Archives for posts with tag: startup

To start and run a successful business requires a lot of knowledge, support and resources. Most of us don’t have all of those right out of the gate. Luckily, many who have gone before (and built successful businesses) have opened up about their experiences. Some great CEOs and entrepreneurs have put pen to paper to share how they’ve grown, how they’ve failed and what they’ve learned, and those of us who are just getting started can get a head start on our own successes by standing on the shoulders of these giants.

Over the years, we at Popular Thoughts have read a lot of business books, and we’ve compiled this list (in no particular order) of the ones that were the most helpful, informative, entertaining, inspiring and thought-provoking for us. Some of them offer concrete advice about running a business; others are more about making big-picture improvements in time management, outlook, attitude and perception, all of which contribute to business success. Our CEO recommended these books personally, so the next time you browse the business section of the book store or library, check them out and let them help you lay the groundwork for the business and personal life you want!

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com – Zappos is well-known for its exceptional customer service and commitment to quality, and it’s also known as one of the best companies to work for. This book shares the corporate philosophies and attitudes that make such success with both employees and customers possible.

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss – This wildly-popular book is at the top for a reason! This latest version has been expanded and updated from the original. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to live with more leisure, drop out of the 9-to-5 rat race and maximize the time spent working to achieve the ideal lifestyle design.

Play to Win! by Larry Wilson and Hersch Wilson – This book is excellent at getting the reader to think about what’s possible, rather than what’s impossible. Simply put, you can thrive if you learn to think in terms of winning instead of thinking in terms of not losing (it sounds like a difference of semantics, but really, it’s a huge change in outlook that means much greater success).

177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class by Steve Siebold – The philosophy here is aimed at helping readers go from middle class (how most people think and act) to world class (how the truly successful think and act). Being mentally tough can make all the difference in life and success, and this book makes mental toughness attainable.

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by Ted Kinni – Taking the best care of your customers can mean the difference between struggling in your business and achieving real success. This book explores the customer service principles developed and used at Walt Disney World and uses them as a model for how to make customers keep coming back, time after time. Use this book to ensure that every aspect of your company is consistently delivering for your customers!

These five are just the beginning – there are many other great books out there for entrepreneurs, small business owners and anyone else looking to achieve success in work and life.

Got other suggestions for great business books? Post them in the comments and we’ll try to check them out!

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If you’ve got a great idea for a tech/web start-up but need help getting it off the ground, TechStars is a resource you need to check out.

TechStars is a seed stage investment fund founded in 2006 to help entrepreneurs get started on their dreams. Based in Colorado, TechStars has annual programs in Boulder, NYC, Seattle, and Boston. Any tech entrepreneur is welcome to apply, and those who are accepted receive up to $18,000 in seed funding ($6,000 per founder for up to three founders) and a three-month mentoring program. Participants get free server hosting, workspace, legal services, and access to angel investors and VCs, all of which can help the fledging business really take off.

What does TechStars get in return for offering this wealth of support? Simple: a flat 6 percent of the start-up. And since 70% of companies launched through TechStars in the past few years have become financially self-sustaining or have received outside funding, that 6 percent usually means owning a chunk of success.

Of course, with so much to be gained through TechStars, there’s a lot of competition for the programs. Their website notes that they get hundreds of applicants each year, but they choose only ten or so companies annually for each of their four program cities. The program rotates between the cities: New York plays host to TechStars in the winter, but Boston gets the program in the spring. Boulder is the summer program location, and Seattle hosts the fall participants.

TechStars describes itself as “big on mentorship,” with a laid-back style of working hard in a friendly atmosphere. Their website is peppered with testimonials from business owners praising what TechStars does, less for the funding than for the wealth of advice, support, connections and experience brought to the table by the program mentors during the 3-month “summer camp for entrepreneurs.” In short, TechStars has a whole lot of help ready for you if you’re one of the lucky few they select for your really great tech or web idea.

Get started by applying on the TechStars website. Who knows? You might end up attending one of their programs and seeing your own tech company dream come to life. Good luck!

Sources: TechStars, Wikipedia, TechCrunch