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What if you could gain two years’ of life experience and wisdom within only a few hours? It would certainly transform the way you manage your business and lead your team. The key to gaining this knowledge is as simple as picking up a book. On average, a book represents two years of life experience for its author (Mark Batterson in Whisper). Let’s dive into some great reads to grow your catering or event business.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

If you manage events or run a catering company, you may be thinking that the title of this book could be the description of your work life! But what if, apart from your stomach grumbling, a consistency in your career was strong, cohesive teams made up of people who will go the extra mile and are genuinely happy doing it? In Leaders Eat Last, Sinek explores what makes for strong team culture and how leaders can put their employees first to create unbelievable cohesiveness.

Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert's Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You'd Rather Stay Home) by Morra Aarons-Mele

One of the keys to a successful business is strong relationships, whether they be with business partners, suppliers, customers or employees. This book provides advice, practical takeaways and applicable exercises for the business owner or manager who wants to make their mark without losing their mind in the constant hustle to climb the ladder. Aarons-Mele also includes dozens of stories of successful entrepreneurs and leaders who have found success on their terms.

Ben and Jerry’s: The Inside Scoop by Fred “Chico” Lager

Can you start a business with $5? Or completely change from one product to another? The captivating story about the creation of America’s favorite ice cream company will have you answering “yes!” You’ll learn how Ben and Jerry’s went from humble beginnings in a renovated gas station to one of the most successful and well-known food brands. While the story will keep you turning the pages, you’ll also find inspiration for whatever stage your company is at.

Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

You may wonder why I’d include a book that delves into crime waves, Paul Revere and the American Revolution, and Sesame Street among my recommendations to help grow your business. Tipping Point is all about the power of new ideas that challenge the status quo and give rise to successes. As a catering business owner or event guru, you want to be known for innovation and experiences that guests will tell others about. As he dives into social movements, Gladwell illustrates how ideas have unlimited potential to challenge established niches. He’ll help you to see how executing your ideas can create sweeping change that your competition won’t be expecting.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown

Brené Brown describes leaders as “anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas and has the courage to develop that potential.” Brown demonstrates how leading with courage has transformed every type of organization from the smallest teams to huge multi-national corporations. She backs up her theories with research, stories, and examples from her work with countless organizations.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Charles Duhigg’s book has received countless accolades and been applauded for helping readers to be more productive, achieve new successes, and replace bad habits with good ones. By illustrating how to recognize our patterns, Duhigg shows readers how to leverage the power of good habits or finally break through old hang-ups to reach new goals, both personally and professionally.

Finding the time

And speaking of habits, how do you make reading a consistent one? With a to-do list that’s not getting any shorter, it can seem impossible to squeeze in some reading time. Here are some quick and easy tips!

•Listen to your books. Use your commute, time spent doing housework or working out as an opportunity to learn. Audiobooks are the perfect way to learn something as you complete daily tasks.

•Take back your downtime. If you’re waiting for an appointment or for a meeting to begin, pull out your book and get a couple pages in. If you need to delete social media from your phone to make this one a habit, do it!

•Schedule a meeting with yourself. This one’s hard but the payoff can be huge. We all know the importance of taking breaks, going for a walk, or simply getting away from the computer. Schedule in a meeting with yourself –grab a coffee and spend a few minutes reading instead of rushing back to your desk. You’ll return refreshed but also with some new ideas from your “meeting”.

•Want an overview of a book before diving in? Subscribe to some podcasts. Authors make the rounds to popular podcasts to promote their new offerings. A podcast is a great way to get a high-level glimpse of the book before diving in.

•Use the time you’ll save with an online staff scheduler. Quickstaff will save you from endless streams of emails, confusing scheduling spreadsheets, and sticky notes filled with reminders, ideas, and lists. Let Quickstaff keep your staffing and scheduling organized so that you can invest time to read and develop your professional skills. After all, every book finished is two years of life experience – you’ll be a seasoned pro in no time. Start your free 14-day trial and enjoy your extra time!