I started a business with two other programmers. Our model was similar to 37signals' model - offer consulting services to earn immediate profitability (we are bootstrapping our business and not taking outside funding), while building our own products. I've always been a business-minded person, so my role was to handle the sales & business development, marketing, account management, project management, and product management aspects of our business.
Books I would consider Must Reads are:
- Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore - he talks about the Technology Adoption Curve and how it relates to the marketing & sales strategy of your business. A product VP at a former company had recommended this book to me when I made the transition from developer to product manager. The follow-up books are also great.
- The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen - he talks about Disruptive Technologies and their patterns in the marketplace. The follow-up books are also great.
- Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston - she interviews various startup founders. I found this book insightful & inspirational.
I just purchased this book, after hearing great things about the author and his Learn Startup philosophy (you've probably heard of it by now too):
- Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
I don't mean to seem spammy, but I do have a list of other great business reads on my site. The first three are my top suggestions. For more, you can look here:
I hope this helps. Good luck!