We’re all living with a changed economy and new rules for how we do business. The major themes in Small Town Rules are recognized by many other authors, including Gary Vaynerchuk and Tony Hseih.
To round out your reading on these new rules, we’ve put together an Amazon list of complementary books:
1. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary V. comes from a family of small town business owners, and he understands the relationship base we all have to work from now. He focuses in on the element of gratitude, one we could all stand to spend more time on.
2. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
Tony recognizes several elements of the new economy: relationships with customers and employees, personal connection, and the similarity to small town businesses.
3. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
Being prepared for disasters is a survival trait in today’s economy. For a view into a previous market bubble and bust cycle, look at the wheat markets of the early 1900’s and how it lead up to the Dust Bowl.
4. A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative by Roger VonOech
Learning to question assumptions is necessary when all the old business assumptions are being disrupted. Anything from Roger von Oech is recommended to help you learn to think in different ways.
5. How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins
Jim Collins has a terrific understanding of the need for planning for zero. There will be times, perhaps even months or years, when your income is nothing. How will your business survive? Collins knows.
6. Lean Startup by Eric Ries
This economy calls for frugality and spending brainpower before spending money. Eric Ries shares practical experience in applying frugality to startup businesses.
7. Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It by Amy Cortese
When the traditional lending dries up, businesses have to look at alternative funding sources. Cortese offers information on alternative financing, including community development financial institutions (CDFI), direct public offerings (DPO), cooperatives, and crowdfunding.
8. Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need by Steven D. Strauss
More creative funding, alternatives to bank loans. In an economy where bank loans are a certainty (certain NOT to happen), business needs other ways to get the money they need.
9. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crowdsourcing by Aliza Sherman
Aliza Sherman introduces fundraising from crowds, including peer-to-peer lending, project fundraising, and for-profit funding.
The changes in the world of business parallel those in the shipping world, and the changes in shipping have actually driven much of the change to the economy. The loss of geographic advantage plays out on multiple fronts in Levinson’s story.
11. The Cluetrain Manifesto: 10th Anniversary Edition by Christopher Locke
The Manifesto declares, “A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.” This is a place where it all started.
12. B-A-M! Bust A Myth: Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World by Barry J. Moltz
When almost everything is a commodity, this book shows how customer service is the new marketing. Yeah, Barry is co-author on this book, too, but it’s still a good one. ;)
13. Online Community Management For Dummies (For Dummies (Computers)) by Deborah Ng
Today, every business finds itself in the business of building community. This is an in-depth guide to building community online for businesses, written by an experienced community manager.
14. Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson
From an experienced business duo, this guide helps you rethink everything you think you know about business, especially about size. The idea of staying small because it’s better than growing big challenges some long held assumptions, which is exactly what needs to be done.
15. All Business Is Local by John A. Quelch
Shop Local, Eat Local, local art, local travel, everything is local now. The local movement has the potential to be the biggest shift in society (read: your customers) in decades. Before you presume your business is ready, get a better view of how all business is reconnecting to local.
16. All Marketing Is Local: A common Sense Approach To Marketing Your Business by John D Meyer
Another look at the importance of local in all business, this one focused on the elements of marketing. After all, every customer is local to somewhere. Is your business local?
Put all these ideas together, and you get the Small Town Rules, our own book. Plan for zero, spend your brainpower before your money, cope with anywhere/anywhen technology, learn customer-driven communication, stay small to grow big, and build local connections.
Small towns are our learning lab, and successful small town businesses are the best model to thrive today.