What your writing tells you about your business

12th January 2018
Åsa Magnusson

As a writer and business owner, I’ve discovered that writing is in many ways like running a business.

Take a look at these lessons and see if you agree!

It’s about making a series of decisions

As a business owner, every day challenges you to make a new set of decisions. Some of them will be huge and future-changing, while others don’t impact more than what you have for lunch.

Interestingly, when you write, you also constantly make decisions. A fiction writer will need to decide on things like the name and features of their main character. They will choose their family members and create a series of interesting events to keep the story moving forward. Small or big, your decisions have a direct impact on the reader experience.

When it comes to sales copy, the same concept applies! You need to decide on things like…

  • the purpose of the content you’re creating
  • the key message
  • a compelling call to action that shows the reader what to do next

Making the wrong decisions at copy level will have a direct negative impact on the financial results you get from your marketing campaign.

You’re rarely FIRST

Whether you’re running a business or writing a book, there’s bound to be someone out there who’s done the same thing. Very rarely do we stumble on an idea so unique that it has never been tried before. But – that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable project!

Knowing that your idea is shared by others can be encouraging, as it means that there is a market for what you’re creating. There’s an established need. This is often a better commercial position to be in, compared to breaking completely new ground.

The one crucial thing to remember is that there is a major difference between other businesses – as well as books – and that difference is YOU.

Nobody else will be able to build the exact same service offering that you can, just like nobody will ever be able to write your message the way that you can. They’re both as unique as you are.

The first draft is never great

In business as well as in writing, it’s virtually impossible to get everything right the first time round. The world’s best writers know this. This is why they allow a first draft to simply be the rough version that they then build on, develop, edit and re-edit. Most established authors recognise that the first version is often just a pale shadow of the final product.

When I speak with other business owners, I often recognise a shared trait of perfectionism. We don’t want to allow anything to be sub-standard – not even as a first attempt. So instead we delay.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the Agile shoot-off principle ‘Fail fast’. In IT development, this is an approach that encourages phased improvements, but as a business concept it can be a useful way for an organisation to accept a gradual success journey. Failure can in fact be a powerful catalyst!

There’s power in partnerships

Very few writers get from idea to finished book without support. Professional authors work with skilled editors who are able to see through any logical gaps or pinpoint areas of improvement. They help the author work through a series of revisions, making the book a commercial success.

When running a business, however, it’s easy to think that you’re supposed to do everything yourself. Some small business owners even see it as a sign of weakness to look to other people for help. Meanwhile, those who do open themselves up to partnerships and help generally find themselves in a much stronger position. Joint ventures, consultancy partnerships, mentoring and coaching – there are many ways to work with others while working alone!

Whatever your challenge is this year – if it’s decision making, finding unique selling points, dealing with perfectionism or struggling to ask for help, you are not alone. Take some lessons from the writers’ world, and keep moving forward!