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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.

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers ($19.99)

By Geoffrey A. Moore

This book, first published in 1991, was named by Inc. magazine as one of the “Top 10 marketing books of all time.” This third edition was updated by Moore and includes digital marketing strategies as well.

A major part of the book discusses what Moore calls “the four gears model for digital consumer adoption.” Each gear is designed to “drive a digital enterprise to scale.” The gears–acquire traffic, engage users, monetize the engagement and enlist the faithful–address the “new” technology market, which is now consumer-focused.

Crossing the Chasm is required reading in many entrepreneurship classes at colleges and universities (like Stanford and Harvard). Reading it will save you thousands of dollars in tuition.

Everyone’s a Critic: Winning Customers in a Review-Driven World ($27.95)

By Bill Tancer

More entrepreneurs than you’d think are burying their heads in the sand, ignoring review sites. But Bill Tancer, the bestselling author of Click: What We Do Online and Why it Matters, says that while the sites are far from perfect, business owners cannot no longer pretend they don’t exist. Tancer says, “The fact that a majority of your customers check reviews before they enter your site or door is proof that this channel has become too critical to you business for you to ignore it any longer.”

According to Tancer, “over 80 percent of consumers consult online reviews prior to making a purchase.” Tancer offers a lot of pragmatic advice, telling readers how to create a customized online review strategy and proving his point that “review engagement is directly related to increased sales.”

Tancer talked to a lot of businesses from a local barbershop to the Four Seasons Hotel to see how they navigate what he labels “today’s most valuable marketing medium.”

Sell Local, Think Global: 50 Innovative Ways to Make a Chunk of Change and Grow You Business ($15.99)

By Olga Mizrahi

This book is so easy to understand and implement. Olga Mizrahi says we’re in the midst of a “global evolution, in the form of new tools, methods, and online resources.” This can, she explains, “feel both exciting and overwhelming.”

Mizrahi, a small business consultant, takes complex topics and puts them into actionable form. Most of her tips are low-cost and you can do them yourselves, so you don’t have to spend money outsourcing the tasks.

Sell Local, Think Global is easy-to-read and filled with charts, graphs and illustrations.

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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.