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5 Books Every Veteran Small Business Owner Should Read
| StreetShares Blog

By StreetShares on February 1, 2018



Veteran business owners and military spouse business owners need mentors who can give them great advice. Thankfully, books can be those mentors that help drive their mission forward. Here are five we heartily recommend:

1) Rise: The Veteran’s Field Manual for Staring Your Own Business & Conquering the Online Economy by Wes O’Donnell

Rise: The Veteran’s Field Manual for Starting Your Own Business & Conquering the Online EconomyWhat it’s about: 
Military veteran and entrepreneur Wes O’Donnell provides step by step instructions for veterans looking to start their own business. The book is full of tips and detailed, real world examples—and an awesome appendix filled with veteran-specific business resources.

Why we love it: 
We believe veterans make natural entrepreneurs and are an invaluable asset to any business. We love O’Donnell’s honesty as he shares events from his experience—including embarrassing mistakes he made in his own business.

Best quote: 
“Being an entrepreneur is like jumping out of an airplane and assembling your parachute on the way down.”

2) Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

Start Something That Matters.jpgWhat it’s about:
Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, believes no one should have to choose between earning a living, pursuing their passions, or devoting themselves to inspiring causes—it can happen right now. Blake outlines six simple keys for transforming your life or your business to build something that has a positive impact on society.

Why we love it: 
Blake’s chapter on storytelling is the inspiration behind why we believe every veteran-owned small business' story should be heard. We believe in the power of stories to engage audiences to take action and make an impact in their communities, nation, and world. For any veteran-owned small business seeking to make a social impact, this is a must read.

Best quote: 
“When you have a memorable story about who you are and what your mission is, your success no longer depends on how experienced you are or how many degrees you have or who you know. A good story transcends boundaries, breaks barriers, and opens doors. It is a key not only to starting a business but also to clarifying your own personal identity and choices.”

Get a Free eBook: The Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses

3) The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup.jpgWhat it’s about:
Eric Ries defines a startup as “an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” In this book, Eric seeks to help startups navigate the fog of uncertainty surrounding their business and proposes ways to shorten product development cycles of a business to reduce market risks and expensive product launches or failures. 

Why we love it: 
If you run your own small business, regardless of how long it’s been around, uncertainty is the one thing you can be certain of. Eric’s hypothesis on testing your ideas before you bank on them is critical to any business striving to expand and bring creative, innovative solutions to the market.

Best quote: 
“What differentiates the success stories from the failures is that the successful entrepreneurs had the foresight, the ability, and the tools to discover which parts of their plans were working brilliantly and which were misguided, and adapted their strategies accordingly.”

4) The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The Hard Thing About Hard Things.pngWhat it’s about:
Ben Horowitz, co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, believes in giving the honest truth about how difficult it is to run a business. Ben shares his experiences and insights from the years he’s spent developing, managing, selling, buying, and investing in tech companies.

Why we love it: 
We all need tough love sometimes. For any vet owned business or military spouse business owner looking to scale his or her business or become a better leader, this book provides a brutally honest picture of how hard—and rewarding—it can be at times.

Best quote: 
“Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, ‘That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation.’ The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal. The hard thing isn’t hiring great people. The hard thing is when those ‘great people’ develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things. The hard thing isn’t setting up an organizational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organization that you just designed. The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.”

5) The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank

The Four Steps to the Epiphany.jpgWhat it’s about: 
This is a must read for any tech-focused veteran-owned small business. On the scene of the Silicon Valley tech boom since the 1970s, Steve outlines his guidelines for organizing sales and marketing, discovering flaws, and testing the assumptions in your small business.

Why we love it: 
We can be blind to the flaws in our product or service, that’s why Steve’s recommendations of rapid iteration and testing out ideas is an integral part of our company culture at StreetShares.

Best quote: 
“My advice was to start a policy of making reversible decisions before anyone left the meeting or the office. In a startup, it doesn’t matter if you’re 100 percent right 100 percent of the time. What matters is having forward momentum and a tight fact-based data/metrics feedback loop to help you quickly recognize and reverse any incorrect decisions. That’s why startups are agile. By the time a big company gets the committee to organize the subcommittee to pick a meeting date, your startup could have made 20 decisions, reversed five of them and implemented the 15 that worked.”

Bonus Video:

In "The Four Steps to Epiphany," Steve Blank also talks about doing your research on your customer all of the time, before, during and after a product launch. In this short video of the Veteran Business Minutes, we explain why understanding your customer is so important.


Get a Free eBook: The Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses

The five books above give veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs mentorship to get started with building a business. We've developed our own resource guide just for veteran business owners. "The Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses" is a resource eBook that lists dozens of resources to education, training, networking groups, accelorators and a complete section to learn about the basics of small business funding. Join thousands of veteran business owners who have downloaded the eBook to get started.

Get the Ultimate Guide for Veteran-owned Small Businesses

Topics: Veteran Small Business