7 Essential Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

According to Fortune.com, Bill Gates claims he reads a book every week and insists it is his favorite way to learn a new topic. His enthusiasm for reading led us to create this list of books that are must-reads for any entrepreneur.

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1. “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand

Mark Cuban, another self-made billionaire, and business powerhouse told Business Insider he believed The Fountainhead should be required reading for anyone who considers themselves an entrepreneur. The Fountainhead is a favorite among many business successes. Charlie O’Donnell, who is a partner at a successful seed stage investment fund in Brooklyn by the name of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, says he does not know of any book that combines the entrepreneurial spirit and passion better. In the book, Ayn Rand said, “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me,” which spoke to Mr. O’Donnell. The proof of its impact on him is showing in the financial figures. Forbes clocked the new firm at $15.1 million in worth. The endorsements of successful entrepreneurs and the financial figures speak for the book’s power to teach and inspire.

2. “The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, has his senior managers read this book. Also, it has become commonplace among many successful CEOs to have their top managers read because one of the lessons is to emphasize the importance of executives and employees to develop a set of goals together. One part of the book known as “The Effective Executive” explores combining decision-making habits and well managed time to form productive, valuable strategies for any organization.

3. “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen

Here is another book Jeff Bezos has his executives add to their reading list. The Innovator’s Dilemma is considered one of the most influential business books in print today, and it is a top choice for several other VCs and founders. A former entrepreneur who currently teaches at UC Berkeley and several other schools continue to teach from the book and require his business students to read it.

4. “Business Adventures” by John Brooks

This book is a collection of stories from successful businessmen in New York City. It is rumored that the billionaire Warren Buffet recommended it to Bill Gates in 1991. It became Bill Gates favorite book. A lot can change in 26 years, but it had a profound effect on the world’s wealthiest man.

5. “Benjamin Franklin” by Walter Isaacson

This book is the favorite of Elon Musk. Elon Musk is a billionaire and the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. He constantly makes a case for Benjamin Franklin being an entrepreneur whenever he speaks passionately about the book. One could speculate that Elon Musk loves the book so much because he feels a kinship with Benjamin Franklin. They are both inventors that started with nothing, and money was a backseat to science for the both of them.

6. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

The main takeaway from this book that inspired the creators of the clothing line FUBU is goal setting. The book speaks endlessly about how important it is to set goals both short and long and how they can build upon each other to create a successful business that can thrive by sticking to the formula.

7. “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen

This book is easy to read, and it is concise. It combines those attributes to form a work of literature on what it means to be profound. It is a favorite of the executive life coach Tony Robbins. Robbins used the book to help build a successful empire, and he was an advisor to Bill Clinton and Paul Tudor Jones, a successful hedge fund manager. Robbins claims to have read the book over 12 times and used the lessons from the book during his advisement of those two powerful and influential men.

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5 Ways to Make Your Customers Happier

Every successful business should care about customer satisfaction rather than making a quick sale and hope for good results. Happy customers become repeat customers, and they are likely to tell others about their positive experience with your enterprise, which may then help to bring in new business. Just ask the winners of this year’s Empire Awards. Getting to be the best company in your field doesn’t come without making customers happy! The following tips can help to keep your customers appreciative of your business.

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1. Competent employees.

Hiring and training efficient employees are critical. Employees who care about customers satisfaction and are willing to do what it takes for a win-win sale can often help to build a solid customer base. Anne M. Obarski writes in Business Know-How: “Customers get cranky when you waste their time and don’t have the answers they need!”

Your staff members should be alert and informed as to possible customer questions and how best to serve their interests.

 2.Well-organized products and services.

Customers love being able to find what they want online or onsite. Directories and product lists are also helpful materials to keep updated to facilitate customer access. Clear pathways between shelves as well as neat and tidy business areas enable visitors to find what they need with minimum effort.

 3. Convenience.

Try to answer questions and provide information as quickly and easily as possible. Avoid keeping customers waiting on extended phone hold or being passed from one department to the next, which can be highly aggravating. Keep customer convenience in mind when establishing procedures and policies as well as facilitating communication and services. The easier you make it for the public to do business with your company, the more likely they are to do so.

 4. Aesthetics.

From well-groomed associates to attractively-decorated premises, a welcoming and aesthetically pleasing environment and staff encourage repeat business. By contrast, a careless appearance of employees or products can project an uninviting atmosphere. Customers enjoy feeling privileged and pampered, so provide an attractive location onsite or a welcoming website online to keep them coming back to enjoy a professional experience.

 5. Quality and pricing.

High-quality merchandise or meaningful interaction with the organization is paramount to making customers feel valued and want to continue doing business. Services that make life easier and products that outperform or outlast the competition are winners in the client’s eyes. Solicit customer feedback through product reviews or surveys to find out what they want, and take steps to deliver it, perhaps at an initial sale price, to grab their interest and repeat business. They will appreciate your valuing their opinion and feedback.

Something as simple as a smile and a listening ear can make the difference in whether your employee scores a sale. Courtesy never goes out of style; shoppers of all generations appreciate a polite attitude and focused attention on their expressed needs and goals. When you make customer satisfaction a primary company goal, the return on investment can be significant and lasting.

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11 Ways to Boost Your Brand

Branding represents how your company is perceived by the public. For example, as a result of Subway’s branding campaigns, you might associate their restaurants with freshly made sandwiches. If you are not sure where to start, there are a few ways for you to boost your brand.

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1 – Research What People Are Saying

A good place to start is just to use Google. Open an incognito tab to filter out your cookies and then search for your brand. Try to insert a few keywords like “review” or “concerns.” Social media platforms provide another good approach. Search for your brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Then make adjustments to accommodate public perception.

2 – Outstrip Your Competitors

If Burger King were to release a new deal, you might see Wendy’s release a similar deal the next day. This can be practiced in virtually any competitive industry. Find out what customers are saying about your competitors, then make an effort to excel where they have weaknesses.

3 – An Emotional Appeal

Some companies will attempt to associate their product with family themes. This creates an emotive appeal. Find a creative way to use emotional advertisements.

4 – Consistency

New entrepreneurs sometimes make the mistake of changing their brand name. But imagine if McDonald’s changed their name to Burgers & Fries. Much of their branding effort would go to waste.

5 – Charity And Values

Of course, it might be in bad taste for a company to advertise how much they are donating. Instead, encourage your followers to donate to a charity. Choose something that is non-controversial, like a soup kitchen or starving children.

6 – Host A Podcast And Create A Blog

Your brand is partially defined by who you are. If you are a subject matter expert, you should find ways emphasize that to develop trust with your audience. Content creation through your blog and podcast will be an effective way to do that.

7 – Listen To Negative Reviews

It might be difficult because negative reviews are often relayed with a negative attitude. But consumers appreciate adaptability. If you show that you are willing to listen to what they have to say, they are more likely to buy from you.

8 – Effective, Consistent Use of Social Media

It is no secret that social media is central to branding. Research efficient ways to use Facebook.

9 – Corroboration

Other brands should know your name. Tag them in your posts or link to them in your blog. When they notice you, they might appreciate your insight and start mentioning you.

10 – Give Away Products

They do not have to be expensive. People appreciate anything that is free. Host a few giveaways on your social media accounts. That will put you in the spotlight and viewers will come to your page often in pursuit of free products.

11 – Be Patient

It takes time to develop trust and loyalty. Do not get discouraged if you are not seeing results right away.

Branding is just as important as product development. It will not matter if you have a great product that nobody knows about. Do research, and be patient and diligent.

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