Whether you’re a solo service provider or running a small business, you might be thinking about your next investment. Perhaps it’s new hardware, software or office equipment. Maybe you need to hire a marketing or PR person, a social media expert or a virtual assistant. You’ll probably consider many of these expenses to be necessary overheads because that’s what a successful, scalable business requires.
So my question is, why wouldn’t you want to include a book in your investment plan? Think of it this way: a book can be the centrepiece of your business. Let me explain.
You may have heard of Simon Sinek through his 2010 TED talk Why Great Leaders Inspire Action. To date, it has clocked up more than 59 million views – the third most viewed TED talk of all time. But it all started with his book, Start with Why, which was first published in 2009. It has since become one of the world’s bestselling leadership books and turned Sinek into a household name – even on TikTok!
I believe the key to Sinek’s early success was his ability to distil his thinking into clever yet memorable concepts such as ‘start with why’ and ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. Even though he has written many books since, Start with Why and its related TED talk still form the centrepiece of his business and thought leadership.
Closer to home, Bryony Thomas, one of The Right Book Company’s authors, has said that her business plan came before her book and the book is at the heart of that business: ‘Watertight Marketing is essentially an end-to-end methodology captured in a book. I had already been using this process with individual clients but publishing it as a book has allowed me to move from the classic consulting time-for-money business model into something scalable.’
The nature of her material also lends itself perfectly to a structured programme, which she delivers in both online and offline one-to-many contexts. ‘Writing Watertight Marketing has moved my business to a completely different place,’ she added. ‘Much more than just a business card, Watertight Marketing is a manual, a methodology and a mindset. Authors who truly want to put a book at the heart of their business need the business plan before they write the book.’
Talking of heart, I recently worked with Andrew Thornton and Eudora Pascall on their book Putting the Heart Back into Business, which captured the couple’s latest thinking on the importance of purposeful, heart-led businesses. Having combined and distilled their wisdom into the pages of this book, it now provides a focal point for their workshops, coaching and advisory services. I’m sure the authors would agree that writing the book not only strengthened their material and gave them a chance to reflect on the impact of their work but it also helped to build their business.
You may believe that you don’t have a snappy, headline-grabbing concept like Start with Why. But you don’t need to be that clever – your book can be much more ‘Ronseal’ (you know, it does what it says on the tin). However, you are the sum of your influences and no one else shares that combination of influences. So, no matter what your business sells, you will have unique perspectives that are worth sharing with the world. And what better way to share them than in the form of a sleek, printed volume that can open doors you weren’t even trying to push?
I believe it’s this simple: if you take your business seriously, you should seriously consider writing a book into your business plan.
Beverley Glick is The Right Book Company’s editorial project manager. She works closely with a team of editors to help authors write, shape and structure the best possible manuscript. She has been a professional writer and editor since the early Eighties and has worked for several national newspapers in a variety of writing and editing roles. She is also a leadership communications coach and trainer, specialising in TED-style speaking and storytelling. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.