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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.

Powered by Purpose: Identify Your Values, Discover You Purpose and Build Success for Life! ($17.95)

By Scott Deming

I love the point Scott Deming, a speaker, coach and consultant, is making in his latest book: that, chances are, you are focusing on policies and procedures at your small business, instead of values and purpose.

Inspired by the sudden death of his nearly 3-year-old granddaughter, Deming has set out to make every individual and business understand they must have a purpose which gives them the power to effect change. This doesn’t mean, Deming explains, that you shouldn’t strive to make profits, but rather that having a purpose will lead you to even greater success.

The book is filled with real-life examples, good advice and a 10-step plan to build a culture of purpose and value in your company. Well worth reading.

Disrupting Digital Business: Create an Authentic Experience in the Peer-to-Peer Economy ($28)

By R. “Ray” Wang

Why do businesses fail? R. Ray Wang, the CEO and chief analyst of Constellation Research, maintains it’s because they don’t “adapt, transform and keep pace with the demands of today’s Digital Age.”

Wang says the secret to survival is adapting to a digital mindset. Some of the things he urges you to do:

  • Use the power of digital to align your business model and your brand promise.
  • Eliminate middlemen and create P2P (people-to-people) networks.
  • Become trustworthy by being authentic and transparent.
  • Use big data to personalize your customers’ experiences.
  • Develop a culture of Digital DNA by prioritizing creating and maintaining a digital strategy.

Don’t worry that going digital is too difficult and overwhelming. Wang makes it easy to transform you business into a digital one.

Be Your Customer’s Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines ($17.95)

By Adam Toporek

The author, Adam Toporek, is a customer service consultant, and as such knows how hard it is to satisfy your customers—even the good ones. But, he maintains, doing that is not an impossible task—it’s as simple as “being there when the customer needs you.” That is what he defines as being your customer’s hero. It’s not about publicity stunts, he points out, but rather about making your (and your staff’s) interaction with your customers “as memorably positive as possible.”

There are a lot of chapters in this book, but they’re each only about three pages long. Toporek says he wants you to “hit each chapter hard and fast.” The brevity makes his tips very easy to absorb and put into action right away.

Having satisfied customers is every entrepreneur’s dream. Toporek’s guidebook will bring you closer to achieving that goal.


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.