Essential business books for web entrepreneurs

Ever since the web1.0 boom, I’ve been preparing myself for starting up my own business. I’ve been selectively choosing the books that will add value to me. The knowledge gained from these books are well worth the time and money, and I will tell you briefly why.

If you are a technologist with an engineering background and don’t have the time to goto business schools, “The 10 day MBA” book is for you. It provides a good overview of all facets of managing a business, accounting, economics, marketing, risk management, finance. Don’t be put off by the ’10 day’ title, if the book is written well, it is worth more than a 100 days long textbook that says one thing in 10days. Having the bigger picture of the potential of conflicts between the department is important. MBA is all about numbers, what is the market size, how much stock should you buy, how much cash should you keep, how much money should you borrow, how do others value your company. Knowing the basics certainly helps for reading the new strategy books.

“Selling with NLP” is more of a pscyhology book that illustrate how to influence into your customer’s buying decision on a one to one level. This is a good book for communication skills. It tells you how to quickly identify the type of person you’re talking to and speak in their own language to close a sale. It also shows what signals to you send and pickup with body languages.

“The tipping point” is more of a recreational book on marketing and can be read quickly. It illustrates the steps and elements from an out lier idea to become a trend. Basically, you need to harness the power of a few influencial people that has a large social connection to set off a new trend. Marketing to these influencers and get them on board promoting your product is the start of a successful viral marketing system.

“Blue ocean strategy” and “Seeing what’s next” both have similar ideas in how to create the next big thing. These are the books that will set you apart from your competition. “Seeing what’s next” is gears more towards technology entreprenuers. It is a good complementary book to the “Blue ocean strategy”. One can apply the blue ocean strategy framework on any industry. You need to provide greater value at lower cost in your new market by looking across the whole eco system of your product. The key there is to work out the target price that will attract the mass market to adopt and innovate on cutting the cost. However, the dilemma of technology innovators is that in order to bring the cost down, it might mean a very long time of research and technology advancement. E.g. if the mass market cannot afford wireless broadband, should you be stuck and wait for the cost to come down before utilising that technology? “Seeing what’s next” guides us to look for opportunities where the same technology can be applied but in a market that might require less quality of service, therefore keeping the cost down. In order for a disruptive technology to grow under the radar of big companies, you need to start from the lower end of the market that demand less from the product. Both of these books are very valuable to anyone that is deciding how to position yourself in the market and check if your ideas have a big chance to tip.

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