Updated: Nov 13, 2019
It's a great moment when you come up with an idea that you want to turn into a business. This is a moment that most entrepreneurs will never forget. It's easy to get excited about a new business idea, but then we all reach this next moment soon after - "Where do I start?".
This is how I felt when I decided to start Breezeshare this past June. I had an idea that I wanted to turn into a reality, but no clear vision to do so. I turned to Google to look for the answers that I needed. This led me to discover useful websites like Medium and Entrepreneur.com. (Medium has extremely useful articles. Check them out if you have a chance www.medium.com). However, I needed more personable advice from someone who has been down this same journey.
I reached out to Kevin Celisca, an old friend of mine from The Haitian Baptist Church where we grew up. Kevin is a co-founder of Integrate, a software company that seeks to enrich the classroom experience with technology. Learn more about Kevin and Integrate here.
Kevin recommended that I read the following books - The Lean Startup, Running Lean, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, Business Model Generation, The Startup Owner's Manual, and Get Backed. I decided to choose a few books from this list and find some based on my own interests.
1. The Startup Owner's Manual by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
The Startup Owner's Manual is an actionable guide on what to do when starting a company. This is the perfect book to start with because it tackles the key things that need to be handled first in a company. This book focuses on customer validation, developing a prototype, creating/testing user experiments, and using analytics and customer feedback in order to develop the best possible product. This hardcover book can be purchased on Amazon for $25.
2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
This book is such a cliche to be added to a list of books for entrepreneurs to read. However, there is an excellent reason that many people suggest this as a good read for founders. Eric Ries is the creator of The Lean Startup Methodology. This approach to starting a business helps companies operate in the most efficient manner possible. It involves a rapid series of testing, collecting feedback, and rolling out an improved product. The Lean Startup touches on many of the same topics that The Startup Owner's Manual mentions, but this book adds the experience an insight of a success tech startup founder. This book is available for $15 on Amazon.
3. Explosive Growth by Cliff Lerner
The title of this book is the reason I bought it. The "100 Million Users" part really grabbed my attention. Explosive Growth tells of the story of Cliff Lerner and his business SNAP Interactive. This company created some of the first online dating applications such as AreYouInterested and The Grade.com. SNAP also created some of the first applications to be integrated with Facebook. This book provides dozens of "Explosive Growth Tips" that can help grow your business when implemented correctly. This book is available on Amazon for $12.
4. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover
After reading the last few books I mentioned, I wanted to find a book that would help me be able to get inside the head of the consumer. Hooked teaches of a genius methodology called The Hooked Model. This model consists of four steps, Trigger, Action, Investment, Variable Reward. These are the steps a business must take to engage customers with their product and created a desire for the user to interact with your product again. Hooked focuses more on the psychology of consumers and is a more technical read than some of the others on this list. However, it's an excellent read for any entrepreneur who wants to get customer engagement down to a science. Hooked is available on Amazon for $24.
5. The Founder's Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman
This is definitely my favorite book on the list (I'm still reading it). The Founder's Dilemma goes into detail on the main issues that entrepreneurs will be faced with on their journey to success. Noah Wasserman spent a decade studying over 10,000 founders and their entrepreneurial journeys. The book describes issues with co-founders, employees, family, investors, and any other party you can think of who is involved in a founder's life. It provides great insight on things that a business owner may not think of in the company's early stages. The Founder's Dilemmas can be purchased for $15 on Amazon.