If you have recently made the move from running someone else’s IT department to running your own IT business, you know there are some similarities but plenty of differences. After the fear coupled with exhilaration wears off there is still the big question of HOW to run this business successfully. Lucky for you, there are some really great resources out there to help.
Of course, if you were a great IT Department manager with great organizational skills, some of the work of getting geared up may not be quite so intimidating. Good business management in a start-up is fairly rare, but it doesn’t have to be. You can take those organizational skills and apply them to your business.
But there is a major mental shift as well when running your own business. Marketing the business may be an area that is new to you, so we have included that as well to get you started. To help you make the change both mentally and organizationally, here are some books and newsletters we have found can help you hone those skills and collect the tools you need to succeed.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission. Please note that my recommendations are my own and no way influence in the content I post just supports the audible books I listen to.
Eat That Frog – This short handy little book is the kind of thing you want to read and then re-read every year, especially if procrastination is your biggest hurdle. Like the book says, if you take the biggest ugliest job you dread and do it first, the rest of the day is golden. Eat that frog first.
The Lean Startup – Touted as the model for the new economy, this book is filled with useful ideas, stories that illustrate the concepts and more. It turns the idea of needing to have enormous financial resources to being a business on its head and shows anyone starting up a company that there are other approaches. It was recommended by Fast Company, Entrepreneur and many other business management publications as the book to read this year for anyone starting a business.
The First 90 Days – Starting a new business has many of the same pitfalls as when a company moves an employee to a new position. You need to rethink skills, re-evaluate approaches and above all be flexible. While the diagrams can sometimes be more confusing than helpful, the overall approach here has been lauded as extremely useful in this stressful time for any business.
The Tech Republic – A great newsletter and a group of blogs that look at the various aspects of business management from the technology side. It includes news, reviews and a very active community site as well. Subscribe to the newsletter to stay on top of new and emerging ideas in technology and business. You should also check out the many blogs to find the area that is most relevant for your business needs.
Ductape Marketing’s Blog/Newsletter – Nothing beats a free tool, and this one is great. Not everything they write about applies to your business, but there is plenty of fodder here for great conceptual thinking about how to market you business. They also have a great book called Duct Tape Marketing.
The Power of Habit – Okay, not really a marketing book this is more a book about changing your own habits to make you a better person in all aspects of your life. But it also compares this to business management habits and how the most successful companies have used them. Well written, fascinating and just might introduce you to a new way of thinking about your own life. You might even want to pass a few copies around the office.
Blue Ocean Strategy – A new way of looking at your business, this Harvard University Press book has made a lot of waves in the business world. Old thinking was dog-eat-dog competitive business thinking, leaving in its wake a sea of red blood. This new idea, non-competitive “blue ocean” thinking has gained a huge following. Read the book and then sign up on the BlueOcean website to keep the conversation going with others who, like you, want to find innovative ways to succeed in business management.
Likeable Social Media – Even if you are the kind of person who actually uses Facebook, Twitter and all of the other social media in your personal life, using it for business is a whole new story. Lucky for us, here is someone who not only thoroughly understands it, but explains it in a way we can all understand. Author Dave Kerpen gives solid examples as he tells us real stories of how social media can make our business more successful. Better yet, at the end of each chapter are exercises to help you implement the ideas. Well thought out, easy to follow, a practical guide to adding social media as a marketing tool.
Finally, I want to talk about a site that is a collection of blogs, some great some just okay. But Hubpages is well worth checking out. It is a giant free blog posting site and many small businesses use it to expand their marketing by running a regular blog on it. But it is also a great business management resource. I highly suggest cruising through the business section at the end of a day when you want to read some interesting material and thoughts on running a business. Whether it is ideas for a new small business or a post that explains Search Engine Optimization, you can find it here.
Running a business is like going back to school. It is an endless round of learning new skills, finding new information and applying all of that to the end goal, your business. For those of us who love to learn new ideas, it is the perfect environment to stretch our business management skills and grow. In the internet age, we have more ways to do this and this list is just the start.