Expand Your Business Skills with the Right Books and Websites
What You Read Can Affect Your Attitude, Managerial Skills and Business Results
As a pharmacist or pharmacy owner, it is vital to stay abreast of changes in the industry that can impact patient care and reimbursements. However, small business expert Tom Shay, who spoke to pharmacy owners at McKesson ideaShare 2014, advises independent pharmacy owners to take some time to also read things that can make them better managers and business owners. In particular, Shay recommended reading credible books about business, particularly books about small business.
Great business books are timeless and not based on short-term trends. They tend to provide a deep focus on a particular area, such as strategy, marketing or customer service. These books can be inspiring and uplifting; they can spark ideas that pharmacy owners can act on immediately. Outstanding business books will help owners think more broadly — not just as a pharmacist, but as a business owner and a retailer.
Tom Shay’s Favorite Business Books
On Shay’s website he lists over 200 recommended business books for small business owners, with a link to order these books from Powell’s Books, a leading independent bookstore. Books are broken into several categories, and Shay highlights 17 favorites. The categories and his particular favorite books are:
- Business strategy: The Agenda by Michael Hammer, Becoming Preferred by Michael Vickers, and The Big Moo by The Group of 33
- Customer service: Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles, and Solution Selling by Michael T. Bosworth
- Management: The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber, and The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn
- Marketing: Fish! by Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen; The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore; Marketing Warfare by Al Ries and Jack Trout; and Predatory Marketing by C. Britt Beemer
- Merchandising: Call of the Mall by Paco Underhill
- Staff management: It’s OK to Ask ‘Em to Work by Frank McNair; Motivating the “What’s in it for me” Workforce by Cam Marston; Please Don’t Just Do What I Tell You! by Bob Nelson; and W*A*Y*M*I*S*H by Ray Considine and Ted Cohn
- Store design and strategy: Why We Buy by Paco Underhill
In addition to books, there are a wealth of other information sources that can help pharmacy owners learn from other successful entrepreneurs and business people. Excellent sources of small business insights include:
- OPEN Forum from American Express. This is an advice-sharing platform where entrepreneurs and small business owners share insights and exchange advice. There are online conversations on numerous topics of interest and relevance to small business owners, such as marketing and technology.
- Harvard Business Review. Articles, blogs, case studies, and more addressing today’s most important business and managerial topics. It is read by the corporate elite, but many of the topics on effective managerial practices are applicable to owners of small businesses. (Many of the authors of the books recommended by Shay have published articles in HBR.)
- magazine and Inc.com. Articles, profiles, and advice on topics of interest to entrepreneurs and leaders of growing companies.
In addition to the recommended books on his site, Shay publishes a series of articles titled Small Business Advisory. These articles (and there are hundreds on his site) deal with the wide range of operational, financial and marketing issues faced by every small business.
These are just a few sources of general business information that pharmacy owners can be inspired by, learn from, and get ideas from that can be reapplied in an independent retail pharmacy.
So, don’t just get your information from the mainstream media and don’t just read healthcare or pharmacy publications. Broaden your horizons and improve your own managerial skills by reading about successful entrepreneurs and small businesses from other industries.
What will you read today?
Please share with us your favorite information sources, business books, magazines, articles and websites.