“Best” Business Planning Books

Sections of this topic

    Finding a good business plan book can be overwhelming. Type “business planning guide” into Amazon and you’ll get almost 5000 citations. Your local bookstore or library is more selective, but it’s still hard to sort through them.

    And, truth be told, there’s no one book for everybody. So, for that reason, we’ve listed the “best” business planning books in three categories. (Full disclosure: I’m the author of the last book.)

    “Best” General Business Planning Book

    The Ernst & Young Business Plan Guide by Brian Ford, Jay Boorstein, and Patrick Pruitt (2007), is a solid, competent book that will help you create a solid, competent business plan. Written by accountants, it might not be inspiring, but it’s a good “how to” book for getting started.

    “Best” Business Planning Book for Finding Investors

    There are two books in this category. Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur, by Dermot Berkery (2008), is a comprehensive guide on how to attract investment dollars. Written for a business school class, it’s thorough to a fault (all 288 pages worth), but you’ll find it worth the time you spend reading it.

    Angel Financing for Entrepreneurs, by Susan Preston (2007) describes how to create a compelling ten minute PowerPoint presentation to attract angel investors. It’s also used in business school classes, but does not address how to write a business plan; for that, you’ll need one of the other books too.

    “Best” Business Planning Book for Social Enterprise

    Venture Forth! by Rolfe Larson (2002). Endorsed by Paul Newman of Newman’s Own, this book provides instructions on how to write a compelling and complete business plan, and includes detailed examples and case studies. Written for nonprofits, it’s been used by numerous for-profit entrepreneurs as well.


    For more resources, see our Library topic Business Planning.

    Copyright © 2010 Rolfe Larson Associates – Fifteenth Anniversary, 1995 – 2010
    Author of Venture Forth! Endorsed by the late Paul Newman of Newman’s Own
    Read my weekly blogs on Social Enterprise and Business Planning