GaryVee may not be everyone’s favorite, but it’s hard to dispute the guy has an energetic personality, and a pension for kicking business ass. If you’re not familiar with Vaynerchuk, he is a Russian immigrant who came to the States at a very young age. He established his entrepreneurial spirit at a very early age and over the years developed it into an extremely savvy business accumen. He helped grow his family’s liquor store into a $5o million a year wine selling juggernaut, all while turning the industry on it’s head on how it talks to its customers.
Vaynerchuk was one of the first to embrace the Be Everywhere attitude on the internet. His success is due largely to his pervasive approach to social media; starting with videos on Youtube, he moved to Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr long before many of us knew what they were. Crush It is essentially his business, marketing and motivational playbook. If you can’t get pumped while reading it, it’s possible you shouldn’t be in business for yourself because you may not have what it takes.
If you’ve ever wondered how to take your bootstrapped art and craft business to the next level when you’re barely making enough to pay for your art supplies, $100 Start Up will help you visualize your possible future. With several case studies from all types of organizations, Guillebeau discusses how these businesses took their meager beginnings and turned it into thriving, revenue-generating entities.
Several times throughout the book I found myself thinking, “Hell, I can do that”, and I’m pretty sure I can. Many of the stories talk about how they used the internet to build their empire, but $100 Start Up is more about the tenacity of the human spirit than it is about how to use technology.I highly recommend this book; in fact, I think I’ll read it again.
Having a concentration on creative writing in both high school and college, I’ve read a lot of books on writing. I don’t make this statement lightly: Stephen King’s On Writing is the best book about being a writer I have ever read. Don’t go into this book thinking about Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, because it’s not that kind of book. However, if you want to a book on writing that reads like a novel and makes you want to go craft your own story, whether it’s in blog form or a 500 page memoir, you should check out King’s opus.
No matter what business you happen to be in, whether it’s selling art or selling cardboard boxes, the business you’re really in is customer service. This was an essential part of business even before the internet, but social media has made customer service even more essential. When every customer is armed with the means to spread either good or bad reviews about your business, it’s imperative to be on top of your customer service game.
Zappos.com has made a name for themselves because of their undying commitment to bringing on the best customer service, but it was a long fought battle for Tony Hsieh and his team. Delivering Happiness is as much about how to care about your customers as it is about Hsieh’s success with his multiple companies over the years. It’s surprising more companies haven’t followed suit with similar attempts to provide high level service, but as the old guard at companies across the planet die off and the new leaders take charge, I can guarantee the Zappos ideal will become the new norm… or at least it should be.
Really that should read EVERY book by Seth Godin because the man gets it. He’s one of these guys that when they handed out talent and wisdom, he got a double helping. Not only is he smart enough to visualize a better way to do business, but he shares it in a way that is easy to understand and implement into both large companies as well as cottage industry shops. I’ve read almost all of his books, but the ones at the top of the list for me are Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, The Dip and his new offering, The Icarus Deception. Long story short, you can do no wrong by investing in some of the Godin mindset.
These are just five of the many books I’ve read that helped me better understand the business world we live in. None of these, aside from perhaps The Icarus Deception, have much to do with art in particular, but the information in all of them transcends any particular business category, and therefore I recommend having them on hand for those moments when you need a refresher course.
What books have you read lately that have changed the way you looked at your business?