Even if we're a marketing and communication agency, we are entrepreneurs too. At least, we have the same struggles! Starting and building a company is definitely not the easiest thing to do. Whether you have 1, 10, or 20 years of experience working for a corporation, getting things done, hiring the right people, coming up with the right business plan will always be a challenge because for the first time: you’ll be free to decide.
Because you’re not the first one creating a business, many tried, failed, and also succeeded before. Use their knowledge, lessons, and experiences to achieve faster your objectives.
Here are some “life-changing” books, or at least “career-changing books” to help you get things done correctly, to reassure you’re making the right decisions, or just to inspire you when things get hard.
Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne
Kim & Mauborgne present a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant and outline principles and tools any organization can use to create and capture their own blue oceans. The blue ocean strategy focuses on finding a, well, blue ocean, or untouched territory where no one has gone before. One of the hardest questions to answer when you’ll create a new business is: how will it stand out from the competition? By finding a “blue ocean” basically a super-hidden niche, you’ll make your product answers a real need.
You could also naturally ask: “if no one went there, used this niche, is it a good idea?”. To that we answer: “100%. Trust your gut, your analytical skills, measure your risk and be as creative as possible."
Start With Why, Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is a British-American author and inspirational speaker. Look at what everyone else is doing, and go in the opposite direction. Challenge the norm. If you are marketing a product, you want people to buy the product itself. The catch is, though, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’ (Sinek). Your marketing and communication strategy, content, and wording should always come from your gut, your instinct, your intuition, who you are, as a human being, not a CEO. People buy from humans, they don’t buy from robots. Find the meaningful reason behind everything you do, and success will find you. We often say that branding is not a logo, fonts, images and icons, it’s who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
Execution: the discipline of getting things done, Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan
We kept hearing it in silicon valley: “everybody can have a creative and amazing idea, but not everyone has the power, knowledge, and ambition to execute it properly.”
Execution shows how to link together people, strategy, and operations, the three core processes of every business. Leading these processes is the real job of running a business, not formulating a “vision” and leaving the work of carrying it out to others. Bossidy and Charan show the importance of being deeply and passionately engaged in an organization and why robust dialogues about people, strategy, and operations result in a business based on intellectual honesty and realism.
The Art of War, Sun Tzu
Even if big companies feel a bit more “friendly”, “open-minded”, and “compassionate”, the business world is still tough. Some compare it to war: you have to be the first one, otherwise, you’re dead.
This classic Chinese text, the earliest known treatise on war, offers strategy and tactics that can be applied to every type of human conflict. Central to Sun Tzu's philosophy is the concept of using deception and superior intelligence to minimize risk, which has made his book required reading at military, business, and law schools around the world. With a Foreword by B.H. Liddell Hart and a 74-page Introduction, this deluxe edition--beautifully presented in a sumptuous silk case--is a standout offering in the successful Art of Wisdom series.
The Lean Startup, Eric Ries
We always tell our clients that they don’t have the time to think and rethink their offering, they have to start quickly, release everything quickly, and pivot, quickly if they need to.
Lean startup is a methodology for developing businesses and products that aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning. The idea of a business, or, more specifically, a startup, is to create a product you believe the market needs, create it, and release it as quickly as possible. In The Lean Startup, Ries provides a more intricate look into the fast-paced environment of Startups.
How to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie
In his book, Carnegie explains that success comes from the ability to communicate effectively with others. He provides relatable analogies and examples, and teaches you skills to make people want to be in your company, see things your way, and feel wonderful about it. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach you six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking and nine ways to change people without arousing resentment. In order to have a successful business, you have to learn how to entice and intrigue people. Read this book and find out how.
The hard thing about the hard things, Ben Horowitz
While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.