Top seven inspirational books for small businesses

If you are looking for Christmas present inspiration for those entrepreneurial types among your friends and family, look no further! We have compiled a list of the best business books, as recommended by seven of the UK’s top small business professionals. They’re just the thing to read after a mince pie and eggnog binge, to gear up for an especially prosperous New Year.


1. Screw It, Let’s Do It, by Richard Branson

Recommended by:

Lisa Williams

Managing Director, BHP Information Solutions Ltd

Why I like this book: 

A colleague lent me the audio version to listen to on my commute. Every time I got out of the car I was buzzing with ideas and motivation. It’s straightforward, with insight into Branson's success and lots of tips that can be applied to any business. What stood out to me was his tenacity, integrity, positivity, sense of fun and love of what he does. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was like this in business!

BHP is a specialist content marketing agency helping its clients connect with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). BHP also provides direct support and information to SMEs through its series of Donut websites


2. Thinking, Fast & Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Recommended by:

Yiuwin Tsang, 

Publisher – Small Business, Sift Media 

Why I like this book: 

I like this book because it really helps you consider your decision-making process. It looks at system one and system two thinking, bringing an awareness rash decisions, jumping to conclusions and proof / logic based thinking. An essential read if you are embarking on a new project in unfamiliar territories.

Sift Media is one of the UK's leading online publishers, connecting with business professionals through information, insight and innovation. 


3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek

Recommended by:

Jasper Martens

Head of Communications and Inbound Marketing, Simply Business  

Why I like this book: 

Why are some people and organisations more inventive and successful than others? If you want to know the answer, you must read this book. It was an eye opener when we were working on our new company strategy: start thinking of why you are doing things, no necessarily what you’re doing.

Simply Business is the biggest online business insurance broker, insuring more than 200,000 UK businesses. 


4. ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Recommended by:

Alex Butler 

Founder, KindredHQ

Why I like this book: 

This is written by the founders of 37signals, providers of web-based collaboration apps including Basecamp. Their philosophy is that ‘inspiration is perishable’, that it’s a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator. Their premise is that anyone can start a business doing the things they love without lots of cash and miserable 80-hour weeks. 

KindredHQ is an ecosystem of like-minded start up businesses, freelancers and independents with a philosophy that is based on collaboration not competition. 


5. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E Gerber

Recommended by:

Chris Baker

Marketing Manager at the Made Simple Group

Why I like this book: 

The book dispels the myths about starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. It also highlights the often-overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. 

The Made Simple Group offers business products and services to start-up companies and small businesses. 

6. Cook Wrap Sell, by Bruce McMichael

Recommended by:

Simon Wicks

Editor, Enterprise Nation

Why I like this book: 

This is one of a trio of guides aimed at niche start-ups, Cook Wrap Sell (for food enthusiasts) is an exemplar of the ‘how-to-start-a-business’ genre. It’s timely, clear, thorough, non-patronising and pushed along by the author’s sheer passion for his subject.

Further info: It’s jointly published by Brightword Publishing and Country Living Magazine and available here:

Enterprise Nation is a support company for homegrown businesses, providing advice, insight, events and publications for the UK’s growing micro-business sector. 


7. Take the Plunge: 101 Things You Need to Know Before Starting Up Your Own Business, by Michael Carter 

Recommended by:

Matt Perkins

Head of SME Engagement, FreeAgent 

Why I like this book: 

Over years of working with SMEs I have spent a lot of time reading 'how to' guides but this is the only one I'd recommend. Full of bite-size easy to digest tips it is just as relevant to trading businesses who are looking to grow as it is to the kitchen table entrepreneur!

FreeAgent provides an online accounting system. More intuitive than conventional accounting software it designed specifically to meet the needs of small businesses and freelancers. 




12 Nov 2016 08:49
I can recommend Richard Branson's book too, inspirational read

Add your comment

* denotes a required field

will not be displayed

include a link to your website

Go to Blog home

Limited time only!

To claim your exclusive offer just enter your email address below. We’ll send your code directly to your inbox so you can hit the presses, pronto! Be quick though, free delivery ends midnight 26 April.

SubmitNot interested