Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The entrepreneurial spirit is on the rise and people are looking to succeed in their own businesses. As early as late 2020, publications including The Wall Street Journal were commenting on the millions of people taking the startup leap. By 2021, CNBC reporting made it clear that entrepreneurship, especially among young people, was here to stay.
Yet it takes more than hustle, spirit, and imagination to overcome the biggest obstacle to becoming boss: nearly half of all businesses fail within five years. That’s a serious consideration for any founder. However, it’s also a wake-up call that if you intend to win this race, you need to plan for success.
There are many ways to go about increasing your chances of seeing your brand thrive and grow. One is by finding out what’s worked for others, and the easiest way to tap into that information is by reading business books.
To get you started on your journey to profitable entrepreneurialism, consider one of these books.
Related: 3 Steps to Creating a Profitable Business Idea
1. Mark Achler and Mert Hilmi Iseri – Exit Right
If you’re like many entrepreneurs, you didn’t start your company to stay at the helm forever. You want to sell it one day. Here’s the issue, though: You won’t get top dollar if you don’t invest in the right places from the get-go. So spend time with Exit Righta book devoted to helping owners like you see the world through the lens of your company’s future partners, investors, and buyers.
Backed by years of experience serving up and investing in startups, authors Mark Achler and Mert Hilmi Iseri have concentrated Exit Right on helping readers understand how to set up their businesses now to ensure better exits later. Based partly on extensive interviews with mergers and acquisitions leaders, this guide unravels subjects like determining valuations and understanding term sheets. Even if you’re at the beginning stages of starting up a brand, you’ll benefit from Achler and Iseri’s no-nonsense playbook.
Related: How to Expertly Position Your Business for an Exit
2. Sarah Noll Wilson — Don’t Feed the Elephants!
Nothing has the potential to destroy a business as much as a toxic culture. Nevertheless, many founders look the other way. Their hope? That somehow the bad feelings and negative undercurrents will work themselves out — or disappear altogether. In executive coach Sarah Noll Wilson’s experience, that won’t happen. Instead, you have to learn how to identify your problems. That way, you can make sure you Don’t Feed the Elephants!
As Wilson points out, you can expect to run into many types of “elephants” on your way to developing a healthier working atmosphere. The Avoidephant. The Blamephant. The Nudgephant. Knowing how to spot, tame, and dismiss them gives you the upper hand. At the same time, it sets up your team to enjoy more positive interactions and conversations. In an era where finding and retaining top performers can be tough, you can bet your bottom dollar that every elephant you release from your workplace will increase your likelihood of overall success.
3. DDS — You Can Be Yourself Here
Your employees want more than a job. They want to work for an employer that embraces them fully, no matter who they are or where they come from. In You Can Be Yourself Hereexecutive coach and psychotherapist DDS explores ways for your company to adopt diversity and inclusion as a mindset. That way, you can foster a sense of belonging that even the newest staff member will sense on day one.
Whether your team works remotely or together in a physical space, DDS will help you develop a business culture development formula that eliminates biases, microaggressions, and other barriers to colleague acceptance, connection, and respect. Remember: The people you employ are the ones working with your customers. When your staffers feel accepted, they’re apt to pass those good feelings along to your prospects and buyers. And that’s a good way to ensure repeat business.
Related: Avoiding the Sea of Sameness: How Hiring for Culture Improves DEI
4. Martin Groover — The Speed of Advance
Many corporate founders use military analogies to describe their operations and experiences. Author and surface warfare officer Martin Groover is among them. His newest work, The Speed of Advanceteaches you how to shift gears and glide into the Fourth Industrial Revolution by tapping into the technology at your fingertips.
Groover introduces readers to the mission-critical steps necessary to build a self-sustaining company. From your people to your processes to your tech stack, you will discover how to strategize, test, and iterate to get the best results. If you’re committed to being the boss of a true learning culture, this is one book that belongs on your desk or bedside table.
Launching a business isn’t the hard part. Keeping it moving in a profitable direction is. Use your free time wisely to educate yourself on the successes and failures of others. You’ll be glad you did when you celebrate half a decade at the helm of your (entrepreneur)ship.