10 essential books to help you grow your creative business

Growth is the biggest priority for any small business owner. But it’s never easy to win new clients, organise better processes or even find and hire the right staff.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

We’re often thrown in at the deep end, without any guidance or support. Thankfully, there are plenty of books on the very subject, offering much welcome insights on how to get started, how to run a successful business and find ways to flourish and grow.

Some of the following recommendations might lean more towards the startup culture, but all are decent reads that offer advice to suit any entrepreneur.

Whether you're a freelance graphic designer looking to build an agency or someone who has decided to go for it and sell their crafts online – get yourself stuck into any of the following key titles to help you achieve that essential business growth.

1. T-shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity by David Parrish

Successful creative enterprises integrate creativity and business. T-Shirts and Suits offers an approach that brings together both creative passion and industry best practices. Written in an engaging and jargon-free style, the book provides inspiration and appropriate advice for all those involved in running or setting up a creative business. Marketing, intellectual property, finance, competition, leadership - and more - are included in this guide.

2. Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up to Do Business with You by Daniel Priestley

Have you ever queued for a restaurant? Pre-ordered something months in advance? Fought for tickets that sell out in a day? Had a hairdresser with a six–month waiting list? Some people don′t chase clients, clients chase them. In a world of endless choices, why does this happen? Why do people queue up? Why do they pay more? Why will they book months in advance? Why are these people and products in such high demand? And how can you get a slice of that action?

In Oversubscribed, entrepreneur and bestselling author Daniel Priestley explains why and, most importantly, how. This book is a recipe for ensuring demand outstrips supply for your product or service, and you have scores of customers lining up to give you money.

3. Grow Your Service Firm by Robert Craven

A highly practical guide to help anyone run, market and grow their service business more effectively, this book is written with twenty years of experience of helping others make their businesses successful. It reveals how to present the benefits of your business to improve your leads, sales and profits.

4. Double Your Business: How to Break Through the Barriers to Higher Growth, Turnover and Profit (Financial Times Series) by Lee Duncan

Through his book, Double Your Business, author Lee Duncan shows you how to release rapid, dynamic growth. Including action plans which help you to overcome the barriers that may be holding your business back, and littered with case studies throughout, this guide acts as a blueprint for success, teaching you the fundamental principles of a successful high-performing business.

5. Online Business Startup: The entrepreneur’s guide to launching a fast, lean and profitable online venture by Robin Waite

Robin Waite's book isn't just a how-to guide in online marketing or SEO... it contains everything an experienced entrepreneur wished they had known before taking the plunge and starting a business. In a digital world where we are flooded with an endless stream of information, it can be challenging to understand the fundamentals of starting up and running a lean business. This book will ultimately answer the question of how to quickly implement proven strategies that cut through the noise and ensure success.

6. Entrepreneur Revolution: How to develop your entrepreneurial mindset and start a business that works by Daniel Priestley

The world is embarking on a new age. The age of the entrepreneur, the agile small business owner, the flexible innovator. The days of the industrial age are over. It's time to break free from the industrial revolution mindset, quit working so hard, follow your dream and make a fortune along the way. The slow dinosaurs of the industrial age are being outpaced by fast-moving startups, ambitious small businesses and technological innovators. Entrepreneur Revolution is a master class in gaining an entrepreneurial mindset, showing you how to change the way you think, the way you network, and the way you make a living. Successful entrepreneur Daniel Priestley will show you how to embrace the Entrepreneur Revolution and thrive in the new age.

7. Hack the Entrepreneur: How to Stop Procrastinating, Build a Business, and Do Work That Matters by Jon Nastor

In Hack the Entrepreneur: How to Stop Procrastinating, Build a Business, and Do Work That Matters, Jonny Nastor will be your personal mastermind, coach, and mentor as he guides you to become a success. With a whole chapter dedicated to 'growth', you can expect to learn how to take yourself, your ideas and your business to the next level. A must!

8. The Business Side of Creativity: The Comprehensive Guide to Starting and Running a Small Graphic Design or Communications Business by Cameron S. Foote

For over a decade, The Business Side of Creativity has remained the authoritative guide to setting up and running a small creative organisation. This updated and expanded edition revises the best-selling classic to include even more facts, tips, strategies, and advice for beginning creatives.

Hailed by reviewers as the creative business "bible," The Business Side of Creativity is the most comprehensive business companion available to freelance graphic designers, art directors, illustrators, copywriters, and agency or design-shop principals. Cameron S. Foote, a successful entrepreneur and editor of the Creative Business newsletter, guides you step-by-step through the process of successful self-employment-all the way from getting launched as a freelancer to running a multiperson shop to retiring comfortably-and everything in between.

9. Grow Your Digital Agency by Robert Craven

Discover the business fundamentals that every growing agency needs to address. Free from business nonsense and to the point, this book offers you tools, tips and techniques to answer the fundamental questions: Where are you now? Where are you going? How are you going to get there?

Based on working with successful marketing and digital agencies, Grow Your Digital Agency gets to the heart of what it takes to create a sustainable and profitable digital agency. You will come away knowing how to: create a profitable, deliverable strategy for the agency; identify and win better clients; lead the team you work with and run the business you’ve always wanted to run. If you are ready to take your agency to the next level, you need this book.

10. The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that's being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built, and new products are launched. This book is about learning what your customers really want. It's about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it's too late. Now is the time to think lean.


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