Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions” by John Kotter with Holger Rathgeber (St. Martin’s Press, 2006, $19.95 hardcover, also available on CD)

Change in a company is never easy. It could be a significant shift in the business plan to turn around sinking profit margins; or, maybe it’s something less dramatic, such as switching from upright vacuums to backpack models. Whatever the case, it’s certain that every staff member won’t immediately support the new decisions.

That’s where “Our Iceberg is Melting” can help. In this short book, author John Kotter outlines an eight-step process to successful change told through a cute fable about penguins. As the title suggests, the penguins’ iceberg is melting, but while some group members embrace change, plenty of others live in denial and need coaxing to support the approaching lifestyle changes.

Business owners could easily skip the penguins and jump straight to the eight steps to learn how to effectively implement change in their own companies. However, they’ll be better off to have all company employees read the story, then meet to discuss the book’s points as a group. As Kotter points out, change requires involvement from the entire staff, not just upper management.

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)” by Seth Godin (Penguin Group Inc., 2007, $12.95 hardcover)

Wondering if it’s time to expand business into a neighboring state, or if switching to green cleaning products is the right course to take? If building service contractors are questioning any activity in their company, then it’s time to read Seth Godin’s “The Dip.”

What is the dip? It’s the hard work that separates a mediocre company from being an industry player. Those who survive the dip will come out the other side a success.

According to Godin, if business owners are not going to be the best, then it’s time to quit. For BSCs, no they don’t have to be the best in the world, or even the best in the country. Rather, they need to be the best in their determined market — i.e., the best BSC offering green cleaning. If an owner sets out just to be average, he won’t survive the dip. He’s better off quitting now before wasting more time and resources.

The book is designed to help determine whether it’s time to quit or stay the course, and at 80 pages, business owners can find out pretty quickly which way to go.