Growth & Customers

Sage Book Club: 5 inspirational books to help ambitious entrepreneurs stay productive

From working on the business rather than in it, to improving financial literacy, discover a selection of books that will help you get ahead.

Starting your own business can be a daunting but exciting challenge.

And at Sage, we’re all about helping small businesses to flourish.

So, get ready for this month’s special reading selection.

We’ve teamed up with Jeremy Corner, the founder of eco-friendly gift brand Green Magpie, to hand-pick his five favourite books on how to start up a successful business and stay productive.

In addition, Jeremy is the director of the award-winning design business Blue Eyed Sun Ltd, with more than 22 years of experience in the retail business.

He’s also a regular speaker on all things from sustainability to retail trends and social media (as well as being a Sage Business Expert) and together with his team, Jeremy aims to make a positive impact on the world.

His book selection will provide you with actionable tips that are perfect for ambitious entrepreneurs, which will help to build your company, and show you how to make the right moves for success.

Check out Jeremy’s selection:

1. Bright Marketing: Why Should People Bother to Buy From You

2. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It

3. The 80/20 Principle

4. Getting Things Done

5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Bright Marketing

1. Bright Marketing: Why Should People Bother to Buy From You by Robert Craven

One of the most important aspects of running your business is working out an effective marketing strategy.

In today’s increasing competitive market, people have a wider range of options now than they ever did before. So it’s become even more important to highlight why they should buy from you.

Also known as your unique selling point.

The key to a successful business, complete with loyal customers, is to build a strong marketing plan.

But you also need to make sure your marketing activity is aligned with your business goals.

This short yet useful book guides you on the marketing basics, helping you to understand your proposition, pricing and profitability.

As well as understanding simple things such as the needs you’re meeting for your customers, this book helped me to understand the compound detrimental effect of discounting on profitability.

All I can say is this book is a must read for startups.

Find out more about Bright Marketing

The E Myth

2. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

It can be really difficult to figure out what’s going to work for you and your business.

This book has helped me realise the real difference between working on your business and working in your business.

You’re probably thinking, what’s the difference?

Well, working in your business is looking after those day-to-day activities, usually ones that someone else could be entrusted with.

But working on your business is about seeing the bigger picture. It’s working on key strategies and really investing your time to better your business for the future.

I discovered I was better off working on my business, not in my business, which really helped us to scale.

Gerber walks you through all the different life stages of a business, and he talks a lot about how assumptions and expectations can really hinder a successful business.  

Before reading this book, my business partner and I were just busy employees who happened to own our businesses.

But after applying the strategies in this book, we were able to scale and grow our businesses way beyond what we would have been capable of on our own.

This is an essential read for business owners with big dreams.

Find out more about The E-Myth Revisited

The 80 20 Principle

3. The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

You’re probably wondering what on earth the 80/20 principle is.

Well, this is the idea that 80% of results flow from 20% of causes.

So, as business owner you can actually achieve much more with less effort, time and resources, just by focusing on that essential 20%.

From reading this book, I have learnt how to leverage what works in my business and cut out the waste.

It has helped me to concentrate on the most profitable aspects of the business and eliminate the elements that were causing me the most headaches.

This book is perfect for anyone looking to make the most out of what they have.

Find out more about The 80/20 Principle

Getting Things Done

4. Getting Things Done by David Allen

Running a business is all about getting things done effectively and on time – and also about actually getting them done.

David Allen explores five key steps to help you achieve new productivity levels, both at work and in your personal life, which in turn can positively affect your profits.

This book has many useful nuggets of information on how to make the most of your time, and how to help yourself and your team to become more productive.

I have applied some of these simple techniques to my business, and I’ve seen a huge difference in the productivity within myself and my team.

Having these efficiencies in place has helped us to generate greater profits.

If you’re someone who has an overwhelming workload, this book is an absolute lifesaver.

Find out more about Getting Things Done

Rich Dad Poor Dad

5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter

If you want to become wealthy, this book needs to be at the top of your reading list.

A common worry most businesses owners have when they first start out is all the finances that come with it.

This book increased my financial intelligence, as it covers everything from investing through assets and property to improving your financial literacy.

It has a really simple outline, which has helped me to understand cash flow in more detail.

It also helped me to better understand how you can make the most of your balance sheet to grow your wealth and scale your success in business.

By applying the lessons from this book, we’ve been able to make ourselves financially independent.

Find out more about Rich Dad, Poor Dad