1 (not boring) book on budgeting that has you taking out profit before expenses
A book that shows you how to structure your team when everything seems chaotic
Which book to pick up when you want to hire the right people to replace you
Where you can find information about a top tier interviewing system
2 Marketing and sales books that give you game changers to implement into your customer journey
The undisputed most effective book on leadership as voted by Breakthrough Academy members
Watch Episode 26 of the Contractor Evolution ShoW
Listen to Episode 4
Read a Summary of Episode 26
We have a saying at Breakthrough Academy: Leaders are Readers. Why? Because whatever challenge you’re facing right now, somebody has already solved it – and chronicled their solution in a book.
This episode is dedicated to our must-read list, and we’re targeting six areas of business that we think are under-systemized, super important, but difficult to master.
Let’s dive in.
TOP 10 Books For Contractors (Organized BY TOPIC)
Budgeting & Financial Tracking
If you don’t have a clear picture of your financials, it’s like driving a car on a windy road in fog.
1. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine, by Mike Michalowicz
You’ve heard it before: you pay your employees and suppliers, settle expenses, and then take whatever’s left over. But Mike Michalowicz completely reverses this pattern. His book will show you how to set up your financials in a way that automates profit and pays you before everyone and everything else.
Business by nature is multi disciplinary, with lots of people great at different things. But your team needs to operate in a coordinated fashion for your company to be successful, and that’s difficult to quarterback.
2. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, by Gino Wickman
This book is really popular among our contractor members because it lays out exactly how to get your team back on track and move towards a predetermined goal.
3. The E-Myth Contractor: Why Most Contractors’ Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E, Gerber
If you find yourself working to the point where you feel drained, then you own a job, not a business. And that’s what the myth E-Myth addresses. This book shows you how to become an entrepreneur and close the gap between where your business is and where you want it to be in the future.
Recruiting & Hiring
Finding team players is difficult; retaining them is even harder. There are two great books our contracting leaders love that address this specific issue.
4. Who: The ‘A’ Method For Hiring, by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
Who discusses the importance of looking for culture fit over education or skills. It also goes into detail about the importance of implementing a top tier interviewing system. Highly recommend this!
5. The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues, by Patrick M. Lencioni
Someone may be highly skilled, but if their ego won’t let them roll in the same direction as the rest of your team, you have a serious problem. This book defines the ideal team player as hungry, humble, and smart – it details how to assess these qualities in prospective employees.
Training & Onboarding
Training people takes time and $$. You want people to learn for long-term success (and not get frustrated).
6. Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less, by Sam Carpenter
If you spend your time constantly fighting fires, this book will teach you how to stop the chaos from happening – by tweaking your systems and giving you guiding principles from basic checklists to standard operating procedures.
7. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
This is one of my all-time favorite books. Made to Stick breaks down how to make your ideas sticky (memorable). It’s a must read, and it’s going to make your training sessions 10x better – and impact a bunch of other aspects of your business as well.
Sales & Marketing
Most construction companies suck at explaining who they are and what they do for their customers, and this hurts your ability to build trust (not to mention grow your brand).
8. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, by Donald Miller
I read this book 18 months ago and it has totally changed my life.
Miller says the best way to communicate your brand is by telling customers a story portraying them as heroes and your business as their guide. My sales team have implemented this and we’ve seen massive improvements in almost every metric we track.
9. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert B. Cialdini
Influence details 6 principles of persuasion that can influence human decisions almost automatically: Reciprocity, Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity. If you use these principles (and they’re easy to implement), I promise you will see your sales ratio soar.
Goal Setting & Execution
Running a business can be chaotic. Life is distracting. It’s easy for entrepreneurs to veer off course. Time to stay the course and get rid of the chaos.
10. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Jocko distills his lengthy career as a Navy SEAL commander down to 12 principles that couldn’t be more relevant to the busy lives of contractors. His lessons about prioritizing, executing, and checking your ego will help you block out the noise and lead your team out of chaos and into order. This is a must read.
We know you have only so many hours in a day but they are available as audiobooks too, so great to listen to in the truck. You may be surprised by the impact they have on you and your business.