Jenn Haines: 3 Books Every Retailer Should Read

August 23, 2017 | 3 min to read

By Jenn Haines, owner of The Dragon

You all know this: the job of the small business owner never ends.

Even after leaving the store, we're thinking and processing and trying to find new ways to innovate. We're figuring out how to get more customers, how to get those customers to spend more money, how to reduce overhead. How to get to where we can actually go home and have time for ourselves.

Thankfully, there are experts in retail and marketing out there who have written books that can help.

Here are three that will inspire you to think about things in a different way, and give you the tools and knowledge you need to make the changes to grow your business:

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

Inside us are three people: the Technician, the Manager, and the Entrepreneur.

Most small businesses start with The Technician at the helm—they open a game store because they know and love the product. The Manager is obsessed with systems and processes. The Entrepreneur sees the big picture, has goals for the future, and structures every decision around reaching those goals.

Gerber's thesis is that, by embracing the Entrepreneur, you can work on your business, rather than in your business—you can focus on executing your long-term vision, rather than the day-to-day details.

Admittedly, the book is short on concrete instruction on how to achieve this. But it does tell you what the reality should be, and motivates you to reach it. If you can cut through Gerber's odd way of writing, you'll find a lot of inspiration to examine your business through a different lens.

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill

This one is an absolute must-read.

Paco Underhill is one of the foremost marketing consultants in the world, and his book gives you concrete examples of how shelf layouts, colors, and aisles will change how people shop in your store.

He'll explain, in easily-executable detail, how to increase sales by changing your store layout—from making aisles wide enough to avoid the "butt-brush" to making sure you have a “landing strip” at the entrance of your store. I reference this book constantly.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk

This book blew my mind.

Social media is one way that we, as small business owners, have a huge advantage over big business. While big business is bogged down in bureaucracy, we can get our message out there when it's most relevant and can have the most benefit. And Vaynerchuk will tell you how to do that.

He walks through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest, with clear and concise instructions to develop your social media presence, including examples of good and bad content. Sure, it's four years old at this point—a lifetime in social media. But the wealth of knowledge is staggering.

These three books have made me rethink everything about my operations, my physical layout, and my social media presence. Yes, it's a huge amount of work, but the alternative is floundering around in the dark. I've been at this for almost nineteen years, and I will never stop trying to improve what I've built.

I guarantee these three books will help you spearhead positive change in your business. But don't stop there! Keep gathering resources and learning from the experts!

Jenn Haines (B.Ed, M.A.) owns The Dragon in Guelph, Ontario. She is a recipient of the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award and the YMCA–YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Business category. She is also a board member of ComicsPro.

Wizards does not endorse, recommend, or make any representations with respect to the authors, books, or views expressed therein as mentioned in this posting.