June Image_Books and Business Develpment

Enlightened Leadership Blog | How Books Bolster Business Development | June 2024

In today’s competitive climate, entrepreneurs and small business owners must continually seek unique strategies to stand out and succeed. A book can be an excellent tool for branding and marketing your business and support your efforts to reach new clients, building your credibility as a subject matter expert (SME). Or is it the other way around? Books build your credibility as an industry leader, helping you construct a business as you solidify your brand and attract new customers?

The chicken or the egg theme is in play regarding books and business. In my case, the egg came first, the book. Over a couple of years, I researched and learned the art of storytelling, then I wrote my memoir. After it was published, someone asked me if I would write their memoir. In my nonprofit work, I had already learned how to listen to others’ voices and “create” for them. So I did. Then someone else asked me if I’d help them write their book. So I did. 

Soon, people I didn’t know hired me to ghostwrite their books. Suddenly, I had a prosperous business. I formalized it five years ago, but I’ve been ghostwriting, editing, and coaching writers for eight years. My research and subsequent book propelled me into the role of a subject matter expert on writing memoirs, opening the door for my small business that now includes ghostwriting fiction and nonfiction manuscripts and developmental editing.

It seems, however, the “egg-first entrepreneurial authors” are few and far between. Most people start a business and then write a book. The good news? Either is a great strategy for bolstering business development.

Building Credibility as a SME

If written first, books can help individuals build their business from scratch. The research and act of putting your idea or story into written form helps you communicate your purpose. Published business books also lend themselves to a new business owner’s credibility, positioning them as an industry leader. However, you don’t have to publish a trade nonfiction book to garner respect in the business world. Memoirs and business fables can also build credibility. These types of books offer potential customers insight into the business owner as a person because these genres reveal an author’s personal journey, grit, creativity, or willingness to think (and work) innovatively. 

Branding and Marketing Your Business

Whether written before or after building a business, books can serve as an external piece of the foundational branding and marketing puzzle an entrepreneur has already established (or wants to establish). Take a psychotherapist, for example. Let’s say his business is a decade old, but now he wants to incorporate a book into his business strategy. He hopes to offer readers some of the same insights his patients get while sitting on his couch. If the book carries the same title as his practice or his unique model of therapy, he’s now an entrepreneurial author. He’s married his business with his book, creating a seamless marketing strategy to reach more than those who schedule in-person or virtual appointments. When someone picks up his book, his business is on full display. If someone looks up his business online, his book will also pop up. 

Generating Income & Reaching New Customers 

Most small business owners know generating multiple revenue streams is an important step toward building a sustainable business. A book can be one such “stream.” While publishing itself is not especially lucrative, there are several ways to use books to enhance business revenue. 

Royalties from direct sales are not the only way books provide income. If a speaker, podcaster, or consultant offers a book as a giveaway or an add-on, they’ve increased the size of this “stream.”

There’s a saying in publishing: “Books beget books.” The more books authors get into the hands of readers (whether by gift or sale), the more books those authors will sell. It’s often difficult to position your business in new territories or markets. Offering a book can transport a brand across the globe and help entrepreneurs be seen. (A special side note: Free stuff is always seen.)

If you’re considering starting a business, can you transfer your idea, strategy, story, or message to a book manuscript? If so, perhaps start there. It will help you with your purpose and branding and position you as an expert before you’ve even opened your doors to customers.

If you are already a business owner, would a book be the next logical step in your business development strategy? Would it help “cross-pollinate” to reach new markets? I’m going to wager a bet and say, “Probably.” 😊 

Write (and serve) on, fellow entrepreneurs. 

By Cortney Donelson

*Image by Megan Rexazin Conde via pixabay.