THINKING BUSINESS IDEAS: Season TWO

IdeaThanks for all the calls that came with respect to Season 1. My reaction is this: after reading Season 1 what have you done differently?

This Season 2 is straight because I will share with you my own personal experience. By August 2011 I was out of work, alone in a strange town, with strange people, in a strange situation. How do you feel when you wake up one morning to discover that all you worked for is nothing? You slept FULL, but woke the next morning EMPTY. It was so painful that I decided to go full steam ahead, alone.

The question my friend asked was, “how do you intend to start?”

Presently, when I am asked to tell my story of how I started, I always share the first business option I ventured into, the same option that brought out the depth I never knew existed, the business that I so passionately enjoy, with or without the money.

In essence, if you delight in talking with people, if people seem to always come to you for advice, if people often listen to you or regularly take your suggestion; if you know that you have a way of representing ideas and information using words; then I would recommend that you write a book. It’s the first business that I developed after my August 2011 experience, and the book I wrote (BulletProof Business: 5 basic strategies in business development) gave birth to ardent readers that became clients, and to handle these clients professionally, we then set up a LLC (CoreHead Business Solutions Ltd).

Now that you are not gainfully employed, or if you are employed and you are thinking of how to use your spare time productively, writing can expand your knowledge, increase your fame, give you a name, expose you to opportunities and convert your skill to cash.

These are the 7 things you should note when considering writing as a startup, home-based, part-time business.

1. The Readers

  • Study your prospective readers, what is their challenge, what is it that you want them to know, what value will reading your book add to their lives?
  • Check for contents that interest a majority of people, the more the readership, the more the buyer-ship.
  • Be careful not to choose an out-going topic, a topic that is no more current, for example the issue of HIV/AIDs is not topical. Also don’t take a topic that majority of your readers know a lot of things about.

2. The Story

  • The book is not for you, it is for your readers. So every part of the book must interest the reader, not you the writer. It is not your book it is your reader’s book. Write from the reader’s mind, don’t write your mind.
  • Structure your topic to have a beginning, a center, a climax and the end. Then write the end, create an outline from the end to the beginning, and start writing the book from the beginning.
  • Add facts, personal stories and examples. Sometimes people understand better with examples and stories. Personally I most times use one per chapter.
  • Don’t for any reason pick an e-book to publish, it is not only low-class, it also shows that you are empty. Why clear another man’s farm, when your own is growing weeds, people know when they read an e-book and they will never trust your ‘wealth of knowledge’ again.

3. The Editing

  • One misspelt word, one wrong phrase can send a wrong signal to your readers, so allow people to read your materials before you send to print.
  • Before publishing, ask a professional editor to edit. A disinterested reader to criticize and a professional in the topic to analyze. These three made me rewrite almost half of my book, and most of my readers comment more on these reworked parts.
  • Have mentors and experienced people to guide you. In my case, Maple Dappa (author: Seeds of Greatness) inspired me to write. Kazeem Adebiyi (author: Failure is not an option) mentored me. Engr. Enyinna Onyegbule (business consultant) structured the book. Boma Igani, Yakieh Anyanku, Nsikan Etop, and others edited the book

4. The Book

  • Pick a title that incites and invites, a title that is interesting. It is better to have a 2-3 words main title and a short sentence descriptive sub title.
  • Most people buy books because of the cover, not the content. Use a very beautiful cover. In my first book, the money for the cover alone was equivalent to the money spent in printing the whole inside pages. I even had to pay a graphics person separately to design the cover of the book.
  • People enjoy reading milk coloured paper books more than white coloured paper books. Use milk coloured paper for your book (except it’s an academic book).

5. The Publisher

  • A good published book is half the sales. A bad printer can send your book to the grave before its time. When it comes to sales, it is better to have a bad book with a good print, than to have a good book with a bad print.
  • In Nigeria you hardly find a publisher, what we have mostly are just printers. A printer prints, a publisher prints and sells.

6. The Finance

  • A book of about 100 pages will cost you more than N100k to publish 1,000 copies, so how do you intend to raise that amount of money? Start the writing first, how to raise the money will find its way to your mind. My book cost me N200k, my own money was just about N20k.
  • When I started writing I did not have any cash. I wrote the chapters, dedicated it to some friends and family, and asked for their sponsorship. I also paid part to the publisher to release at least 500 copies of the book. I launched the book with the 500 copies and used the money raised to balance the publisher.

7. The Marketing and Sales

  • A friend told me that after writing he took his books to bookshops and did not sell a copy. He then re-strategized and organized seminars, he sold more. Train yourself not only as a writer but a speaker.
  • Target more of programmes and seminars to sell your books, also do a lot of one on one sales.
  • Use reference selling, it works greatly. If you know someone that majority of your readers trust, let that person comment on your book. Also ask one or two respected persons to help encourage others to buy. For example a Minister can ask his members to get a copy of the book.
  • Give out some copies FREE, as donation to some large-membership-based organizations.
  • When it comes to price, if your book is for the general public, I would advise that you target between N500 and N700, they sell faster compared to N1, 000.

I did not talk about testing and timeline in writing, I wish to continue but words will not allow me, my contacts are open to your questions and remarks, be free to call and I will answer directly. Now pick up that sheet of paper and start writing.

Thanks for the opportunity to share ideas with you, see you at the top.

Etuk Anietie is an infopreneur. You could check out his blog here  to know more about him.

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