Why write a business book?

“94% of business authors reported that their book helped them generate more leads"

Why write a book? And just as important, why write with a collaborator? Because a "great vision doesn’t amount to much if you can’t make it a reality. For many companies, two heads are simply better than one."  Two heads are often better than one when it comes to writing (or finishing) your business book. This is true whether you only pen the occasional article or if you are a highly skilled writer.

A world class book requires two elements: vision + execution. By vision I'm referring to the events and anecdotes and lessons and principles that give a book its unique personality. Execution is the weaving together of those events to create a cohesive and meaningful narrative flow. While you probably have the vision part down pat, the execution part is often another story altogether (pardon the pun).

In one of my blog posts, 4 reasons to consider writing a business book, I included an infographic highlighting some of the biggest success stories in business book (self-) publishing. Of course, few achieve that kind of success, but for mere mortals, a different kind of success can be achieved. And the best news is, a best selling book is not required. Studies show that professionally written business books generate instant authority, credibility and trust. They help market your business  and your brand in a way that nothing else can. Of 200 business book authors polled by RainToday.com:

  • 76% reported that their book helped them close more deals
  • 94% reported that their book helped them generate more leads
  • 94% reported that their book helped them improve their brand
  • 73% of those who used ghostwriters said they would be “very likely” to hire them again

Erika Andersen, author of Leading So People Will Follow, writes in Forbes.com ("Why writing a book is good business”) that when you write a good business book, the following things tend to happen:

Personal credibility: Having a book published makes people think you’re smarter and more expert.  I don’t know if you get the same effect through self-publishing, but it’s certainly been true in my experience of having books published with traditional publishers.  As soon as my first book came out, at the end of 2006, you would think by the way others responded to me that I’d suddenly gained 20 IQ points.  It was almost disorienting – I knew I was the same person, but previously closed doors magically opened, and people I knew wouldn’t have paid much attention to what I said before were suddenly listening hard.  It was (and still is) enormously helpful in establishing initial connections with potential clients and business partners.

Business credibility:  If you’re running a business and you publish a good book, your business gets a halo effect from your rise in credibility.  Being associated with a business book and its author gives an enterprise legitimacy in the eyes of the world. Being considered more legitimate simply makes it easier to get things done.  In my experience, it also gives a lift to everyone who works in the organization – it becomes a source of pride and esprit de corps.

Brand clarity: Having a book or books that lay out the key intellectual property or the core models or principles of your business really helps potential clients understand what you’re about and how you can be valuable to them. It can also help your own staff be clearer about who you are and what you’re offering.  People have often been surprised when I’ve said this – they question whether it’s really a good idea to put your ideas out in public for anyone to see (and, by implication, steal).  But our experience has been that the ideas in a book quite often whet people’s appetite for more in-depth knowledge or consulting.

Wondering what your story is? If you've struggled in business but ultimately triumphed in the end, you have a story to tell. If you're a true expert in your field or you've developed a unique business perspective that's in high demand and that might inspire others, then you have a story to tell. Perhaps it's time to share it with others.

“A book is an opportunity for those who have held public office or business leadership positions to document their experiences and tell their side of the story."