Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the last few years, emerging as a way to gain insights while livening up our dog walks, commutes, and gym time. But with a podcast for every topic under the sun, how do you know which ones are worth the effort?
Here are seven exceptional small business podcasts. All feature 5-star inspiring stories, relatable insights, and authentic personalities — and none have the overly promotional feel we consider a turn-off.
1. Great Women of Business
Why you should queue it up: Each episode of Great Women of Business is an homage to women who’ve revolutionized our world — though you may not have realized just how much. They highlight the branding genius of Coco Chanel, the never-say-die story behind Estee Lauder, and Julia Child’s creative thinking in the face of naysayers. Each episode masterfully weaves their entrepreneurial stories with business principles, and the result is 60 minutes of sheer inspiration.
Why you should queue it up: Hosted by organizational psychologist Adam Grant, WorkLife aims to make your job “not suck.” Grant employs several experts in each episode, tackling relatable topics like networking for people who hate to network, faking your emotions at work, and how to love criticism. But rather than concentrate on stories and subjectivity, he gets into the behavioral science behind our workplace emotions.
3. How I Built This
Why you should queue it up: How I Built This amplifies the growth stories behind some of today’s most popular brands. NPR’s Guy Raz holds casual conversations with innovators and entrepreneurs about how they got their businesses up and running. Each episode covers one company, so it’s fun to pick-and-choose from the ones that spark your interest. My favorites? Peloton, DoorDash, Allbirds, Lululemon, Burt’s Bees, Teach for America, and Spanx.
4. Super Soul Conversations
Why you should queue it up: The world would be a better place if we were all more self-aware, and Super Soul Conversations is a great place to begin that path. Listen as Oprah speaks with some of today’s luminary authors, thought leaders, and wellness experts as they unearth positive messages to help us get past the noise and live more freely. Favorite episodes include author Tara Westover on courage and drive and author Wes Moore on the difference between your job and your work.
5. Dear HBR
Why you should queue it up: Following a “Dear Abby” format, Dear HBR solicits questions from listeners on real workplace situations. Hosts Daniel McGinn and Alison Beard — two Harvard Business Review editors — pick apart each dilemma, offering different perspectives and meaningful advice along the way. Interested in sending in a question? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org (anonymity guaranteed).
6. Secrets of Wealthy Women
Why you should queue it up: Designed to "help women empower themselves financially," Secrets of Wealthy Women helps small business leaders on their path to success. Each episode features a successful woman (like Soledad O’Brien, Ayesha Curry, or Kendra Scott) whose wealth extends beyond her bank account and offers business and financial advice via tangible experiences. Every episode ends with a “money secret” from the week’s featured guest.
7. The Journey
Why you should queue it up: The Journey is a quick-hit of inspiration for growing small businesses everywhere. The podcast — sponsored by Salesforce Essentials — shares the one-on-one stories of founders and leaders on the path to growth. At just 10-15 minutes per episode, these small business podcasts are an excellent snapshot of the entrepreneurial life and the perfect way to fill a small window of time.
Got any small business podcasts to add to the list? Let us know at @Essentials.
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