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3 Books Small Business Owners Should Read

Rieva Lesonsky
books small busines 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.

Win the Customer: 70 Simple Rules for Sensational Service ($21.95)

By Flavio Martins

How do you make your business stand apart from all the rest? Customer loyalty specialist Flavio Martins says it’s all about “delivering exceptional customer service experiences.”

In this really helpful, easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement book Martins explains how you can put these “core customer-care principles into action” every day.

At the core of his philosophy: “Every single customer counts.” While he admits the customer is not always right, he reminds us, “The customer is always a customer.” Martins warns you may have to break traditional rules (isn’t that what entrepreneurship is all about?) and you need to stop overthinking customer service, explaining customers don’t expect “more” from you, they expect “better.”

Today business is customer-centric, making this book an essential guide to small business success in any industry.

Play at Work: How Games Inspire Breakthrough Thinking ($17)

By Adam L. Penenberg

Gamification has taken hold at many companies as they try to “apply game mechanics to make employees happier and more productive, create better products and improve existing ones, assist customer service and increase company profits,” writes author Adam Penenberg.

But how can you do that in your small business? Penenberg maintains that if you understand how successful games are designed, you can better apply the principles to gamifying your own business.

Play at Work takes you through the latest brain science, explains how leading-edge companies are using gamification, and shows you how you can apply these game-changing principles in your company.

Unleash Your Inner Company: Use Passion and Perseverance to Build Your Ideal Business ($28.95)

By John Chisholm

Do you want to start a business? Do you think you can successfully launch one? Serial entrepreneur and investor John Chisholm believes anyone who “deeply aspires” to is capable of starting a successful small business. In Unleash Your Inner Company, Chisholm shares his 10-step process that takes you through discovering, testing, selecting, launching and scaling the right business for you (with the emphasis on right business for you).

Chisholm says entrepreneurs aren’t “interchangeable,” so a business that might be perfect for your best friend or siblings is not necessarily the same one you’d succeed at. But there is a business out there that is a perfect fit for you—and you likely have the right internal resources (skills, knowledge, relationships, reputation and passion) to be a success at it.

Chisholm explores a lot in this book and tells you how to acquire or develop what you need to get started, how to choose the right cofounder, eight ways to build your self confidence, how (and when) to raise money—or how to start without getting funding–how to scale and a lot more.

The book is filled with charts and lists, making it easy to understand and start implementing.

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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.