How Much Do Small Business Owners Make? Read These Stats to Learn More

How Much Do Small Business Owners Make in 2018?

How much money do small business owners make? That’s a question that’s difficult to answer simply, since there are so many different types of businesses and industries that fit within that category. However, there are some recent statistics that can shed light on what types of salaries certain small business owners are likely to bring in.

How Much Do Small Business Owners Make These Days?

Payscale has found that the average salary for a CEO is $164,749 per year. However, that includes people who hold that role at large companies and those who came into that role without actually starting or owning the business themselves.

According to a recent study by Fundera, 86.3 percent of small business owners said they take a salary of less than $100,000 per year. In fact, 30.1 percent said they don’t pay themselves at all. Of those who do take a salary, most put their range within $20,000 to $50,000 per year.

When you break down earnings by industry, you can learn a bit more. For example, the median salary for a restaurant owner/operator is around $60,000. Retail store owners earn a median income of $51,270 per year. Those who run warehouses earn an average of $55,000 annually. And the median income for those who own construction businesses sits at $62,449 per year.

While some of those numbers were fairly modest, some other types of businesses tend to bring in significantly more. For example, manufacturing executives and executives of holding companies earn an average of around $250,000 per year.

Ten years ago, those figures looked a bit different. Some were significantly lower. For example, the average firm in accommodations and food services earned $37,992 in income, according to the IRS Statistics of Income in 2007. But others have dropped since then, including retail firms, which earned an average of $63,194 back in 2007.

Some of the most profitable types of businesses weren’t even around, or at least weren’t as prominent, at that time. According to Fundera, mobile businesses, sharing economy business and online education businesses are among the most profitable today.

So essentially, the exact salary of a small business owner varies greatly depending on the industry, time in business, and the individual. While many choose not to take a salary at all, at least at first, others earn well into the six figure range. If a high salary is important to you when starting a business, then it might be best to choose scalable businesses like tech or manufacturing firms, rather than Main Street businesses like restaurants and retail shops.

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This article, "How Much Do Small Business Owners Make? Read These Stats to Learn More" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How Much Do Small Business Owners Make? Read These Stats to Learn More

How Much Do Small Business Owners Make in 2018?

How much money do small business owners make? That’s a question that’s difficult to answer simply, since there are so many different types of businesses and industries that fit within that category. However, there are some recent statistics that can shed light on what types of salaries certain small business owners are likely to bring in.

How Much Do Small Business Owners Make These Days?

Payscale has found that the average salary for a CEO is $164,749 per year. However, that includes people who hold that role at large companies and those who came into that role without actually starting or owning the business themselves.

According to a recent study by Fundera, 86.3 percent of small business owners said they take a salary of less than $100,000 per year. In fact, 30.1 percent said they don’t pay themselves at all. Of those who do take a salary, most put their range within $20,000 to $50,000 per year.

When you break down earnings by industry, you can learn a bit more. For example, the median salary for a restaurant owner/operator is around $60,000. Retail store owners earn a median income of $51,270 per year. Those who run warehouses earn an average of $55,000 annually. And the median income for those who own construction businesses sits at $62,449 per year.

While some of those numbers were fairly modest, some other types of businesses tend to bring in significantly more. For example, manufacturing executives and executives of holding companies earn an average of around $250,000 per year.

Ten years ago, those figures looked a bit different. Some were significantly lower. For example, the average firm in accommodations and food services earned $37,992 in income, according to the IRS Statistics of Income in 2007. But others have dropped since then, including retail firms, which earned an average of $63,194 back in 2007.

Some of the most profitable types of businesses weren’t even around, or at least weren’t as prominent, at that time. According to Fundera, mobile businesses, sharing economy business and online education businesses are among the most profitable today.

So essentially, the exact salary of a small business owner varies greatly depending on the industry, time in business, and the individual. While many choose not to take a salary at all, at least at first, others earn well into the six figure range. If a high salary is important to you when starting a business, then it might be best to choose scalable businesses like tech or manufacturing firms, rather than Main Street businesses like restaurants and retail shops.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How Much Do Small Business Owners Make? Read These Stats to Learn More" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Unriddled: Apple's Latest MacBook, Another Facebook Data Loophole, and More Tech News You Need

Welcome one, welcome all to another Wednesday: the day that marks the halfway point -- almost -- to the weekend.

As we find ourselves halfway through July and grasping tightly to the weeks of summer that remain, we know you don't have a ton of time to devour news. So, in keeping with tradition -- we'll keep this week's "Unriddled" quick.

It's our Wednesday tech news roundup, and we're breaking it down.

Unriddled: The Tech News You Need

1. Apple Releases a New Macbook Pro

Apple announced last week the latest release in its MacBook Pro lineup, calling it "the most advanced Mac notebook ever." Among its news features, the company says, are faster computing, an improved Retina display, and the ability to prompt Apple's voice assistant with verbal "Hey Siri" commands -- and, according to some early users, a quieter keyboard. But there may be more beneath that (hushed) surface, with rumors floating that the subdued typing volume is actually a way of masking the manufacturer's known keyboard reliability issues. Dieter Bohn of The Verge shares more first impressions. Read full story >>

2. Facebook Privacy Loophole Discovered in "Closed" Groups

CNBC reported last week that Facebook has closed a loophole that allowed the identities of members of closed, private groups on the platform to be scraped with the use of a Chrome browser plug-in. The issue was discovered when the moderator of a closed group came upon the Grouply.io browser extension, which allows third parties (like marketers) to harvest private member information like names, employers, and locations, among others. A Facebook spokesperson told CNBC that the extension has been shut down. Read full story >>

3. Uber Steps Up Its Background Checks

Uber is reinforcing its efforts around safety, telling Axios that it will now conduct ongoing background checks on drivers, rather than performing them on a one-time occasion. Partnering with background check provider Checkr and safety data company Appriss, this move is the latest of Uber's efforts, largely under CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, to improve the company's reputation, especially when it comes to rider safety. The announcement of these efforts was shortly followed by reports that the company is under investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for gender inequity. Read full story >>

4. The Tech Giants Go to Washington (Again)

Policy representatives from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in a hearing on social media filtering practices -- the second one to take place this year. All three were facing allegations that they filter or suppress conservative content -- but little of that particular topic was actually discussed during the hearing. Tony Romm of The Washington Post has more. Read full story >>

5. Twitter Follower Counts Drop

Following the previous week's report that Twitter has been conducting sweeping account suspensions, the company announced last week that it would delete locked accounts from total user follower counts, causing many of them to drop. Read full story >>

6. The Genius Marketing of HQ Trivia

In the world of tech, it's hard to go too long without hearing a reference to the HQ Trivia app. But what's all the hype about -- and what can we learn from its success? Read full story >>

That’s all for today. Until next week, feel free to weigh in on Twitter to ask us your tech news questions, or to let us know what kind of events and topics you'd like us to cover.



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How to Get Your Business Partner Motivated Today

how to motivate your business partner

If you own a business and have a partner it can make managing that business easier. For one thing, it gives you someone who will share the responsibilities, burdens, and triumphs with you. But it can also create other obstacles and problems to work through.

For instance, you may be highly motivated and your partner more relaxed. Such different approaches in work styles can drive you crazy if you let it. But in such situations, there are things to help you motivate a business partner instead.

How to Motivate Your Business Partner

1. Form a Mission Statement

As you first open your business you should form a mission statement. It’s a great way to motivate a business partner as well as yourself. But even if your business has been around awhile, you can still create one.

Mission statements provide others with a short sentence or two stating the reason for your business. It will tell what the company is about as well as why it does what it does.

But the deeper meaning behind a mission statement is that it guides you. Sometimes it even reminds you of why you sacrifice and work so hard to keep your business going.

After developing a mission statement together, you and your partner should look at it as you start each day. Both you and your partner may get just the motivation needed to stay on track.

2. Set Goals Together

In addition to forming a mission statement, you should also set business goals together. While your mission statement tells the what and why, goals are the how.

As you set goals together, create short term goals as well as medium and long term goals. This makes prioritizing them easier, but also helps to keep your eyes on the future.

Kind of like a “To do” list, goals help you motivate yourself as well as a partner. They give you a reason to be excited about going to work each day.

3. Divide Duties

Once you have business goals set you can divide up the duties in order to reach them. As you decide who will do what, play to each other’s strengths. This will make each of you more productive and efficient as you work and save your business time and money.

Try to include some tasks for each of you that you are passionate about. This will help to motivate a business partner who may normally be a little less driven than you.

4. Plan a New Project Together

Sometimes businesses that have been humming along for a while need to take it up a notch to succeed. After all, with new internet businesses popping up all the time, competition is fiercer than ever.

Therefore, offering something new to your customers can increase business profits and stimulate growth. To do that, approach your business partner about planning a new project together. It just may motivate everyone involved in the planning, including your business partner.

5. Request Their Help

When you want to be a motivator, sometimes all you have to do is ask for help. As an example, compliment one of your business partner’s strengths. Then, use that strength to get their help with business tasks that are not yet done.

Let’s say your business partner is detail oriented. Complement them on their organizational skills and then ask them to help you set up a social media campaign.

Running a business takes a lot of hard work but having a partner can help. These tips can help you motivate a business partner to get more done and make your business a great success.

Image via Due.com

This article, "How to Get Your Business Partner Motivated Today" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How to Get Your Business Partner Motivated Today

how to motivate your business partner

If you own a business and have a partner it can make managing that business easier. For one thing, it gives you someone who will share the responsibilities, burdens, and triumphs with you. But it can also create other obstacles and problems to work through.

For instance, you may be highly motivated and your partner more relaxed. Such different approaches in work styles can drive you crazy if you let it. But in such situations, there are things to help you motivate a business partner instead.

How to Motivate Your Business Partner

1. Form a Mission Statement

As you first open your business you should form a mission statement. It’s a great way to motivate a business partner as well as yourself. But even if your business has been around awhile, you can still create one.

Mission statements provide others with a short sentence or two stating the reason for your business. It will tell what the company is about as well as why it does what it does.

But the deeper meaning behind a mission statement is that it guides you. Sometimes it even reminds you of why you sacrifice and work so hard to keep your business going.

After developing a mission statement together, you and your partner should look at it as you start each day. Both you and your partner may get just the motivation needed to stay on track.

2. Set Goals Together

In addition to forming a mission statement, you should also set business goals together. While your mission statement tells the what and why, goals are the how.

As you set goals together, create short term goals as well as medium and long term goals. This makes prioritizing them easier, but also helps to keep your eyes on the future.

Kind of like a “To do” list, goals help you motivate yourself as well as a partner. They give you a reason to be excited about going to work each day.

3. Divide Duties

Once you have business goals set you can divide up the duties in order to reach them. As you decide who will do what, play to each other’s strengths. This will make each of you more productive and efficient as you work and save your business time and money.

Try to include some tasks for each of you that you are passionate about. This will help to motivate a business partner who may normally be a little less driven than you.

4. Plan a New Project Together

Sometimes businesses that have been humming along for a while need to take it up a notch to succeed. After all, with new internet businesses popping up all the time, competition is fiercer than ever.

Therefore, offering something new to your customers can increase business profits and stimulate growth. To do that, approach your business partner about planning a new project together. It just may motivate everyone involved in the planning, including your business partner.

5. Request Their Help

When you want to be a motivator, sometimes all you have to do is ask for help. As an example, compliment one of your business partner’s strengths. Then, use that strength to get their help with business tasks that are not yet done.

Let’s say your business partner is detail oriented. Complement them on their organizational skills and then ask them to help you set up a social media campaign.

Running a business takes a lot of hard work but having a partner can help. These tips can help you motivate a business partner to get more done and make your business a great success.

Image via Due.com

This article, "How to Get Your Business Partner Motivated Today" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Rational Decision Making: The 7-Step Process for Making Logical Decisions

Psychology tells us that emotions drive our behavior, while logic only justifies our actions after the fact. Marketing confirms this theory. Humans associate the same personality traits with brands as they do with people -- choosing your favorite brand is like choosing your best friend or significant other. We go with the option that makes us feel something.

But emotions can cloud your reasoning, especially when you need to do something that could cause internal pain, like giving constructive criticism, or when you need to move on from something you’re attached to, like scrapping a favorite topic from your team's content mix.

There’s a way to suppress this emotional bias, though. It’s a thought process that’s completely objective and data-driven. It's called the rational decision making model, and it will help you make logically sound decisions even in situations with major ramifications, like pivoting your entire blogging strategy.

Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your productivity at work.

But before we learn each step of this powerful process, let’s go over what exactly rational decision making is and why it’s important.

Rational decision making is an important skill to possess, especially in the digital marketing industry. Humans are inherently emotional, so our biases and beliefs can blur our perception of reality. Fortunately, data sharpens our view. By showing us how our audience actually interacts with our brand, data liberates us from relying on our assumptions to determine what our audience likes about us.

Rational Decision Making Model: 7 Easy Steps with an Example

1. Verify and define your problem.

To prove that you actually have a problem, you need evidence for it. Most marketers think data is the silver bullet that can diagnose any issue in our strategy, but you actually need to extract insights from your data to prove anything. If you don’t, you’re just looking at a bunch of numbers packed into a spreadsheet.

To pinpoint your specific problem, collect as much data from your area of need and analyze it to find any alarming patterns or trends.

Example:

“After analyzing our blog traffic report, we now know why our traffic has plateaued for the past year -- our organic traffic increases slightly month over month but our email and social traffic decrease.”

2. Research and brainstorm possible solutions for your problem.

Expanding your pool of potential solutions boosts your chances of solving your problem. To find as many potential solutions as possible, you should gather plenty of information about your problem from your own knowledge and the internet. You can also brainstorm with others to uncover more possible solutions.

Example:

Potential Solution 1: “We could focus on growing organic, email, and social traffic all at the same time."

Potential Solution 2: “We could focus on growing email and social traffic at the same time -- organic traffic already increases month over month while traffic from email and social decrease.”

Potential Solution 3: "We could solely focus on growing social traffic -- growing social traffic is easier than growing email and organic traffic at the same time. We also have 2 million followers on Facebook, so we could push our posts to a ton of readers."

Potential Solution 4: "We could solely focus on growing email traffic -- growing email traffic is easier than growing social and organic traffic at the same time. We also have 250,000 blog subscribers, so we could push our posts to a ton of readers."

Potential Solution 5: "We could solely focus on growing organic traffic -- growing organic traffic is easier than growing social and email traffic at the same time. We also just implemented a pillar-cluster model to boost our domain’s authority, so we could attract a ton of readers from Google."

3. Set standards of success and failure for your potential solutions.

Setting a threshold to measure your solutions' success and failure lets you determine which ones can actually solve your problem. Your standard of success shouldn’t be too high, though. You’d never be able to find a solution. But if your standards are realistic, quantifiable, and focused, you’ll be able to find one.

Example:

“If one of our solutions increases our total traffic by 10%, we should consider it a practical way to overcome our traffic plateau.”

4. Flesh out the potential results of each solution.

Next, you should determine each of your solutions’ consequences. To do so, create a strength and weaknesses table for each alternative and compare them to each other. You should also prioritize your solutions in a list from best chance to solve the problem to worst chance.

Example:

Potential Result 1: ‘Growing organic, email, and social traffic at the same time could pay a lot of dividends, but our team doesn’t have enough time or resources to optimize all three channels.”

Potential Result 2: “Growing email and social traffic at the same time would marginally increase overall traffic -- both channels only account for 20% of our total traffic."

Potential Result 3: “Growing social traffic by posting a blog post everyday on Facebook is challenging because the platform doesn’t elevate links in the news feed and the channel only accounts for 5% of our blog traffic. Focusing solely on social would produce minimal results.”

Potential Result 4: “Growing email traffic by sending two emails per day to our blog subscribers is challenging because we already send one email to subscribers everyday and the channel only accounts for 15% of our blog traffic. Focusing on email would produce minimal results.”

Potential Result 5: “Growing organic traffic by targeting high search volume keywords for all of our new posts is the easiest way to grow our blog’s overall traffic. We have a high domain authority, Google refers 80% of our total traffic, and we just implemented a pillar-cluster model. Focusing on organic would produce the most results.”

5. Choose the best solution and test it.

Based on the evaluation of your potential solutions, choose the best one and test it. You can start monitoring your preliminary results during this stage too.

Example:

“Focusing on organic traffic seems to be the most effective and realistic play for us. Let’s test an organic-only strategy where we only create new content that has current or potential search volume and fits into our pillar cluster model.”

6. Track and analyze the results of your test.

Track and analyze your results to see if your solution actually solved your problem.

Example:

“After a month of testing, our blog traffic has increased by 14% and our organic traffic has increased by 21%.”

7. If the test solves your problem, implement the solution. If not, test a new one.

If your potential solution passed your test and solved your problem, then it’s the most rational decision you can make. You should implement it to completely solve your current problem or any other related problems in the future. If the solution didn’t solve your problem, then test another potential solution that you came up with.

Example:

“The results from solely focusing on organic surpassed our threshold of success. From now on, we’re pivoting to an organic-only strategy, where we’ll only create new blog content that has current or future search volume and fits into our pillar cluster model.”

As humans, it’s natural for our emotions to hijack your decision making process. And that’s okay. Sometimes, emotional decisions are better than logical ones. But when you really need to prioritize logic over emotion, arming your mind with the rational decision making model can help you suppress your emotion bias and be as objective as possible.

Productivity Guide



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The Ultimate Guide to Marketing and Business Books

My parents, teachers, and coaches all instilled in me the importance of reading. Fiction or non-fiction, self-improvement or fantasy, reading supposedly makes us all smarter ... right?

Reading promotes creativity, gives us refuge from the “real” world, provides us with knowledge about any topic we want to know more about, makes us better writers, and inspires us. 

It just so happens that some of the most powerful business magnates in the world are also avid readers.

Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates are all self-proclaimed bookworms who attribute their success to reading.

Even billionaire Warren Buffett is said to read about 500 pages per day.

If some of the most successful people in the world credit their success to something as simple as reading, then why wouldn’t you give it a try?

Whether or not you aspire to become a billionaire, there are thousands of business and marketing books to help propel you towards your career goals. These books may just provide you with the inspiration you need to make your next — big or small — career move.

Business Classics and Fundamentals

These books provide an overview of broad business topics and give context for the way business is done today.

Business Adventures by John Brooks

business-adventures

Businesses need the right people on their team to successfully plan, implement, and carry out short- and long-term goals. The way team members and leaders react in both times of success and hardship will make or break their companies. 

Circling back to the influential billionaires I mentioned above, Bill Gates calls Business Adventures — which was a gift from Warren Buffet — one of the best business books he has ever read. 

The book tells the crisis and triumph of several prominent companies, including Ford Motor Company’s Edsel disaster, the rise of Xerox, and the GE and Texas Gulf Sulphur scandals. Brooks also details the stock market crash in 1962 and the chaos that ensued on Wall Street. 

Business Adventures is a must-read for anyone who is currently running, or aspires to run, a resilient business.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

radical-candor

If you’re looking for a lighter read that provides applicable information on how to be a successful boss and colleague, then this New York Times Bestseller is for you. Scott uses her own experiences at Google, Apple, and other tech companies to provide examples of how to be a respected leader and encourage others to do their best work. 

Radical Candor shows readers how to build strong relationships in a work environment, create a culture of feedback, shape a connected team, and achieve goals everyone can be excited about. Scott is engaging, humorous, and provides readers with entertaining illustrations throughout the book. 

Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart

den-of-thieves

Ever hear that saying, “Money and power corrupt”? That’s what happened in the 1980’s when a group of elite Wall Street financiers were involved in one of the biggest insider-trading scandals in history. Stewart recounts the damage done and the punishments the criminals received after nearly destroying Wall Street. 

This book is a great option if you’re looking to read something informational but with some added drama and excitement. Den of Thieves is not a typical “how to” business narrative about ways to stay in control of your finances. It’s a real story about the dangers of greed and arrogance in business.

Pivot by Jenny Blake

pivot-book

Today, our careers are longer and a lot less predictable than they once were. Most people realize they won’t be doing the exact same type of work throughout their career. Additionally, many companies strive to help their employees find their career path even if it leads them elsewhere. 

Blake’s book helps readers arrive at the answer to the often complicated question, “What’s next in my career?” She describes her own career “pivot” and explains the importance of being adaptable, flexible, and patient when moving into a new role or company. Whether or not you know exactly what you want to do in the future, Pivot will teach you how to be smart about your next move.

Check out this blog to learn about another classic business read.

Management

CEOs, directors, managers, and even employees just beginning their careers can use these books to learn how to become strong and respected leaders in the workplace. 

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen

the-innovator's-dilemma

Christensen drives his point home about the importance of strong leadership by citing some of the most successful CEOs and managers in history — such as Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs. He argues that no matter what resources a company has, chances are it’s going to be hard to achieve business goals without the right people leading.

The Innovator’s Dilemma brings to light the issues that come with ever-changing technology and the impact it has on the leaders who cannot accept or keep up with these developments. 

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader by Herminia Ibarra

act-like-a-leader-think-like-a-leader

Successful CEOs, directors, managers, and leaders aspire to be respected, liked, and impactful among other things. The issue is finding the balance between being a skillful leader that supports colleagues and employees and being able to complete their day-to-day work.

Ibarra draws on her own experience and explains how managers of all levels can make small changes to become successful, adaptable leaders. Most importantly, she teaches the reader to “think before you act.” This will allow you to create what she calls “outsight,” which is perspective gained from our own experiences. Ibarra will help you become a stronger leader through self-assessment and by creating a plan of action to learn through doing.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't by Jim Collins

good-to-great

There are plenty of companies out there that are considered successful. They may have good investors, a solid group of promoters who love their brand and make enough money to sustain their existence. But what about the companies that are really killing it? Raking in the cash and growing exponentially in all forms? How did they get to where they are? How did they go from good to great?

This is the question that kept Jim Collins up at night. So he created an experiment — that lasted five years — to find out the common characteristics of 28 successful companies that made that leap from good to great. 

I won’t tell you his exact findings … that’s for you to find out on your own. But I will share something Collin’s said at the end of his experiment: “The key concepts discerned in the study fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.” 

The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate by Fran Hauser

the-myth-of-the-nice-girl

OK, ladies — this one's for you. 

Hauser realized two things prior to writing this book: 1. There are few books available for women in business that detail the badass accomplishments other women are making on a daily basis, especially in positions that are stereotypically male-driven, and 2. There is a lot of misguided information about professional women that says, “if you want to be a female powerhouse in business, you have to be mean.” 

Enter: Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada.

devil-wears-prada-gif

And if you’re not mean, you must be a weak pushover … right? Not anymore!

Hauser teaches women that they don’t need to sacrifice their values, hide their real personalities, or be mean to become an impactful leader. She refers to her own experiences working in high-level leadership positions at major companies — such as Coca-Cola, Time Inc., and Moviefone — to explain these points.

The book gives readers real examples of Hauser and other successful businesswomen using kindness and authenticity to achieve greatness. Intelligent, driven, professional women of all ages will find this book refreshing and uplifting.

Finance and Investing

Managing your money doesn’t have to be scary or difficult. There are thousands of books that can help you learn to make better financial decisions no matter where you are in your career or financial journey. Here are a few to get you started.

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel by Benjamin Graham

the-intelligent-investor

The Intelligent Investor, also known as the “stock market bible,” is considered a classic in the finance and investing field. It was published in 1949 and original copies can be found on used book sites for upwards of $1,500 a piece.

If you’ve heard of a technique called “value investing,” then you already know something about Graham’s book. The strategy encourages investors to create long-term plans to shelter them from significant error or damage.

The book has been updated since its original date of publication to keep it relevant for those picking up their first copy in the 21st century. Now, there is plenty of information on today’s markets that readers can mix with Graham’s classic lessons to stay on top of their finances and better understand the market.

Live It, Love It, Earn It: A Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom by Marianna Olszewski

live-it-love-it-earn-it

Olszewski makes lessons about personal finance more interesting and fun by describing her own journey to financial security. Although this book is tailored towards the female reader, men and women can both learn something from savvy strategies that she and other powerful women mention — including designer Diane Von Furstenberg and Congressman Marsha Blackburn — used to reach financial success.

There are three main goals mentioned throughout the book for readers to focus on: 1. Say yes to yourself. 2. Fall in love with your money. 3. Act as if. This is a light read that gives readers applicable advice on how to achieve financial independence paired with relatable experiences to help them through the process.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

thinking-fast-and-slow

An international bestseller and the winner of more than five notable awards, Thinking Fast and Slow takes a hard look at two ways that humans think, which he calls systems. According to the author, system 1 is “fast, emotional, and intuitive.” System 2 is a bit slower, more deliberate, and logical. By understanding these systems, Kahneman tells readers about the ways we can take information and use it to shape our personal and work-related decisions. 

There are certain aspects of the two systems that should be focused on or avoided based on the environment and situation. Thinking Fast and Slow takes you through practical techniques that will help you uncover best practices in all situations.

Afterall, how are we supposed to successfully lead and help the people around us if we cannot first understand ourselves and the way we think?

Creativity

Everyone has a level of creativity — it’s just a matter of learning how to harness and apply yours. These books will teach you how to unlock and leverage your creativity in all aspects of your life.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

originals-book

Grant’s book is all about taking the road less traveled. How can you improve the world around you and become the most successful version of yourself by going against the grain and trying something new? He also asks the question: “Can you really create and implement new ideas and policies regularly without risking your career, reputation, and more?”

Grant’s answer is “yes.”

His ideas about how to take a new idea, find people to support you, and implement your plan in a successful way are all backed by studies, experiments, and real stories. He even tells parents and teachers how they can work with children on ways to apply this method.

Originals reminds us all that being “different” can be scary at times, but pushing the status quo can also be what propels us towards our greatest successes. 

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

imagine-how-creativity-works

When I was applying to jobs out of school, I noticed how many descriptions said something along the lines of “creative-thinker required,” or “must be able to think outside of the box.” But these were such arbitrary ideas. And frankly, “think outside of the box” is such a cliché term without real meaning.

Author John Leher helps the reader define creativity. He asks deeper level, thought-provoking questions about how both imagination and epiphanies are measured. The book provides readers with ideas about how to apply creative strategy to any task.

My favorite point the book makes is that everyone possesses creativity. It’s a way of thinking, not a gene we are born with, or even a skill that we acquire. Some of us just need help uncovering and applying our creativity, which is exactly what Imagine will help you accomplish.

The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World by Nilofer Merchant

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Merchant tells readers to stop making excuses about not being able to make a mark on the world. Yes, there is a seat at the table for you.

Thanks to innovation and technology, we all have the ability to mobilize new ideas almost instantly. The issue is that plenty of people push those thoughts to the side, or convince themselves that they are incapable of being successful at them.

The Power of Onlyness explains why this is a false notion and gives readers information on how to get their ideas rolling. Anyone can make a difference. The question is whether or not you’re willing to take that first step toward achieving your goal.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

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Remember when Kylie Jenner decided she was no longer a fan of Snapchat? This information spread like wildfire, and Snapchat’s stock lost over $1 billion in one day? All because Kylie’s fans care about her opinion oh so much.

 That’s the tipping point — when a trend, idea, or behavior builds to a certain point until it essentially “tips” or causes a big change. 

Businesses need to account for this phenomenon by buffering their sales and marketing tactics to avoid major disruption. Gladwell gives readers tactical ideas on how to buffer their businesses to avoid hitting a detrimental tipping point.

Biographies and Memoirs

Sometimes we just need a little bit of inspiration. These biographies and memoirs recount the lives of some of the most successful businessmen and women and how they reached their greatest achievements.

Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion by Lisa Price

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Price’s rags to riches memoir is an inspiring tale of a woman who was nearly bankrupt, took a leap of faith by starting her own business, and began grossing more than $2 million per year. 

As a child, Lisa loved fragrances and beauty products. When she hit her all-time low and only had $100 to her name, she realized that her love for these products could be her way out of debt. She created her own line of all-natural bath and beauty products that ultimately made her successful. But, more importantly, Price was successful because she loved what she was doing and was good at it. 

This is an inspiring and uplifting story about a woman who took action and changed her life forever — all from her home in Brooklyn. In her memoir, Price tells readers how difficult times do not define us, but rather it’s how we handle those times.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

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Nike is an internationally recognized brand, but would you recognize Nike’s founder, Phil Knight, if he was walking down the street? 

He’s known as a shy man who isn’t necessarily a fan of the spotlight. The level of mystery behind the creator of the brand may be the reason Knight’s memoir became a New York Times Bestseller so quickly. 

The book details Knight’s beginnings as an entrepreneur when he set out with only $50 to try and import inexpensive, high-quality running shoes from Japan. He sold the shoes out of the trunk of his car while trying to kickstart his brand.

The book reminds readers of the ups and downs that come with starting and growing a business. There are people who will doubt you and try to sabotage you, and there are roadblocks that will make you wonder if it’s even worth trying to grow your company. But there are also times of triumph when you overcome your competitors and see the fruits of your labor. Knight’s memoir shows readers why it’s worth pushing through the tough, dark times to reach success.

Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran

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If you’re a fan of the show Shark Tank, then you’ll know exactly who this next memoir is about. Corcoran tells her story of how she made it big. And it definitely wasn’t a walk in the park for this investor. She describes failing at 22 different jobs — yes, you read that number right.

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When she found herself waitressing, she decided something needed to change. Corcoran borrowed $1,000 from her boyfriend and started a small real estate office in New York. She tells readers about the ways she built this tiny office into a $6 billion business using the lessons her mom taught her while growing up (moms really do know everything don’t they?).

Corcoran built her business from nothing, and now she’s a“shark” on a hit show. She wrote this book to highlight that anyone can have a success story.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

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Walter Isaacson uncovered the truth behind the man who created one of the biggest brands in history: Apple. In a series of over 40 interviews — which took place over the course of two years — Isaacson wrote the story of what made Jobs such a force for change. 

Jobs had no control over what was written in the book and was not able to read it before it was published, which ensured that the information is accurate and raw. Isaacson also interviewed Jobs’ family members, friends, competitors, adversaries, coworkers, and acquaintances.

Jobs' exceptionally strong personality, often unpleasant leadership style, and intense way of life shines through in Isaacson’s writing. Readers get a microscopic view into his day-to-day and thought processes. The book also has little-known stories about this entrepreneur who transformed computers, laptops, phones, and so many other devices into what we know them as today.

Entrepreneurship

Have you always dreamed of starting your own company? There are countless books available to those who aspire to own their own businesses, as well as some for those who already do.

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

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Everywhere you turn, a new startup is popping up on the market. People all over the world are finding investors and starting their dream companies. Unfortunately, not all of them succeed. In fact, plenty of startups simply fail.

Ries takes a look at why so many startups fail and how a lot of these failures are preventable. The Lean Startup offers a new approach to the way startups are built and launched to avoid failure.

The approach gives startups a way to test their vision and business plan continuously throughout the building process, adapt it to the feedback they are getting from real customers, and then adjust it before they reach the point of failure. This is a great book for anyone who has recently started a new business or has plans to start a business. The Lean Startup is a simple yet disruptive approach that will increase any new company’s chances of success.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

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Have you ever noticed that the most successful people in life are often the ones that work hard, persist, and are also extremely passionate about what they do? Well, that winning combination is what New York Times bestselling author and psychologist Angela Duckworth calls “grit.”

Duckworth is a firm believer that anyone striving to succeed, no matter their age or professional status, needs a blend of long-term persistence and passion — not talent. She adds her own personal story to the book and mentions what it was like growing up with her father, a scientist, who often mentioned her “lack of genius.” Duckworth adds to the intrigue of the book by taking readers into the world of cadets working through their first days at West Point, teachers in some of the toughest schools in the country, and other inspirational anecdotes.

Duckworth gives readers insight on how to be persistent and find what they are most passionate about. And she shows readers that no matter who they are or where they come from, anyone can have grit. 

Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life's Riches by Steve Harvey

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Thanks to my brother, I have watched a lot of Family Feud. Although the game show is a bit goofy at times, I often find myself laughing at the comments made by the larger-than-life personality of host Steve Harvey. His outgoing, happy, and playful demeanor makes the show. But who is Steve Harvey? TV personality, millionaire, comedian? How did he become a household name? 

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Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success is a book for aspiring entrepreneurs. It gives readers insight into how anyone can achieve financial freedom and happiness. Harvey truly believes everyone has a gift given to them at birth and that we all just need to find ours.

The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage by Daymond John

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And here’s another one for my fellow Shark Tank fans. John is one of the show’s hosts and the CEO of FUBU. He’s another entrepreneur who started with little money and successfully turned his company into a billion-dollar business. 

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The Power of Broke takes readers through the story of John selling and promoting home-sewn shirts on the streets in Queens all on a $40 budget.

John draws on his own experience and the experience of other highly successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses with nothing. He explains why the best time to start your next venture may actually be when you have the fewest resources available — you’ll be forced to learn "the power of broke” quickly as success is your only option. 

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

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Author and podcast producer Tim Ferriss is known for his extremely in-depth, two-to-three hour interviews. During these interviews, he dives deep into the minds of some of the world’s most successful business people, scientists, doctors, athletes, celebrities, and others.

Tools of Titans describes the best tactics, lessons, and tools that Ferriss learned from his interview subjects over the years. Ferriss says he has applied every tactic and method mentioned in the book to his own life to see what works for him — and what doesn’t.

Some of the questions Ferriss asks during his interviews include: What do you do in the first hour you’re awake in the morning? What is your workout routine and why? What books do you share with others? What supplements do you take daily?

Interviewing some of the world’s smartest and most talented people has provided Ferriss with life-changing information that he shares in this book to try and help improve others’ lives as well. 

Marketing

In a time where technology is ever-changing, marketers need to find new ways to target customers. These books provide marketers with a guide to some of the most classic tactics that are still relevant, as well as innovative ways to reach your target audience. 

Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith

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Selling the Invisible a is straightforward, fluff-free marketing book that covers the specific tactics that help businesses to turn a prospect into a customer. The book describes how service marketing works to retain customers and turn them into promoters of a brand. The key lessons are: How to remain succinct and accessible to customers, how to keep an eye on the prize, and how to stay focused on the final goal of the customer.

Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

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*Insert clap for HubSpot’s talented co-founders here.*

As technology has changed over the years, so has the best way to market to customers. People have little tolerance for interruptive ads. Instead, you need to attract your target audience through helpful content that adds value to the relationship and builds trust.

Detailing the core tenets of the inbound marketing methodology, Halligan and Shah show you how to attract, engage, and delight your customers to increase engagement and grow your customer base. The book outlines important tactics, such as lead nurturing, blogging, email marketing, and others, and shows you exactly what you need to do to build a successful marketing strategy that turns strangers into promoters. 

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

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To succeed as a business, you must eliminate your competitors. You also need a new idea that nobody has — something that really separates you from other brands. In other words, you need clear waters … a blue ocean.

This is exactly what the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy argue. Lasting success for a company means customers aren’t confusing your business with your competitors’ who have similar products and structures to your own. Your goal is to avoid being in the “shark-infested, bloody waters” and instead find your own calm and quiet blue ocean.

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Kim and Mauborgne give readers tips on how to find new market space and make competitors insignificant.

Conclusion

Reading about other’s successes and failures will help you follow their example and avoid their mistakes. These books — and so many more — have the potential to help you advance your career, find your passion, and stay motivated. 

Just because you graduated from college, think you landed your dream job, or even retired doesn’t mean you should stop learning. So, log onto Amazon, hit up your local Barnes and Noble, or turn on that Kindle to find a book that peaks your interest and start reading.



via Business Feeds