Your Reading List & recommendations

Trusted sources for small businesses

Who do you turn to for business advice and inspiration? We asked small business owners for their tips for websites, blogs and books that help them make the day-to-day running of their business that little bit easier.

1. Cognitive Lode 

“It is not only a smart resource but the site is beautiful and responsively designed, so looks great on your phone. At its simplest, Cognitive Lode puts together the latest behavioral, economics and consumer psychology research, repackaging it into ‘helpful little brain gems’. Applying them to your business can require some thought, but they do offer solid takeaways to help with this. With a background in psychology myself, seeing new principles emerge (and seeing how older ones are changing because of new technologies) is fascinating.”

Paul Armstrong, owner, Here/Forth

Worth knowing: A great bank of many psychological quirks, culled from psychology research. Many will have implications for your business, such as The Endowment effect (we value things more highly if we feel we own them) and Negativity Bias (we remember negative things more readily than positive things).

 2. The E Myth by Michael E Gerber

“A must-read for entrepreneurs, it helps you streamline the day-to-day running of a small business. Gerber argues that three personalities compete for attention in the mind of every small business person: the entrepreneur, the manager and the technician. One imagines, one organises and the latter crafts. ‘Each of these personalities wants to be boss, none of them want to have a boss,’ he says. Hence chaos.

Gerber encourages us to simplify our business as if it were a franchise (like McDonalds) and then we can free ourselves from the muddled frenzy of being a ‘busy fool’.”

Chris Arning, founder, Creative Semiotics

Worth knowing: Written in 1986, the book presents two ‘fatal mistakes’ made by people who found small businesses: that they are entrepreneurs; and that people who understand technical work can run a business carrying out that technical work.


3. TED Talks and TED Blog

“As owner of an 18 month old start-up, the TED Blogs (TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design) and TED Talks give inspiration when times are tough. I like the TED Talks specifically, which are always worth a look if you’re stuck on a particular chain of thought or want to tackle something from a different angle.”

Mel Beeby Clarke, director of Ambitious PR

Worth knowing: TED began as a one-off event in 1984, with annual conferences starting in 1990. Since 2006, talks have been filmed and can be viewed online, and the TED Blog gives more in-depth information on ‘ideas worth spreading’ and insights into the speakers. Such as Bill Gates’s summer reading tips.

 4. Conscious Business, How to Build Value Through Values by Fred Kofman

“Kofman is a professor at MIT and a business coach. A management-meets-philosophy-meets-self-awareness-guide, the book is a result of 15 years of work with leaders of major corporations in the US, Europe and South America.  It’s considered a seminal text for the growing international ‘Conscious Business’ movement which essentially puts integrity and self-awareness at the centre of business practice – what Fred calls ‘success beyond success’.”

Claire Griffin, founder of Claire Griffin Talent

Worth knowing: This is a business book with a difference, taking an almost spiritual approach to running your company. The book suggests examining and re-examining your motives and focusing not just on profit, but people, planet, and profit.


5. Harvard Business Review blog 

“I subscribe to their email service and receive several a day. One of their emails is ‘The Management tip of the day’ which I make a habit of reading. It’s short and to the point so anyone would have time to digest it. Recently there was an article around the lack of trust in organisations which has been the basis for some specific consultancy and training services that my business has started to deliver.”

Dan Handscomb, MD and Founder, TDHC

Worth knowing: Blog companion to the influential Harvard Business Review, where business terms like ‘Glass ceiling’ and ‘Globalisation’ were coined, and great business thinkers and academics consider some of the bigger business issues of the day. 
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