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3 Books Small Business Owners Should Read

Rieva Lesonsky
books small business owners should read

There is so much small business owners need to know to operate at peak performance. Luckily we live in the Information Age with plentiful resources. To help you sift through some of the data, every week we’re going to look at three business books small business owners should read and the lessons you can learn from reading them.

Trend-Driven Innovation: Beat Accelerating Customer Expectations ($32)

By Henry Mason, David Mattin, Maxwell Luthy, Delia Dumitrescu, Alexander Osterwalder

No matter what business we’re in, it’s crucial to know where consumers in general and our customers in particular are headed. But that’s not usually so easy to find out. Trend-Driven Innovation is from the team at TrendWatching, one of my favorite trend websites.

The solution, say the authors, appears somewhat counterintuitive—instead of examining customer behavior, look at what insight you can draw from businesses, such as Apple, Uber and Patagonia. These are just some of the companies that have redefined customer expectations.

The book shows you how to spot emerging trends and turn them into innovations. The authors explore what they call the “expectation gap” and show how you can exploit that to find the hidden opportunities.

The book is laid out in an eye-catching and engaging way, making it very easy to absorb all the wisdom within.

Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way ($27)

By Joseph A. Michelli

Several years ago, despite its brand reputation as symbolizing one of the best, Mercedes Benz (MBUSA) discovered it was disappointing customers. So it launched a company-wide transformation to instill a “true customer obsession” in its employees and dealers.

Joseph Michelli, the author of this book, was one of the consultants the company called upon, and he details the MBUSA journey to “create a seismic culture shift.” Michelli believes, “Everything about how customers make decisions, and what they expect from the buying experience, has changed.”

Reading Driven to Delight will enable you to develop you own leadership vision and create actionable guidelines with which you can effect transformational change in your own small business. Michelli writes, “All businesses can learn from [MBUSA]—and I don’t just mean the steps they took, but the desire and determination to continue on the path until they reached their goal.”

Dealstorming: The Secret Weapon That Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges ($28)

By Tim Sanders

Today consumers having 24/7 access to information can make it harder to make a sale. In fact, a recent study from CEB and Google shows most customers have made about 60 percent of a purchasing decision before ever talking to a salesperson.

Author Tim Sanders, formerly an executive at Yahoo, coined a term to help businesses sell: dealstorming, a combination of deal making and brainstorming, two elements crucial to making a sale.

Sanders uses real-world examples from a diverse range of successful businesses and more than 200 interviews with global sales leaders to show you his 7-step problem-solving technique.

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.