I just finished reading Guy Kawasaki's 2010 book, The Art of the Start. Two words: succinct and poignant. In around 200 pages, he provides wisdom for anyone looking to start a business. The chapters are:
Chapter 1: The Art of Starting
Chapter 2: The Art of Positioning
Chapter 3: The Art of Pitching
Chapter 4: The Art of Writing a Business Plan
Chapter 5: The Art of Bootstrapping
Chapter 6: The Art of Recruiting
Chapter 7: The Art of Raising Capital
Chapter 8: The Art of Partnering
Chapter 9: The Art of Branding
Chapter 10: The Art of Rainmaking
Chapter 11: The Art of Being a Mensch
I tried to start a service business a few years ago. I was able to relate to many of his suggestions, recommendations and warnings. The reason my venture did not pan out was less in the idea but more in lacking a partner who shared in the vision. It was not a one man operation and in order to bootstrap it, required at least two people sharing the passion. This book would have helped me better addresses some of my concerns.
The book also is useful for new concepts from people working within larger firms; i.e., new product development especially in areas less-core to the current business.
I found it useful in my present role as an account rep. Working for a smaller firm and competing against larger players, it gave me some fodder for being a stronger competitor in our industry.
Business is not easy regardless of which firm you are with. Working harder, smarter and to a well-conceived plan is the only viable way one to achieve one's business goals.