How Writing a Book is Like Launching a Business 1

Got an idea that you just can’t shake?  That idea could manifest itself as a business or a book.  I have spent a lot of time talking about how entrepreneurs should approach a new business and have found that there are a lot more parallels between starting a business and launching a new book than you might imagine.  As I launch my first book, The Entrepreneur Equation, ironically on launching businesses, I thought I would share a few insights on the similarity between the two.

 

What’s Your Purpose?

 

Deciding to start a business is different than deciding to start a successful business.  The plans to open one store vs. a goal of creating a massive nationwide retail chain vary significantly.  It is hard to know what steps to take if you don’t know your end goal.

The same goes for your book.  What’s your end game?  Are you using it as a calling card to get more clients?  Are you seeking a label of achievement (like “best seller status”) for your brand?  Are you hoping to make gobs of money from it or are you using it to spread a message (by the way, if your goal is make gobs of money, you might want to chat with a few industry professionals first)?  These goals will significantly impact the planning and strategy of not only your manuscript, but the launch and marketing of your book.

And while you are at it, you might as well set the biggest goal that you can.  Nothing happens if you don’t achieve your stretch goal, but as Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of shots that you never take!”

 

Know Your Customer

I am always preaching in business about how important it is to know your customer, but my first book manuscript go-round was somewhat lacking in this department (which got fixed in the second go-round, thanks to great feedback from industry folks!).

To be successful in business, you have to know what pain point you are solving for your customer and how you are delivering value.  Plus, if “everyone” is your customer, you are going to have a hard time reaching anyone at all, so having a focus is critical.  The same goes for your book (particularly non-fiction books).  Ask yourself what tangible benefits your reader will take away from investing their time and money into your message.  Who is your specific reader and what quantitative and qualitative benefits are they seeking?  This will shape not only how you deliver your message in the book, but also how you plan to market your book.

The Idea Isn’t Valuable; It’s The Execution

In an era where we have access to virtually everything we want and need, plus a whole bunch of crap we don’t care about, it is hard to have a truly novel idea (pun intended).  Having the idea for a business isn’t valuable; it is executing on the business plan every day.  The same goes for a book.  Once you have the idea, you have to write the manuscript and then market, market, market!  Most publishers care at least as much, if not more, about your marketing plan than the content of the book.  So, even if you have a great idea, if you can’t or don’t want to pound the pavement to meet your goals, there isn’t a lot of value there.

The Day You “Open For Business” Is Where The Hard Work Starts.

Conceiving a business idea and writing your plan is a cakewalk compared to what you have to endure day in and day out to make your business successful.  The same thing goes for a book.  The common misconception is that you are done when you finish writing- not so!  Writing the manuscript, as daunting as it may seem, is easy compared to everything that comes next.  Prepare to devote a lot of time, effort (and depending on your goals, money too) AFTER the book is written!

The takeaway: Make sure you evaluate and prepare for launching a book, just like you would a business, if you want to be successful with it.

And if you want to learn more about The Entrepreneur Equation and some of these principles, it is available at Amazon.com and everywhere now!

About the Author Carol Roth is a business strategist, deal maker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She has helped her clients, ranging from solopreneurs to multinational corporations, raise more than $1 billion in capital, complete hundreds of millions of dollars in M&A transactions, secure high-profile licensing and partnership deals, create brand… Read more »

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  • http://www.thebusinesstherapist.com Paul Foster

    I agree with all your great points. Especially that the “idea” for a business or a book won’t get you very far. I would add that it is also important to know your own strenghts and weaknesses – either in business or books. And remember you can “rent the brains” you need in your weaker areas. If you are good at book content but can’t edit well – you can rent an editor. Just like in business, if you are not strong at sales you can hire a salesperson.
    It just makes it easier to get focussed when you are doing the tasks that are alligned with your strengths and ability.