Money Matters: 4 books every entrepreneur should read in 2023
A new year is finally upon us, and we’ve already embarked on the age-old tradition of making resolutions for the year to come. Some of us are hitting the gym more. Some of us are trying to spend less time on social media. But if you’re an entrepreneur, your resolutions may look a touch more specific, aimed at your overarching goals of getting your business running and self-sufficient.
Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, and we can all use some extra help knowing where to go and how. To that end, here are four books every entrepreneur should read to help them on their journey as they build their organization.
“Masters of Scale: Surprising Truths from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs” by Reid Hoffman
One of the most difficult skills to master as a new entrepreneur is knowing how and what to scale. While automation is a valuable tool, using it too early will lead inexperienced entrepreneurs to scale the wrong things.
In “Masters of Scale: Surprising Truths from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman sits with the founders of some of the world’s most successful companies and startups — including Netflix, Google, 23andMe and TaskRabbit — and explores the strategies they employed to grow their businesses to where they are today. It’s a fascinating and insightful read for anyone interested in turning a winning idea into something that will scale into an empire.
“The Mom Test: How to Talk to Customers and Learn If Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You” by Rob Fitzpatrick
When considering whether or not to start a business, you’re likely to run your idea by a friend or two. Or three. Or 10. Or 20. Or … well, you get the idea. You want to be sure that your potential business will have an actively interested customer base, so you try to get as much feedback as you possibly can. But even then, how can you be sure that your friends, family, and even strangers aren’t just telling you what you want to hear?
It’s a question every entrepreneur struggles with. In “The Mom Test: How to Talk to Customers and Learn If Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You,” Rob Fitzpatrick gives you actual strategies for getting outside of your echo chamber and having conversations with customers that deliver real value. You’ll learn such skills as recognizing biased feedback, writing effective emails that get responses and finding the features that your customers actually need — not just what they think you want to give them.
“The User Method: How Entrepreneurs Create Successful Innovations” by Jeff Schwarting
As any experienced entrepreneur can tell you, figuring out what your customers want vs. what they need is tricky. As cruise ship designer John McNeece once said, “There is a problem trying to figure out what people want by canvassing them. I mean, if Henry Ford canvassed people on whether or not he should build a motor car, they’d probably tell him what they really wanted was a faster horse.”
Jeff Schwarting, author of “The User Method: How Entrepreneurs Create Successful Innovations,” puts forth a simple thesis: The most successful innovations are made by people who created something they wanted to use for themselves. His book uses case study after case study of the world’s biggest brands to make this point and recognize patterns for building straightforward principles to scale your business.
“The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries
Serial entrepreneur Eric Ries subscribes to the philosophy that you should just build what will fly — don’t build a rocket ship. That is, build something your customers need instead of something niche they don’t want. Once your product is built and customers are using it, you can use feedback to scale — and maybe one day build that rocket if that’s what they finally want. His book “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” is an excellent resource for doing just that.
The secrets and skills of entrepreneurship could fill a library. This year, start with these four books. They’re sure to give any entrepreneur the guidance and motivation they need to embark on their journey, confident in their course and their ability to see it to its end.
Peter Ord is the founder of GUIDEcx, a client implementation and onboarding project platform based in Lehi.