One of the worst pieces of advice you could follow on becoming an entrepreneur is to simply become one and later figure out how to get things done. That’s the reason why most startups fail – because they don’t plan things properly. With proper planning, you can increase your chances of success. Before you startup or even later when you’re into it, it’s always recommended to read good books with insights and best practices on succeeding at work.
There are many books on entrepreneurship out there, below are the top 10 ones which every SaaS entrepreneur must read in their lifetime.
The Lean Startup
This book changes the way one thinks about launching their own products. As opposed to the conventional thought, which emphasizes developing a complete product with all the necessary features; the lean approach emphasizes short development lifecycles, by building something quick yet useful based on the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) model, launching in the market, gathering customer feedback and iterating for further improvement. For SaaS entrepreneurs, this book fits perfectly with how things work in the ecosystem.
Image source: The Lean Startup
Zero to One
Based on lectures by Peter Thiel, one of the members of “PayPal Mafia”, it’s co-written by Blake Masters who attended his classes at Stanford University and compiled notes in a crafty manner. The book is a must-read for every aspiring SaaS entrepreneur, on building companies that create life-changing innovations. The author himself launched a successful company, back in the days when the word “SaaS” wasn’t even heard of. The book also helps the reader deal with the various ups and downs that come with running a startup.
Get to Aha: Discover your positioning
Among other things, the author Andy Cunningham played a key role in launching the original Mac in ’84. That itself should tell you about how much you should read this book, which talks about getting to answer a few basic questions, before starting the branding process of your product. In fact, most companies straightaway jump to launch themselves, without figuring out their DNA. This book talks about how you should find out, what your company’s DNA is, and leverage it effectively to create a marketing strategy that will outclass the competition.
By the time you complete this book, you’ll be empowered with the right guidance on creating a product that people would want to use. This book contains case studies on popular SaaS startups and interviews with founders, enabling the reader to develop a data-driven mindset using lean methodology. You’ll get useful advice on validating your idea, finding the right audience, knowing what exactly to make, deciding on the pricing part, and figuring out how to make sure that your product reaches its target segment.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
This book will surprise you and make your heads turn, as you realize the psychology behind why people say “yes”. The author, Dr. Robert Cialdini, researched for more than 35 years on people’s behaviors and then came up with this book. This is a book of a lifetime that will help you immensely with sales & marketing.
Crossing the Chasm
It’s been more than 25 years since the book was first written and it is still the de facto standard in entrepreneurial marketing. According to the book, whenever any new type of product is launched, there are 5 stages of user types in the technology adoption life cycle – innovators, visionaries, pragmatists, late majority, and laggards. The first two types form roughly 16% of all users; they are those who want to try new things. When you cross over that stage, that’s called crossing the “chasm”, into users who want complete working solutions. The book talks about various techniques that can be used by disrupters to cross the “chasm” and make their product a success.
Image source: “Crossing the Chasm” Summary and Review by West Stringfellow
From Impossible to Inevitable
We know that 90% of startups fail, and then there are 10% of startups that do exceedingly well. This book will help you land up in that 10% and achieve hyper-growth for your business. Often called the “growth bible” of the valley, it’ll empower you to grow your SaaS startup much faster, by following patterns used by the most successful companies. If you ever thought that your dreams were impossible to achieve, then this book will change your thinking for good. Of course, you’ll realize that any success is never overnight and involves a lot of hard work and planning.
The Hard Things About Hard Things
A blunt, no-holds-barred book based on the author’s own experiences of starting and running SaaS startups (and also funding them). It’s not about how to start your own company – it is about what happens when the initial charm of getting tagged as an entrepreneur gets over and the real challenges start coming in. The market is flooded with tonnes of books on starting a business, and very few ones on maintaining it. This one is of the latter type and a must-read, even before you startup, so that you can avoid making the mistakes most people do when running their own venture.
Obstacle is the way
If you ever wanted to give up, after facing setbacks, then this book is a definite read. Based on an old Roman philosophy of stoicism, it talks about how to turn adversity into your greatest advantage, and not to get bogged down by unexpected challenges.
Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less
The book covers the topic of Essentialism, which is about doing just the right things. Neither too many, neither too less. Just the ones which create value. It enables the reader to manage their time and pursuits better, by remaining focused on the things that matter for the success of their lives as well as business.
We’re a Pre-Seed Venture fund based in Atlanta. If you’re a SaaS founder of color (Black or Latinx) and are looking to get funded, then reach out to us. With a focus on the future of work, health, finance and media sectors; we provide all the necessary mentoring to make your startup succeed. If you have any questions, send them in the comments box below.