Books for Startups who want to manufacture responsibly overseas.

Mitti Ke Rang
7 min readApr 21, 2021


Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash
  1. Strategy Books for Startups

The Marketing Playbook gives marketers five strategy options, teaches you gap analysis, and offers tactical marketing campaign advice. Do More Faster identifies issues that first-time entrepreneurs encounter and offer useful advice. Getting Real is web-focused. Wasserman’s Founders Dilemma is essential reading to building a great startup team.

These books are classics but timeless. The Entrepreneurial Mindset articulates the critically important idea that there are different types of startup opportunities. The notion of three Market Types springs from here and Christensen’s work. The book provides a framework for the early marketing/sales strategies essential in a startup. Delivering Profitable Value talks more about value propositions and value delivery systems than you ever want to hear again. However, this is one of the books you struggle through and then realize you learned something valuable. Schumpeter’s book Theory of Economic Development is famous for his phrase “creative destruction” and its relevance to entrepreneurship. Peter Drucker’s Concept of the Corporation was the first insider’s view of how a decentralized company (GM) works. His Practice of Management defined “management by objective” and Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a classic. While written for a corporate audience, read it for the sources of innovation. If you write software you already know about Fred Brooks’s classic text the Mythical Man-Month. If you manage a software company you need to read it so you don’t act like Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss. Peppers and Rogers, The One to One Future opened my eyes to concepts of lifetime value, most profitable customers, and the entire customer lifecycle of “get, keep and grow.” Bill Davidow’s Marketing High Technology introduced me to the concept of “whole product” and the unique needs of mainstream customers. Michael Porter is the father of competitive strategy. His books Competitive Strategy, Competitive Advantage, and On Competition are still the standards.

2. Startups Entering a Regulated Market

Regulated marketplaces are ones that have significant government regulation to promote (ostensibly) the public interest. In theory, regulations exist to protect the public interest for the benefit of all citizens. In a regulated market, the government controls how products and services are allowed to enter the market, what prices may be charged, what features the product/service must have, the safety of the product, environmental regulations, labor laws, domestic/foreign content, etc.

If you’re a startup trying to disrupt an existing business you need to read

3. Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Enterprise

How large companies can stay innovative and entrepreneurial has been the Holy Grail for authors of business books, business schools, consulting firms, etc. There’s some great work from lots of authors in this area but I’d start by reading the other side of innovation. Next, I’d read The Alchemy of Growth to understand the three horizons of innovation and The Future of Management and consider its implications. Rita McGrath’s The End of Competitive Advantage shows companies how to take advantage of transient competitive advantage. Stanley McChrystal's Team of Teams is a real-world example of chapter 6 of the Four Steps to the Epiphany. Ed Catmull’s description of the Pixar innovation process in Creativity, Inc is a great synthesis of how founders in startup innovation translated into a corporate continuous innovation process.

4. Marketing Communications Books

I put some books here because great marketers know how to find these irrational behaviors Lakoff’s book, Don’t Think of an Elephant! while written for a political audience has some valuable insights on framing communications.

5. Sales/Marketing

Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments is a detailed guide to A/B testing from the guys who ran it at Amazon and Google. Lean Analytics is a great discussion about metrics that matter for web/mobile startups. Predictable Revenue is one of those short, smart, tactical books that you need to read if you have a direct sales force. Thomas Freese is the master of consultative selling. Both his books are a great start in understanding how a pro sells. Cracking the Sales Management Code provides a best practice approach to how to effectively manage a sales force. Jeff Thull’s Mastering the Complex Sale has a lot of elements of Customer Discovery and Validation. Many of the ideas of Customer Validation are based on the principles articulated by Bosworth, Heiman, and Rackham. Bostworth’s Solution Selling and its successor, The New Solution Selling are must-reads for any executive launching a new product. Its articulation of the hierarchy of buyers' needs as well its description of how to get customers to articulate their needs, makes this a “must-read”, particularly those selling to businesses. Heiman’s books are a bit more tactical and are part of a comprehensive sales training program from his company Miller-Heiman. If you are in sales or have a sales background you can skip these. But if you aren’t they are all worth reading for the basic “blocking and tackling” advice. The only bad news is that Heiman writes like a loud salesman — but the advice is sound. Rackham’s Spin Selling is another series of books about the major account, large ticket item sales, with again the emphasis on selling the solution, not features. Let's Get Real is of the Sandler School of selling (another school of business-to-business sales methodology.) Jill Konrath has great strategies and insights for large sales. Baseline Selling uses baseball metaphors but it’s an effective explanation of how to do consultative selling. I sure could have used the Complete Idiots Guide to Cold Calling when it was just me and the telephone. The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing provides a great framework for thinking about “how much should I charge for this?”

Contributed By- Aastha Soni, Content Writer at Mitti Ke Rang

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