9 Must-Read Books for Business Owners

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The best franchise owners fill their free time with plenty of learning and development work, and books can be a fantastic way to grow as a business owner. Here are nine of the most useful books you can read if you’re serious about being successful in the franchising world.


If you’ve suddenly found yourself with a bit more free time, or just fancy getting away from screens in the evenings, there are loads of great books out there for ambitious business owners. Whether you want to learn the basics of running your own business, improve a particular skill or need inspiration through tough times, here are nine of our must-read books.

Books for new franchisees

1. 101 Questions to Ask Before You Invest In A Franchise by Dr. John P. Hayes

Just starting out? This newbie’s bible from franchising guru Dr. John P. Hayes, who is the director of the Titus Centre for Franchising in Florida, will prove invaluable. It covers every question you need to ask yourself, your business partners, advisers and even your franchisor, before you begin your journey. The book is aimed at those just starting out in franchising, but it’s an excellent resource if you’re moving from owning an independent business to becoming a franchisee.


2. The Franchise MBA by Nick Neonakis

The Franchise MBA might have been published back in 2007, but there’s a reason why it’s still featured on many must-read lists. This guide suits every kind of franchisee, from those just starting out to ambitious and experienced ones looking to continually improve their business. Learn more about the four essential skills you need to develop to succeed, as well as the legal and financial side of becoming a franchisee.

Books to improve your business skills

3. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This often referenced gem came out in 1936, but it’s still a vital tool if marketing and networking don’t come naturally to you. Carnegie shows you how to charm even the trickiest people into opening their hearts and wallets using simple but effective tactics. If you do more of your networking online, the follow up, How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie’s training academy, shows you how to win people over just as effectively using the web.

4. Eat that Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy

This book isn’t about how eating amphibians can make you a better business owner (we don’t recommend that either). Instead, it outlines how you can stop procrastinating and accomplish more with your time through a few simple strategies. The title, and key principle of Tracy’s book, comes from Mark Twain’s quote, “Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Basically, if you get the task you loathe out of the way straight away, you’re on to a winner.

5. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Always find yourself jumping between tasks and failing to accomplish much? Computer science professor Cal Newport sets out how you can train your mind to enter ‘deep focus’, so you can get more done in less time. If you’re looking for a total procrastination refresh or relish a challenge that will make you seriously change your habits, this could be the book that puts you on the path to success. It’s not for the faint-hearted (tips include deleting your personal social media altogether and practicing being bored to build mental resilience) but promises fantastic results for those who can commit.

Books to inspire you

6. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Nike’s notoriously introverted founder offers a rare glimpse into how he turned his company into a global behemoth in this fascinating read. His tips on leadership, strategy and getting results are woven into the tale of how he turned a $50 (£40) loan from his father into a $50 billion (£40 billion) company. If that hasn’t convinced you, Bill Gates has named the book one of his must-reads.

7. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

When computer science professor Randy Pausch was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had to cut his esteemed career short, he gave one last lecture. Pausch’s thoughts on overcoming obstacles, truly seizing the moment and making dreams a reality, are inspiring to say the least and will give you a new sense of gratitude for life. If you’re going through a tough time, this book will give you a much-needed motivational boost.

Books to help you escape

8. The Undertaking: Life Studies from a Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch

Learn more about a world not many people get a glimpse into with this non-fiction book from Thomas Lynch. The renowned poet and undertaker explains what the world of undertaking is actually like in a way that’s fascinating and poignant without being depressing. Even if you’re not interested in opening a funeral home (we get it’s a pretty niche ambition), his beautiful writing style will take you away from the day’s stresses.


9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Cult-classic novel The Alchemist has sold millions of copies and has been translated in 67 languages. Almost 15 years on from its release, it still dominates many must-read lists, and for good reason. The seemingly simple tale of a shepherd boy, Santiago, who travels the world and overcomes endless obstacles to find treasure, shows you how the key to your ultimate happiness could be right under your feet. It’s escapism at its finest and is a literary classic all dreamers should take time to read.

A reader lives a thousand lives …

We hope you find inspiration in any of these titles, and we’d love to hear some of your favourite books too. If you’d rather read about franchises, you’ll find everything from home care franchises to coffee shop franchises to van-based franchises in our UK franchise directory.

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