There are probably 20 better ways to use the money and time it would take you to write a business book. You could attend a slew of networking events. You could launch a major advertising campaign. You could start a new business. And so on.
That said, writing a book is not always the wrong thing to do. I know a guy who turns out a small volume in his area of expertise every few years. He uses the books as tools to engage with potential clients. They're his calling card, as well as a way of differentiating himself from his competitors. And it works for him.
I know others who write business books for largely egotistical reasons. They want to establish a legacy. They think they've learned things that will help other people. Some of them even expect their books to find a substantial audience. They're usually disappointed.
Here's my general advice: If your business involves speaking or consulting, you should almost certainly write a book. Being an author does get you respect. If you're a creative person and need a creative outlet, that's another good reason to write a book. My friend and Inc.com columnist Tim Askew is a great example of this and has written eloquently on the subject.
There can be substantial sales and marketing benefits to writing a book as well. Confidence is one. You do better marketing and make more sales if you exude confidence. If writing a book increases your confidence, you'll probably get results. But if you're writing a book for ego gratification and expect it to create sales, you can probably find better ways to spend your time and money.
Startup wisdom from senior contributing editor and veteran entrepreneur Norm Brodsky. Please send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.