Business books are valuable in that they do more than simply teach you how to run your business more smartly. They’re conversation starters, continuing education tools for your staff and more.
The primary benefit of business books is, naturally, that they help you achieve better results in business. Don’t know a thing about social media marketing? Pick up a book and teach yourself. Curious about the latest leadership technique? A book can help you with that too.
Books only help if you commit to reading them. You’re busy. We all are. But if you set a goal for yourself to leverage the knowledge inside books, you end up a smarter business owner.
It’s not necessary to fly across country or spend lots of money on expensive conferences to glean information from business experts. Instead, budget about $150 a year to buy a book each month on Kindle and get all that knowledge (probably more) from the convenience of your favorite easy chair. Don’t have a budget for books? Then don’t forget your local library. Many even offer digital books these days.
Share Your Knowledge
If you blog for your business, books provide great subject fodder. Writing about what you learn is also a wonderful way to process that information and really understand it. As you read, take notes or bookmark pages (yes, you can digitally bookmark as well) so you can come back to pull quotes for your content.
As you continue to master your industry as an expert, you’ll end up imparting what you’ve learned. So that book knowledge can be translated into content for speaking engagements, webinars, social media updates ... even data for your own authored book!
Give It as a Gift
Business books also make fantastic business presents. When you run across a great book, buy copies for key members of your team who you think would benefit and give the books as gifts to each. You could even start a mini book club within your organization and discuss the principles in a book. Not only does this make your team smarter, but it also helps you bond.
Clients appreciate good books too. Send a book you've read to a favorite client along with a note about what you've enjoyed in it (e.g., "I especially loved Chapter 7!") Doing so will build relationships with your clients, and they will appreciate your ongoing investment in your business expertise.
Pay attention when talking to clients or contacts to get clues about what topics they’re interested in. For example, if a long-time client mentions he struggles with analytics, that’s the perfect cue for you to send him your favorite book on the subject. People notice when you pick up on their interests, and it makes for a more personalized gift.
Thirst for More
There will never, ever be a shortage of books. Every day, new ones are published, especially with the surge of self-published authors. It can be a challenge to know which ones are worth reading, and which aren’t. At the next Chamber of Commerce meeting or industry mixer you attend, ask others if they've read any good business books recently. Get recommendations from friends and colleagues. Ask your social network what to read. Join GoodReads and see what your friends are reading. And check out the Small Business Book Awards to see what the community believes are top books for entrepreneurs and small business people.
Make time for reading business books, just like you make time for marketing, sales, and other components of your business. While the results may not be directly obvious, books do help you succeed as a business owner.