Ever hear of Shopify’s Business Name Generator? Or Rand Fishkin’s new book ‘Lost and Founder’? Here are resources you need to know about.
10 min read
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A staggering 50 percent of all startups will fail within the first three years, according to information gathered by Insurance Quotes. Therefore, as an entrepreneur, you face a steep uphill battle that will test your business acumen, patience and motivation.
To help you along the difficult path of building a successful business, here are 25 podcasts, books and resources created by some of our preeminent business minds. Use them to help you build a business that will last generations.
1. MFCEO Project Podcast. Andy Frisella built a $175 million empire from the ground up. By embracing the mindset of a warrior, he was able to weather the many storms that beset a life of entrepreneurship. In his podcast, MFCEO, Frisella, who usually charges $75,000 a session to share his business advice, offers listeners free insights that have helped him build a variety of hugely successful businesses.
MFCEO is the perfect listen for those interested in developing a mindset that will fuel personal and professional success.
2. How I Built This. The founders of WeWork, Wikipedia and Warby Parker have all appeared on this insightful NPR podcast. Listeners of How I Built This get the inside scoop on the ups and downs associated with building a profoundly successful business.
The host, Guy Raz, asks guests a wide variety of questions, from the basic to the highly technical. This podcast is an excellent choice for those interested in learning, from a variety of entrepreneurs who found success in unique ways.
3. Masters of Scale. Reid Hoffman was a member of the infamous PayPal Mafia and the founder of LinkedIn. Today, he is the host of Masters of Scale as well as a partner at Greylock Partners, an elite VC firm in Silicon Valley. Hoffman is an expert when it comes to turning businesses into billion-dollar companies. Thanks to his status, Hoffman is able to attract elite guests like Mark Zuckerberg and Reid Hastings (the CEO of Netflix). The conversations are always enlightening.
4. Recode Decode. Those interested in keeping up to speed with the latest in tech news need look no further than Recode Decode. The weekly podcast is hosted by tech journalist Kara Swisher. Swisher interviews tech founders, regulators, journalists and politicians to provide readers with a variety of perspectives on the relationship between technology and society.
5. The McKinsey Podcast. McKinsey is one of the world’s preeminent consulting firms. The $10 billion company hires elite business strategists who are tasked with solving some of the most challenging business problems. As a result, the company has produced a variety of ground-breaking studies, which are regularly reviewed on The McKinsey Podcast.
This is a great listen for those interested in keeping up with the latest business strategies. from marketing to finance, and everything in between.
6. SaaStr Podcast. SaaS stands for software as a service. It’s a business model employed by tech giants like Hubspot and Salesforce, and is becoming increasingly popular among B2B entrepreneurs. SaaStr was founded by entrepreneur and investor Jason Lemkin. What originated as an annual event in San Francisco has morphed into a media company that features professionals, founders and investors who discuss marketing and sales strategies.
7. HBR Ideacast. The Harvard Business Review is the media organization associated with Harvard Business School. The HBR Ideacast features Harvard professors, business practitioners and scholars, who discuss a variety of research-based findings that can help entrepreneurs create healthier businesses more quickly.
8. The Tim Ferriss Show. Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss was an early investor in a variety of successful startups, including Uber. He is the author of The Four Hour Work Week, and also hosts The Tim Ferriss Show.
On the show, Ferriss shares his secrets to designing a hyper-productive life that allows him to feel both professionally and personally fulfilled. It’s a great podcast for those interested in picking up a few tips and tricks that can make a big difference in the long run.
9. The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Ben Horowitz sold his company, Opsware, for over $1 billion in 2007. He went on to co-found Andreessen Horowitz, a VC firm that has invested in Airbnb, Box and Facebook. Horowitz shares his hard-won insights about what it takes to run a successful startup in his best-selling book.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things is a great read for entrepreneurs who don’t have much time to spare, as the chapters are short and written with a focus on action.
10. Crossing the Chasm. What’s required to take a niche product and make it go mainstream? Crossing the Chasm answers this question in gripping detail. Author Geoffrey Moore uses research and case studies to formulate a theory of how most organizations can develop a series of mainstream anchor customers from which they can penetrate high-value customer segments.
This is a great read for entrepreneurs who have built a successful small business and now want to scale up.
11. Good to Great. “Good is the enemy of great.” That’s the theory presented by Jim Collins in his comprehensively researched business book, Good to Great. Collins, along with a team of researchers, studied a handful of publicly traded companies that were able to transform from good businesses to outstanding businesses in a relatively short period of time.
The research presented in the book provides entrepreneurs with a variety of actionable insights that can quickly be applied to nearly any business with noticeable results.
12. The Innovator’s Dilemma. Entrepreneurs who are interested in building disruptive businesses should read The Innovator’s Dilemma to understand the perils large organizations face when nearing maturity. The basic insight: It’s very difficult to steer a cruise ship in a new direction, but a speedboat is far more nimble.
The Innovator’s Dilemma provides readers with examples of mature organizations that were able to disrupt themselves before others did it first. That strategy might inspire intra-preneurs (entrepreneurs within established companies) to encourage their organizations to push the envelope.
13. High Output Management. Though he may not be a household name, the late Andrew Grove was a legendary businessman among entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Grove was the CEO of Intel, and served as a mentor to the likes of Steve Jobs and Ben Horowitz (among many others).
In High Output Management, Grove outlined a helpful framework for managers to make their people as productive as possible. The book is focused on the practical, such as how to conduct an effective one-on-one meeting.
14. The Lean Startup. Build, measure, learn. That’s a deceptively simple framework that has been embraced by a variety of innovative companies, like Intuit and Dropbox. In The Lean Startup, author Eric Ries provides readers with an effective framework to quickly find product–market fit. The book has become required reading among tech teams interested in iterating rapidly.
15. Lost and Founder. Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of Moz, created hise $50 million software business through trial and error. In his new book Lost and Founder, Fishkin provides readers with an honest portrait of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, and offers practical advice that can help them avoid some of the mistakes he made in building a successful tech startup.
16. How to Win Friends and Influence People. Dale Carnegie was a legendary business writer. Though How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published as long ago as 1936, the principles it outlines are as relevant as ever. This is still a great read for those interested in understanding how they can form meaningful professional relationships that lead to improved business outcomes.
17. “Mastering Data and Analysis in Excel.” We live in a world where the ability to collect and analyze data is becoming increasingly important. Those businesses that are best equipped to use data as a way of expediting the decision-making process are more likely to win in the long run.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to have a good understanding of business analytics and to be capable of running analysis.
This Coursera course was created in conjunction with Duke University professors. It promises to quickly bring participants up to speed so they can apply its principles to real-world problems.
18. “Reforge.” Brian Balfour was the VP of Growth Marketing at Hubspot before founding Reforge, an online course about growing tech businesses. In the course, Balfour and other growth experts like Andrew Chen, a former Growth lead at Uber, teach students about the principles used by some of the world’s most successful startups.
19. “Intercom on Starting Up.” The successful startup Intercom produces a live-chat tool beloved by startups across the globe. They share some of their knowledge in their ebook Starting Up. The tool is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs interested in founding a tech company.
20. Backlinko Link-Building Case Study. Despite the rise of voice search, good old search engine optimization is still an important aspect of building a meaningful online presence. Backlinko provides a variety of helpful blog posts and ebooks perfect for those who are interested in inexpensively reaching a target audience.
This article on link-building best practices is a great way to implement a tried and true SEO strategy that will likely produce meaningful results.
21. Usability Hub. Regardless of what you’re selling, your website needs to be well designed. Otherwise, all of the work you put into driving traffic will be for nothing. Usability Hub allows you to test various website designs and copy with an online focus group. The feedback will allow you to develop an effective website that will convert visitors en masse.
22. Geckoboard. As Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets managed.” Geckoboard helps you to inexpensively measure what matters, thanks to a customizable dashboard that can be easily displayed on a TV or monitor.
23. Unbounce Landing Page Analyzer. Landing pages are a key component of user onboarding. Unbounce offers entrepreneurs access to a free landing-page grader, which makes it easier to design user-onboarding flows that work flawlessly.
24. Website Grader. Hubspot is a $3 billion software company that produces a variety of marketing and sales products for small-to-medium-sized businesses. Its free Website Grader surfaces SEO and design insights, making it easier for entrepreneurs to create a stunning online experience for prospects and customers.
25. Business Name Generator. It’s hard to build a successful business without having a good name. Shopify’s Business Name Generator helps entrepreneurs quickly find a business name that isn’t yet taken. It can save you hours of surfing GoDaddy to find an appropriate URL, and let you can spend your time with the other resources listed in this article.
Launching a successful startup is never easy. By using the tools and resources outlined in this article, you’ll have a leg up on competitors forced to learn business best practices the hard way.