”When the sun comes up you’d better be learning” is a quote from Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, one of the 3 small business books that have changed my life. As a business owner, learning is one of the most important jobs I have. I’m obsessed by learning new things that will help me do my job better in the future. So every week I read, attend learning events and focus on improving something that will help me in the future.
Over the past few months, usually when I’m speaking at an event, I’ve been asked what are my 3 favourite business books. I find that favourites can change over time, but lessons learned last forever. So instead of answering the question about favourite books I answer with the 3 books that have had the biggest impact on my business and life so far.
The way I like to work is to figure out the plan and then execute relentlessly. Sticking to the basics has been most successful for me over the past 8 years and I really believe that keeping things simple is usually the best strategy. With that in mind, it’s probably no surprise that the 3 small business books that have changed my life are all quite famous and all quite short (2 of the 3 are only about 100 pages!)
So here goes…
The One Minute Manager
Leading people and building a strong culture is my passion. It’s what drives me.
What I learnt from this book is the importance of keeping things simple when leading a team. The one minute manger taught me three things:
- The importance of setting clear, measurable goals that are easy to understand
- How and when to praise if milestones are hit
- How and when to reprimand if milestones aren’t hit.
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Fast-Growth Firm
This book is where I first learnt of creating a values-based business. That idea that I discovered in 2009 has been the biggest lesson that I’ve learned and implemented in my business life by miles and miles. It’s the reason I’m able to work from home and the basis for The Physio Co’s strong culture.
Verne’s book also taught me that ‘routine sets you free’. That is, that a growing business is in such a constant state of change that it needs some pillars for stability. Those pillars are a disciplined set of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual meeting rhythms with set agendas. The meeting rhythm concept is the very reason The Physio Co has been running it’s To The Point daily huddle since 2009.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it
This book actually came before both of the first two. The E-myth Revisited helped me understand the 3 critical responsibilities that every small business needs to succeed. They are:
- The technician – the person who’s job is to actually deliver a product or service
- The manager – the person who’s job it is to lead, organise and inspire the technician’s to deliver a product or service
- The entrepreneur – the person who is responsible for creating the vision and inspiring the manager to lead their team
The E-myth also taught me the importance of systemising everything.
That’s it! The 3 small business books that have had the biggest impact on my life so far. What are yours?