing Date: 2008


In this book, Sam Carpenter reveals the do’s and don’ts in a business, derived from his own experiences. His steps, insights, mistakes, everything. Through this book, we will learn how making perception adjustments can change our lives forever, maximize profit in our startups, create client loyalty, and develop our employees to be enthusiastic ones. Reading this book will open the doors of success, serenity, and prosperity in our lives through the means of our own small business.

6. Startups Made Simple

startups made simple book cover

Full Title: Startups Made Simple: How to Start, Grow and Systemize Your Dream Business

Author:  Matt Knee

Genre: Business

Publishing Date: 2019


If you’re creating a backup in your life by doing a small business side by side, I’m sure you would want it to be something you love doing and must help you generate a considerable amount of money. If so, then this book is just perfect for you to read. This book is a simple and complete guide, created by Matt Knee, that helps us ideate, systemize, start our dream business as early and easily as possible.

7. Conquer the Chaos

conquer the chaos

Full Title: Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy

Author: Clate Mask and Scott Martineau

Genre: Dissertation

Publishing Date: 2010


When talking business, we’re entering the market, which is bound to be chaotic. So many business persons and entrepreneurs struggle to keep their businesses running. They find themselves trapped, consumed, and controlled by their own business, and in such a scenario, achieving the anticipated growth is almost impossible. As a small business owner, this book talks to us about the 21st-century tactics we need to apply to our business to ensure growth. This book will help us experience success from a position where we’re just struggling to meet ends.

8. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

7 habits of highly effective people book cover

Full Title: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Author: Stephen Covey

Genre: Self-help book

Publishing Date: 1989


This book by Stephen Covey became an instant success upon its release. It makes people like us realize that our lives were headed in the wrong direction and it’s only in our hands to navigate it back on track. This book offers many ideas that a person can implement to head in the right direction. We’re talking about business here and without certain habits and practices, it’ll be difficult for anyone to achieve success. To bring out startup on track, first, we, along with our mindset, need to be on track and this book offers powerful solutions derived from the lives of some highly effective people about how we can think straight to grow in our lives.

9. Start With Why

start with why book cover

Full Title: Start With Why

Author: Simon Sinek

Genre:  Self-help book

Publishing Date: 2009


If we’re really into the business world and are even a little connected with the situation, we would know that there are many businesses out there, but out of them, we know only a few of them. This is because those few businesses are more profitable, influential, and successful than the others. But does it ever cross your mind why does this variation exists when they’re operating in the same market scenario? Well, this book enlightens us about why this happens. Most people start ‘What’ and ‘How,’ but only a few starts with ‘Why,’ which is the basic key to their success.

10. The E-Myth Revisited

the e-myth revisited book cover

Full Title: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

Author: Michael E. Gerber

Genre: Business

Publishing Date: 1986


Once you enter the game of entrepreneurship or the E-world, you’ll find out two exhausting myths about the concept. One is that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs. Second, an individual who understands the technology and technical work can run a business that operates that technical work. This is not the case. In this book, these (and a few more minor ones) myths have been busted and you’re familiarised with the reality that is so important before starting up our own business.

11. Rework

rework book cover

Full Title: Rework: Change the Way You Work Forever

Author:  David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

Genre: Self-help book

Publishing Date: 2010


Separate from any other book on this list, this one is a different type that explores a different reality. It summarises the situation in the market today that earlier, it was difficult for people to start their businesses as the tools required were not accessible to all. Still, if we look into today’s scenario, the case is the opposite. The technology that used to cost quite a fortune is now easy to afford and all this means that nowadays, anyone can own a startup. Moreover, this book also highlights that we can start our businesses without working exhaustingly for 80 hours a week with every resource available with such ease.

12. The Ultimate Sales Machine

the ultimate sales machine book cover

Full Title: The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

Author: Chet Holmes

Genre: Self-help book

Publishing Date: 2007


Now, we know that we need to start our very own business. We know what to do, how to do it, and why. What else do we need? Ah! Yes. Everything we do requires a set of basic skills. In this book, the author Chet Holmes, who has been named one of the top 20 change experts in the country, emphasizes one key point: the focus. This book will show you how to tune up your business by bringing about gradual developments in yourself by spending not more than just 1 hour a week.

13. Never Lose a Customer Again

never lose a customer again book cover

Full Title: Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale Into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days

Author: Joseph John Coleman

Genre: Business

Publishing Date: 2018


The most important skill in a business is the selling skill. No matter how much you hate it, you cannot go without it if we want our startup to grow. Selling does not just include pitching your product to a customer and making a sale happen. It’s about customer loyalty. In a very interesting and engaging manner, this book tells us how we can turn a one-time purchaser into a loyal lifetime customer as in the business world, even a single customer matters. That’s the strategy that startups work on, be it big-budget, large-scale companies, or small businesses like the ones we are pursuing.


As I’ve already told you that I’m planning on starting my own small business, I’ve already read some of the books on the list and the rest are on my read list. I must say that after going through all these works, I think I’m somewhat market-ready to start my own thing.

Also, did you know that creating a website and blogging is also a startup on its own? You might want to check out the following just in case you want to pursue that aspect of business:

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