Our time is limited and getting good information to drive us forward is a huge challenge today. Here are the 5 must-read startup books of 2015 that actually changed the way I approach marketing and startups.
There are thousands of good business books released every year. However, there are very few books that actually have the ability to impact your bottom line. Most books are high on idea’s and low on actionable steps by step information that can actually be implemented.
I know some people like this books but for me “Ideas are a Commodity, Process is Priceless”. If you can repeat something and make it into a process then there is no point doing it, as it will just such you or your staff members time. There is one exception to this rule of course and that’s the fact some growth tactics are very hands on and manual that is fine for short stints to achieve a goal, however long term everything must be turned into a process to grow a business.
So as a compulsive action taker it can be hard to find great books that give you this practical process driven guides.
So during this article I am going to run through the books I have read (or finally read) that gave me no bull**** processes to growing my companies.
Table of Contents
- Best Startup Books of 2015
- Traction by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares
- Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter
- The 7 Day Startup by Dan Norris
- Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi
- Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
Best Startup Books of 2015
Traction by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares
Startup advice tends to be a lot of platitudes repackaged with new buzzwords, but Traction is something else entirely.
As Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares learned from their own experiences, building a successful company is hard. For every startup that grows to the point where it can go public or be profitably acquired, hundreds of others sputter and die.
Smart entrepreneurs know that the key to success isn’t the originality of your offering, the brilliance of your team, or how much money you raise. It’s how consistently you can grow and acquire new customers (or, for a free service, users). That’s called traction, and it makes everything else easier—fund-raising, hiring, press, partnerships, acquisitions. Talk is cheap, but traction is hard evidence that you’re on the right path.
Traction will teach you the nineteen channels you can use to build a customer base, and how to pick the right ones for your business. It draws on inter-views with more than forty successful founders, including Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alexis Ohanian (reddit), Paul English (Kayak), and Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot). You’ll learn, for example, how to:
·Find and use offline ads and other channels your competitors probably aren’t using
·Get targeted media coverage that will help you reach more customers
·Boost the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns by automating staggered sets of prompts and updates
·Improve your search engine rankings and advertising through online tools and research
Weinberg and Mares know that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution; every startup faces unique challenges and will benefit from a blend of these nineteen traction channels. They offer a three-step framework (called Bullseye) to figure out which ones will work best for your business. But no matter how you apply them, the lessons and examples in Traction will help you create and sustain the growth your business desperately needs.
Why I Found This Book Helpful
- Although this is technically a re-read for me this updated version was well worth every second of my time to refresh me on the simple, and easy to implement growth strategies that actually work!
- Practical examples of all tactics so i could easily visualize how to implement the tactics we wanted to use.
- It has provided me a base swipe file I turn to of traction/growth strategies.
Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter
When Anne-Marie Slaughter accepted her dream job as the first female director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department in 2009, she was confident she could juggle the demands of her position in Washington, D.C., with the responsibilities of her family life in suburban New Jersey. Her husband and two young sons encouraged her to pursue the job; she had a tremendously supportive boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and she had been moving up on a high-profile career track since law school. But then life intervened. Parenting needs caused her to make a decision to leave the State Department and return to an academic career that gave her more time for her family.
The reactions to her choice to leave Washington because of her kids led her to question the feminist narrative she grew up with. Her subsequent article for The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” created a firestorm, sparked intense national debate, and became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine’s history.
Since that time, Anne-Marie Slaughter has pushed forward, breaking free of her long-standing assumptions about work, life, and family. Though many solutions have been proposed for how women can continue to break the glass ceiling or rise above the “motherhood penalty,” women at the top and the bottom of the income scale are further and further apart.
Now, in her refreshing and forthright voice, Anne-Marie Slaughter returns with her vision for what true equality between men and women really means, and how we can get there. She uncovers the missing piece of the puzzle, presenting a new focus that can reunite the women’s movement and provide a common banner under which both men and women can advance and thrive.
With moving personal stories, individual action plans, and a broad outline for change, Anne-Marie Slaughter reveals a future in which all of us can finally finish the business of equality for women and men, work and family.
Why We Found This Helpful
- Although this book isn’t heavy on the process driven side of business literature it does make you think.
- It gives you the positive attitude of I can do anything in the world.
The 7 Day Startup by Dan Norris
From generating ideas to gaining your first paying customers, The 7 Day Startup is the bootstrapper’s bible for launching your next product. In it, you will learn: 1. Why validation isn’t the answer 2. How to evaluate your business idea 3. How to choose a business name, fast 4. How to build a website in 1 day for under $100 5. 10 proven ways to market a business quickly And much, much more.
Why I Found This Book Helpful
- Helped remind me what’s important when starting a business and bring new products to market.
- A must read to get your approach right to turning an idea into a startup that makes money!
Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi
In Content Inc., one of today’s most sought-after content-marketing strategists reveals a new model for entrepreneurial success. Simply put, it’s about developing valuable content, building an audience around that content, and then creating a product for that audience.
Notice a shift?
Author Joe Pulizzi flips the traditional entrepreneurial approach of first creating a product and then trying to find customers. It’s a brilliant reverse-engineering of a model that rarely succeeds.
The radical six-step business-building process revealed in this book is smart, simple, practical, and cost-effective. And best of all, it works. It’s a strategy Pulizzi used to build his own successful company, Content Marketing Institute, which has landed on Inc. magazine’s list of fastest growing private companies for three years straight. It’s also a strategy countless other entrepreneurs use to build their own multi-million dollar companies. Build an audience and you’ll be able to sell pretty much anything you want.
Today’s markets are more dynamic and customers are more fickle than ever before. Why would you put all your eggs in one basket before securing a loyal customer base? Content Inc. shows you how to get customers first and develop products later. It’s the best way to build a solid, long-lasting business positioned for today’s content-driven world. This is the simple but profoundly successful entrepreneurial approach of one of today’s most creative business minds.
A pioneer of content marketing, Pulizzi has cracked the code when it comes to the power of content in a world where marketers still hold fast to traditional models that no longer work. In Content Inc., he breaks down the business-startup process into six steps, making it simple for you to visualize, launch, and monetize your own business. These steps are:
- The “Sweet Spot”: Identify the intersection of your unique competency and your personal passion
- Content Tilting: Determine how you can “tilt” your sweet spot to find a place where little or no competition exists
- Building the Base: Establish your number-one channel for disseminating content (blog, podcast, YouTube, etc.)
- Harvesting Audience: Use social-media and SEO to convert one-time visitors into long-term subscribers
- Diversification: Grow your business by expanding into multiple delivery channels
- Monetization: Now that your expertise is established, you can begin charging money for your products or services
This model has worked wonders for Pulizzi and countless other examples detailed in the book. Connect these six pieces like a puzzle, and before you know it, you’ll be running your own profitable, scalable business.
Pulizzi walks you step by step through the process, based on his own success (and failures) and real-world multi-million dollar examples from multiple industries and countries. Whether you’re seeking to start a brand-new business or drive innovation in an existing one, Content Inc. provides everything you need to reverse-engineer the traditional entrepreneurial model for better, more sustainable success.
Why I Found This Book Helpful
- Even as a content specialist Joe, reminded me and helped formalize my higher level approach to content.
- In a time where content is the number one marketing tool, it provides a great strategy guide book on content creation.
Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
A new generation of megabrands like Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, and Twitter haven’t spent a dime on traditional marketing. No press releases, no TV commercials, no billboards. Instead, they rely on a new strategy—growth hacking—to reach many more people despite modest marketing budgets. Growth hackers have thrown out the old playbook and replaced it with tools that are testable, trackable, and scalable. They believe that products and businesses should be modified repeatedly until they’re primed to generate explosive reactions.
Bestselling author Ryan Holiday, the acclaimed marketing guru for American Apparel and many bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians, explains the new rules and provides valuable examples and case studies for aspiring growth hackers. Whether you work for a tiny start-up or a Fortune 500 giant, if you’re responsible for building awareness and buzz for a product or service, this is your road map.
Why I Found This Book Helpful
- Ryan captures every must do activity for the modern marketer/startup into an easy to understand and implement format.
- Along with his previous book it acts as a great guide for all things marketing in 2015 and beyond.
During this article, I have gone through the 5 best startup books of 2015 that have had a serious impact on my processes and approach to business.
What books have you read or finally read in 2015 that actually impacted the way you approach your marketing or startup? Leave them in the comments below and we can give you some shout outs plus add them to our best startup books of 2015 list.