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9 Must-Read Books for Bootstrap Business Owners

by | Jun 29, 2024

A mentor once told me, “If you want to know what someone knows, read what they have read.” Since then, I have been an avid reader, consumer, and processor of content. I keep a list of nine books that are my “if I get hit by a bus, read these so you can run my company” collection. It’s not easy for a book to be replaced, but from time to time, I will make an update. Recently, I replaced Fix This Next by Mike Michalowicz with Buy Back Your Time by Dan Martell.

Here are the nine books that currently make up my essential reading list:

Next to each book, I’ve indicated which of the essential five business processes the book is associated with; Leadership, Lead Generation, Lead Conversation, Money Management, and Project Management)

1. 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling (Leadership and Project Management)

This book focuses on achieving strategic goals through the principles of focus, leverage, engagement, and accountability. It provides a practical framework for turning big ideas into actionable steps and measurable results.

2. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz (Collecting and Managing Money)

In Profit First, Michalowicz introduces a cash management system that prioritizes profitability by allocating a portion of revenue to profit first, before paying expenses. This method ensures that profit becomes a habit rather than an afterthought.

3. The Conversion Code by Chris Smith (Lead Generation and Lead Conversion)

Chris Smith provides a step-by-step guide on capturing and converting online leads into sales through effective digital marketing strategies. This book is essential for anyone looking to improve their online sales funnel and close more deals.

4. Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters (Leadership)

Rocket Fuel explores the dynamic relationship between Visionaries and Integrators in a business. Understanding and leveraging this partnership can drive a company’s success by combining visionary ideas with disciplined execution.

5. Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz (Leadership and Project Management)

In Clockwork, Michalowicz offers a methodology for designing a business that runs efficiently without constant supervision. This allows business owners to focus on growth and spend their time on high-impact activities.

6. In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (Leadership)

Mark Batterson encourages readers to face their fears and seize opportunities, drawing inspiration from a biblical story. This book is about embracing challenges and turning them into stepping stones for success.

7. One Month to Live by Kerry and Chris Shook (Leadership)

This book challenges readers to live a life of purpose and urgency as if they had only 30 days left. It’s a powerful reminder to prioritize what truly matters and make every day count.

8. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller (Lead Generation and Lead Conversion)

Donald Miller teaches a seven-part framework for clarifying a business’s message and connecting with customers through compelling storytelling. This book is invaluable for anyone looking to refine their brand’s communication strategy.

9. Buy Back Your Time by Dan Martell (Leadership and Project Management)

Recently added to my list, Buy Back Your Time focuses on strategies for entrepreneurs to reclaim their time by delegating effectively and optimizing their workflows. It’s a game-changer for those looking to balance growth and personal well-being.

These books are more than just words on a page; they are the foundational principles and strategies that guide the operations and growth of my companies. For the most up-to-date list of my essential reading, please see the resource page on my website.

Reading these books will give you a deep understanding of the knowledge and insights that have shaped my approach to business. If you’re looking to run a successful company, start with these nine books—they are my blueprint for success.