Why You Really Should Think About Writing a Book

Last Updated Sep 13, 2011 9:08 AM EDT

Do you think you take a unique approach to, say, leading people, starting businesses, dealing with conflict, or satisfying customers?
Great!

Now pretend you want to write a great book that will describe your unique approach. Not a paragraph, not an article. A book. Go ahead. Determine your main theme and put together an outline.

My guess is you'll struggle, because what you thought was your comprehensively unique approach to business really isn't. Sure, you do some things differently and your approach is occasionally unique... but certainly not enough to justify an entire book.

That's why thinking about writing a book can be a valuable way to evaluate where you currently stand in your business or your career. We all like to think we're different and special and excellent, just like our parents told us. But when we consider whether we could actually fill a book showing others how to excel, the reality is sobering.

Thinking about writing a book is a reality check -- but in a good way, since the best reality checks come from within.

For example:

  • You run a company. What makes your business different: Execution? Innovation? Customer service? Name 10 things you do to provide excellent customer service, each deserving of a chapter. If you don't have 10 solid customer service strategies, complete with real-life examples, get to work.
  • You manage people. What makes you a great leader? Motivational skills? Team building techniques? Employee development? Describe eight ways you consistently develop great employees, taking into account different backgrounds, experiences, and skill levels, and how other leaders can adopt your approach. If your employee development process is in reality fairly vanilla, get to work.
  • You're in sales. Describe how you generate and qualify leads, or how you move a prospect through the sales process. Or describe how your unique approach to overcoming different sales objections can be applied to a variety of industries. If your current sales skills are based largely on standard training and emulating your peers, get to work.
  • You're an entrepreneur. How do you identify opportunities? How do you attract financing, capture market share, or line up joint ventures? If your approach to starting a business mirrors the information found on, say, the Small Business Administration website, get to work.
Take a few minutes and think about your book. You don't have to actually write it; that's not the point. The point is to work hard to develop strategies, techniques, best practices, or processes worthy of a successful business book, and to put them in place so you have the success stories, case histories, and anecdotes proving they work.

When you do, you've already succeeded because your approach is unique, comprehensive -- and valuable, especially to you.

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Photo courtesy flickr user Ian Wilson, CC 2.0
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    Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business from managing a 250-employee book manufacturing plant. Everything else he picked up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest CEOs and leaders in business. He has written more than 30 non-fiction books, including four Business and Investing titles that reached #1 on Amazon's bestseller list. Follow him on Twitter at @Jeff_Haden.