Starting and running a small business is the dream of many budding entrepreneurs, but the reality is often daunting, and frequently ends in disappointment and even failure. New businesses need to deal with a myriad of issues, from securing capital and formulating a business plan, right down to the nuts and bolts of crunching numbers and getting a handle on cash flow.
With literally thousands of books about small business finance, there is no lack of information readily available. In this brief review of the literature, we’ll take a look at a few of the best ones on bookshelves today.
1) Small Business Cash Flow:
Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success by Denise O’Berry
Starting with the premise that many small business owners do not fully understand the importance of maintaining proper cash flow, Denise O’Berry covers the basics for the new entrepreneur in his book Small Business Cash Flow. After an introductory chapter about “understanding cash,” Berry stresses the importance of finding the right accountant and using accounting tools, with an easily referenced section on “accounting terms you need to know.”
Also included are chapters on budget making and monitoring, pricing strategies, and different marketing options. Finally, the author concludes with a “Resources” chapter filled with everything from financing advice to business improvement action plans, business plan augmentation, and more.
2) Financial Management 101:
Get a Grip on Your Business Numbers by Angie Mohr
Believing in the importance of the basics of business management, Angie Mohr’s Financial Management 101 covers business planning from budgeting, to marketing, to understanding financial statements. This easy-to-read guide to small business planning and management is the perfect introduction for entrepreneurs looking to learn how to analyze their business from the inside out, paying attention to understanding, measuring, and monitoring the business’s financial results.
Using the fictitious “Joe’s Plumbing” as a case study, Mohr shows some of the real world challenges faced by a typical small business, including bad record keeping, uncertain cash flow, and low profit margins. And she shows how to address these common pitfalls with easy to follow, concrete examples. This book helps the reader understand and process the mass of information and paperwork of any business, and how to use that information to ensure a growing business.
3) Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur:
Blueprint for Building a Solid, Profitable Business by Sylvia Inks
Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur is a practical guide that offers step-by-step instructions and details specific actions that will help any small business understand the key components of maintaining a profitable business. Using case studies from real entrepreneurs, Inks illustrates key concepts with both positive and negative examples, showing how decisions and actions play out in a real world business.
Also included is a section featuring “21 Best Business Practices,” an easily reference list including specific practices that help with everything from cash flow management to saving time and money on tax preparation.
4) Finance Your Own Business:
Get on the Financing Fast Track by Garrett Sutton and Gerri Detweiler
Clearly focused on securing funding for a business, Finance Your Own Business shows readers the right way to go about obtaining financing and building a strong business credit rating. This book features clearly written sections on obtaining business credit cards and small business loans, exploring unique financing strategies particular to your business model, and even a section on the pros and cons of crowdfunding.
Readers will also learn the secrets of micro lenders, how to get an SBA loan, and about the risks of using retirement and real estate holdings for financing. The authors also include some cautionary information about financing scams to avoid, as well as a “Business Credit Resource Guide” with valuable contacts to help build business credit.
5) Financial Intelligence:
A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean by Karen Berman
For managers with no real background in finance, Financial Intelligence is a “must read,” offering what Inc. magazine calls one of “the best, clearest guides to the numbers” available today. In the newest, revised edition, Karen Berman guides the reader through the basics of business finance, illustrating with real life stories just what the numbers mean, and why they’re important.
With sections on both fundamental financial and accounting literacy, as well as the ramifications of the financial crisis, Berman uses jargon-free and easily understood language to help readers comprehend the subtleties behind the numbers, and to use that understanding to bring their business to the next level.
6) Financial Management for the Small Business by Colin Barrow
The most common cause of small business failure stems from various aspects of poor financial control, the direct result of not having a good grasp on the basics of financial literacy. Financial Management for the Small Business aims to address this issue for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs, with a comprehensive and easy to read primer.
Beginning with the fundamentals of understanding financial statements, Barrow illustrates how to use the tools of financial analysis to successfully control any business, old or new. Also included are in-depth sections on business planning and budgeting, concepts vital to the health and expansion of any business.
7) Just Run It!:
Running an Exceptional Business is Easier Than You Think by Dick Cross
With many new entrepreneurs struggling to convert their dreams into successful enterprises, Dick Cross notes that the reason so many fail is not for lack of effort, ideas, or even ingenuity, but rather a lack of knowledge about the fundamentals of effective, day in/day out business operations. Just Run It! seeks to address this lack of knowledge by detailing the nuts and bolts of daily operations against the backdrop of the bigger picture of how to achieve business success.
Having helped dozen of companies turn around their struggling businesses, Cross has seen a pattern to the struggles and crafted a “Vision-Strategy-Execution” set of exercises to help entrepreneurs persevere. Also included are sections on Financial reporting, leadership and management, communication skills, and teamwork designed to inspire confidence in new skills.
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