Four years ago, when I started my business, Act Three, to help women figure out their next stage of life after raising children, I went about building my company one coaching client at a time.
After two years I concluded that one client at a time was holding back the growth of the company. For real growth in revenues I needed to reach multiple women at once by keynoting at women’s events across the country. So I hired an expert to help me build a speaking practice. Her advice to grow my speaking practice rapidly… I needed to write a book.
Eighteen months later, my book Act Three: Create the Life You Want After Your First Career and Fulltime Motherhood was published.
Since then, my speaking engagements have quadrupled and I can create additional revenue selling books in the back of the room. As a side benefit, book readers have contacted us for individual coaching resulting in unexpected growth in that part of the business.
When considering whether to write a book for the purpose of growing your business, here are five important questions to consider:
1. Do you need to become a recognized authority in your field?
If you have a business that relies on selling expertise like professional service firms (lawyers, accountants, investment advisors, consultants or even antique dealers) you get instant expertise status by writing a book and become the “go to person” in the field.
2. Do you actually have something to say that can fill a whole book?
You don’t want to be accused of taking what could have been a really interesting article and stretching it into a really bad book (think of Saturday Night Live characters that were funny in a short sketch, but awful when made into a full length movie). The key here is to write a detailed outline of what could be included in every chapter. If you don’t have enough good ideas, write a great article instead.
3. Do you want to expand your business beyond your local area?
If you want to expand beyond the local level, a published book gives the author a national platform. With technology today, just about any business that is selling expertise can consult nationally. In fact, we are now using Skype to meet with all our coaching clients, even the ones in our local area, as it allows everyone to avoid travel time.
4. Do you need to create credibility?
People buy from those that they trust. This is true whether someone is looking for a female keynote speaker or coach (as in my case) or looking to buy a new car. When someone can’t meet you in person to develop that trust, reading your book is the next best thing. In fact, I often get the comment from my readers that they feel that they know me. Hopefully, to know me is to trust me and therefore to want to do business with me.
5. Do you have the time and ability to write a really good book?
Your books is your brand, so you have to think that writing a bad book is worse than writing no book at all. To make sure your book is high quality, hire a good editor (your neighbor the English major does not qualify as a good editor even if she will do for free). I can unabashedly say that my editor significantly improved the quality of my book. One solution to the lack of time or writing ability is to hire a ghost writer (this is an expensive proposition so that cost needs to be evaluated against expected revenue growth).
If you answered yes to these questions, you are an ideal candidate to write a book to help build your business. The process isn't easy, but the end result could really help to create a boom for your business.
Julie Shifman is the founder and President of Act Three and an inspirational keynote speaker for women’s events and conferences. She is the author of Act Three: Create the Life You Want After Your First Career and Fulltime Motherhood.