When you’re in business, no matter how big or small, you are always looking for new ways to increase your revenue. You could launch new products or services, you could raise your prices, or you could do a combination of both. The problem with product creation or raising prices is that there is often a cap. You can only create so many products before you confuse your end-user and you can only raise your prices so often before you price yourself right out of the market. I want you look at your business differently—I want you to look at it from the 30,000 foot-high perspective. What I mean by that is that you see all the facets, and all elements of it. This is the knowledge that you can fold into a book, which can ultimately transform your business.
Before you start writing a business book, you’ll need to look at your business and your goals, and make some decisions about where you’d like your company to go. Some business owners that I have coached with this process started with local businesses, and ended up creating new areas of revenue that served a national market. The only thing you need to decide is this: How big do you want your business to be?
Maximizing Your Revenue
Maximizing revenue is about finding tools to help you maximize your existing revenue. This is not marketing per se, but a different way of grabbing attention. Ultimately you’ll want to look at items or activities that help to drive consumer attention back to your product, service or whatever it is that you’re selling. A business book can be one of these tools!
Consumers are overwhelmed. They have a million choices and a million different options. The key is to find ways to rise above the noise. A lot of marketing people will talk to you about social media and other forms of online marketing. I think this is great, and social media is definitely something that everyone in business needs to utilize. But if you’re driving people to your website by using social media, how are you enticing them to stay there? And for many of us, our future customers may be just that: future. Maybe they want to get to know you first and that’s totally understandable. A business book is a great way to introduce yourself to these people.
Become a Resource
One of the best ways to market yourself or your business is to educate instead of sell. People don’t like to be “sold” and enough studies have shown that a relatively small percentage of people actually want to buy when they meet you or land on your site; something like 3 percent. With this small number, you can almost bet that most people landing on your website aren’t going to buy the first time around.
When you educate or inform someone, you build loyalty with them. They come to you for information and guidance; you become their resource. When they are ready to buy, guess who they think of first?
Most people in business are very tactical. They want to make the sale—that’s it. But if you really want to maximize your revenue, you’ll need to be a strategist, too. Your long-term business goals should go beyond making a sale today; you want to become the company your customer goes to whenever they need what you have. Whether your business provides consulting or sells printers, you can still weave this education strategy into everything you do. Building these systems into your business (i.e. writing a book and creating any additional products as necessary) is also a great to keep momentum going all the time, not just when ads are running. There will be times when you can’t get to your blog, or you don’t have ad revenue to run campaigns. This is where a business book keeps working and keeps marketing for you. It’s truly your 24/7 sales tool.
How One Company Transformed their Business by Becoming a Resource
I once walked into a hardware store in New York where I lived at the time. It was a great store in the Village; if you’ve ever lived in New York, you know that is one of the best areas of the city. The problem was that a brand spanking shiny new Home Depot was opening near Central Park (granted, it was a hike from the hardware store in the Village), but over time they noticed their customer base falling off. Sure, you could get more at Home Depot, and you could even get personalized service just like in a smaller handyman store.
So what could this small store do to drive more people to their business? When they analyzed the needs of their customer, they realized that a lot of their customer base was women, many of them younger, trying to save a bit of money here and there and hoping to fix a leak or something else small around their apartment. Plumbers and handymen in New York can be pretty pricey. So I suggested to the store that they host do-it-yourself classes for local residents and also create some easy and short books that their shoppers could quickly thumb through to do the job themselves. They loved this idea. But then I added another idea to the mix, I told them to videotape the classes and put them up on YouTube. Especially with something like a home fix-it, it’s often easier to view the how-to on your computer screen so you can stop and start this as you progress through the process. A business book would be a natural accompaniment to the video. So they did this, then I encouraged them to take it one step further. I told them to put together a newsletter. Since they were already collecting sign ups, this was easy. The newsletter offered money saving tips such as energy conservation or fix-it ideas, it promoted new books they were publishing, and it included a schedule of the live classes they had scheduled or a link to their YouTube channel.
Within a month they saw their business spike again. How did this happen? Because they tapped directly into their customer’s needs. They weren’t just a “hardware store,” now they had become a resource. They knew the general demographic of their local customer and were able to tap into their hot buttons. Sure, there will always be people who will gravitate to the big, shiny stores, but in a neighborhood like this, most folks would rather stay local. Also, if you know New York at all, you know that unless you have a car (which most people don’t), hauling anything on the subway can be a chore. So this store became a not just a store, but a key resource. Their website traffic kicked up, which helped bring in even more customers. The classes were all instructed by their in-store staff and often the owner would tell me that customers, having viewed the video online, would come in with questions directed at the staffer who taught the class. It personalized their buying experience in such a way that they felt they knew the staffer enough to ask for them by name. This creates a personal, connected experience with your customer and helps increase buying loyalty.
A Business Book Can Boost Your Credibility
In another example, I worked with this business owner who desperately wanted to begin public speaking. We pitched him to certain speaking gigs who all said “Does he have a book?” He didn’t and he also didn’t get the gigs. A year later he went back, business book in hand, and got more speaker bookings than he could handle.
Writing a business book is a great way to expand your client base and maximize your revenue, in addition to a potential revenue stream in and of itself. It sets you up as a strong resource for your clients to go to time and time again; this added credibility is what will guide you towards your long-term business goals, whatever they are. Watch for an upcoming post on how to get started!