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The essential thing to know about how to start a book for your business is the importance of four foundational decisions you’ll need to make. They build on each other and need to be made in order. If you don’t give them careful thought, you likely won’t accomplish your book-generated business growth goals. This post has highlights of the first one defining the Why for your book and how you’ll measure its success.

So, open a new Word doc, our free Big 4 worksheets (see below to download them) or grab a pad of paper — and prepare to jot down some ideas about your book’s first foundational decision:

Identify the realistic, strategic, measurable and prioritized business results you want from your book & your success measures.

Step 1 — Envision the Future

Start by defining what your business ideally looks like five years from now. Dream big, and don’t worry about how it will happen, what’s realistic or what colleagues would say. This is your vision, your way.

What size and shape for the business, staff and office? How much money coming in? Serving how many people? Any new locations, products or services? What work and travel schedules? How many hours? Doing what? In what role? Dealing with what kinds of issues? Is recognition a goal? In what form? Any hopes to merge with or buy someone’s business — or sell yours? You get the idea . . . . Keep adding specifics.

Step 2 — Define Desired Results

Next is to identify the aspects of that future your book can contribute to — in other words, the business and growth results you hope for from your book. Some may happen quickly, and some may require years.

Is it your book’s job to define and differentiate you/your business? Attract new, more or bigger clients, staff, partners, projects or marketing channels? Specific ones? New kinds of them or in new industries?  Bigger audiences? Media coverage? Honors and awards? An offer to merge or sell out? Make you the go-to expert in your field? Generate more money or free time? Spark a new business? All of this — and more — is possible if you start your book with the end in mind!

Step 3 — Make Results Measurable

Now, make your desired results measurable so you’ll always know which ones you’ve reached or exceeded. Be as specific as possible. But for some outcomes, you might only be able to indicate wanting more or less than you currently have. And don’t overlook things like number of unsolicited requests or opportunities, how your fee level compares to competitors, the prestige and size of your client list.

Step 4 — Determine Realistic Timeframes

Next, assign each desired result to one or more of three timeframes: hoped-for results in the first year after the book’s publication, those in Years 2 & 3 and those in Year 4 & after. Make your results realistic by setting a multi-timeframe pace for some of them.

Step 5 — Identify Success Measures

Now, review your three timeframe groups, and decide at least one or two success measures for each period. More is definitely better. They will inform you, at the end of each year, whether your book is on track to deliver all you expect.

Step 6 — Prioritize Results

The final step regarding your objectives is to prioritize the results for each timeframe so you know where to focus your energy and make your initial — or next batch of — time and dollar investments. Then, create an overall prioritized list of them all without regard to timeframes, to give you the big picture.

So, mission accomplished! You’ve hit the highs of your first foundational decision about your book’s Why and success measures. Allow some time to pass, then double-check your notes and proceed to your second decision.

For full details about all four foundational decisions to start a business-building book — plus a link to our free printable interactive PDF worksheets — see our free workbook, 77 Book Types For Building Your Business & Brand, in the sidebar to the right. Or check out more highlights in the related posts below.

How else can we help you start a book for your business?

Our multi-award-winning, groundbreaking workbooks showcase hundreds of book types for you to review, be inspired by and choose from.

And our Getting Started on Your Business-Building Book consulting program provides individual help making your four strategic decisions.

The many kinds of books for a business start with a diverse array of author objectives.

Related Posts:

Starting a Book to Grow a Business Begins with 4 Key Decisions

Write a Business Book to Grow Your Business Initial Steps

Creating a Business Book That’s a Game-Changer — 11 Tasks

Create a Business Book Only After Defining Audiences Related to Your Goals

Writing a Business Book That Ignites Growth Requires the Right Topic

Grow a Business with a Book that has the Right Topic-Type Combination

Our Books to Help Aspiring Executive Authors

Getting Started on Your Business-Building Book consulting program

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