Up Against the Wal-Marts
by Dan Taylor; Jeanne Archer.
Easy-reading book with 90% self-evident information: focus on customer service, keep costs low, plan and evaluate everything.
However, their points are often backed up with examples of how smaller businesses can compete with the retail giants. They also extensively elaborate on several points — especially making sure your employees are as focused on customer service — and able to provide it — as you are. Another major point, though sort of passed over, is to use modern merchandising.
There is a good reference section on simple accounting reports and types of evaluations one can & should do, some worthless examples & tips at the end, and good background info on the big chains. I only wish this were more up-to-date with online retailing.