It’s easy to poke fun at the thousands of mediocre business books churned out annually. But planning a business book—regardless of whether it makes it to store shelves—is a useful exercise for business owners seeking to define their brand better and stimulate demand for their product or service.
First, come up with a title. Working on the title should prompt you to answer crucial questions about the story you want to tell your customers: What’s the common thread?
Loews Hotels’ Jonathan Tisch wrote Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough, reflecting the company’s premise that great products and services need to deliver “experiences that are unique, memorable, and deeply rewarding.” Starbucks’ Howard Schultz wrote Pour Your Heart Into It to share the values by which he built his coffee empire. And Bill Gates’s Business at the Speed of Thought made the case that a computer on every desk was only the beginning.
The discipline of organizing their thoughts into a book compelled each of these business leaders to examine what their companies stood for. And their books reinforced the elements they attributed to their success, suggesting the volumes belonged on the shelves of each of their employees as well as the local Barnes & Noble. A well-written business biography is as much a manual for corporate culture as it is good reading.
By going through the process of determining the essential idea by which your company is (or should be) known, you’ll gain appreciation for what your brand is all about. And you might find it doesn’t stand for much, which in itself would be a valuable discovery.