The secret to helping your small business survive — and even thrive — through this pandemic might be under your nose, literally, in the pages of a book. Reading can educate, energize, and embolden us during hard times like these.
Beyond that, reading is a proven stress-buster.
A recent global survey by Kindle found that 71 percent of people who read weekly feel happier. Reading can also reduce your stress levels by up to 68 percent, according to research by the University of Sussex.
No doubt, reading can be a powerful way to build resilience, both professionally and personally. But with an estimated 2.2 million books published every year, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. So, we’ve done the homework for you.
Here are the best small business books that have stood the test of time (and security of critics), which are sure to help you and your company weather COVID-19:
1. Speak and Get Results by Sandy Linver
Whether it’s pitching your company or networking with potential clients, public speaking is at the heart of entrepreneurship. Some folks are naturals who can work any crowd. For the other 99.9 percent of us, there’s help.
This book offers a simple formula for motivating your listeners, and ultimately getting the results you want. Linver gives tips you can immediately put into action to improve your presence in front of a crowd, such as committing to posture and exercising before you take the stage.
Originally published in 1994, its popularity has endured largely because its framework can work in virtually any business situation. As you adapt to the new normal of running a business during a pandemic (zoom meetings anyone?), Linver provides tips that can be easily adapted to doing business — and making connections — in 2020.
2. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
With one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time, Sinek is no stranger to the art of good leadership. His book goes deeper into his executive theories and cracks the code on why some leaders are able to inspire more followers than others. After studying some of the world’s most influential leaders, the author found that strikingly, most think, act and communicate in the same ways.
That knowledge has been distilled down into a practical guide that can be used for building more innovative, profitable businesses. This will be a particularly relevant read for business owners who may still be fuzzy on their company mission, and want to crystalize it.
3. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
You don’t have to be an artist, maker, or entertainer to be considered ‘creative.’
Exercising creativity is key to the innovative ideas that help a business thrive. So how can business owners shift their thinking from numbers to novelty?
A famed artist and choreographer, Tharp may seem like an unlikely source for business strategy — yet she’s able to connect the dots by showing how creativity leads to better work. Small business owners have to think on their feet, especially these days. That ability to improvise is fueled by creativity, the author contents. Through 32 practical exercises, readers will learn how to clear mental clutter so they can focus on and execute their brightest ideas.
4. This is Marketing by Seth Godin
Consumers are ever-wary of gimmicks and pandering coming from brands. Written by a popular marketing guru, this book helps keep your marketing strategy from becoming a tone deaf meme.
Godin contends that effective marketing is not about being splashy or slick. It’s about figuring out how your product or service solves a customer problem, then doubling down on that. He then teaches readers how to find their target audience and build trust, an approach he says will outperform any trendy marketing tactics.
5. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
If you believe time really is money, this book will resonate. It pulls heavily from the author’s popular podcast, where he interviews some of the world’s most successful people, from biochemists to top athletes.
These interviews taught Ferriss that top performers manage their day with the same tools and tactics. He outlines those in his book, and explains how they can be easily translated to help you stay on top of your game, down to the minute.
Spoiler alert: you need to make your bed.
6. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
Don’t be mistaken by the title — this book has nothing to do with online business. It has everything to do with “the entrepreneurial myth.”
“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business — you have a job,” articulates Gerber. With that, he teaches readers how to build a business that is self-sustaining and doesn’t require them to live in the weeds.
As small business owners and entrepreneurs look to pivot during the pandemic, ensuring you have a business that works for you (instead of you working for it), is crucial to both happiness and success. From solo-preneurs to lean-team operations, this book will help. elevate your perspective on success.
Want more pandemic small business reads?
We've developed the free "5 Step Action Plan to Digitally Transform You Business During the Pandemic" to help your business digitally transform during COVID-19. Check out the free small business book we wrote to help you navigate the pandemic.
What other small business books do you recommend for surviving COVID-19? Tell us in the comments below.