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3 Books Small Business Owners Should Read

Rieva Lesonsky
books small business

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 and the lessons you can learn from reading them.

The Revenue Growth Habit: The Simple Art of Growing Your Business by 15% in 15 Minutes a Day ($25)

By Alex Goldfayn

This book is so full of “callouts,” such as chapter summaries, lists, charts and more, that you can’t help but learn a lot. The author, Alex Goldfayn, is the CEO of the Evangelist Marketing Institute and he offers 22 “growth techniques” that are “fast, simple and free.”

The key to success for all the actions, he maintains, is personal communication. Goldfayn says social media is not the answer—it won’t grow revenue, especially for B2B businesses. Neither, he believes, will being perfect. “Too much revenue,” he warns, “is lost to perfection and procrastination.”

Goldfayn says each of his techniques can be accomplished in no more than 15 minutes a day. Surely we can all spare a few minutes to learn and grow.

What You Really Need to Lead: The Power of Thinking and Acting Like an Owner ($27)

By Robert Steven Kaplan

Robert Steven Kaplan is the Senior Associate Dean and the Marin Marshall Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration at Harvard Business School. That’s a lot of words to say he really knows his stuff.

Kaplan takes on the argument that leaders are born, not made. Leadership qualities, he argues, are not something you either have or don’t. His contention that leadership is not about who you are, but rather about what you do, should give every aspiring leader hope.

Learning to lead, says Kaplan, involves three key elements:

  1. Thinking like an owner
  2. Willingness to act on your beliefs
  3. Relentless focus on adding value to others

In addition to offering real-life case studies and asking thought-provoking questions, Kaplan gives you detailed follow-up steps to further propel you into action.

The Wealthy Speaker 2.0: The Proven Formula for Building Your Successful Speaking Business ($25)

By Jane Atkinson

Author Jane Atkinson, is a coach who helps speakers scale their businesses. As a former speaker’s agent and former speaker’s bureau executive, Atkinson knows what it takes to get (and increase) your bookings.

In this updated edition of her book, Atkinson shares her “Business Model Umbrella” that helps you diversify your revenue streams, the secrets of subtle selling, and the best ways to position yourself in the market.

This book is filled with useful tips, tools and success stories that will inform and inspire you to get more out of public speaking.

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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.