Thursday, December 9, 2010

Amazon's Jeff Bezos - Can Self-publisher's Learn From His Business Planning?

I read a great article about Jeff Bezos today. Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, the friend of the self-publishing author. Bezos is one of the driving forces in our industry today and his openness to allowing self-publishing authors to use Amazon's logistical system to market and sell our books has been a great boon. Amazon's Kindle may change the publishing landscape forever as we know it and many of us use Amazon's CreateSpace for POD printing and distribution via Amazon.

Some have been critical of Bezos and that probably goes with the territory. All leaders open themselves up to criticism as do innovators and Bezos is certainly both. Through in the fact Bezos is playing with investor's money when he takes his daring business gambles and you have yet another reason to be critical of his management and leadership style.

Yet Bezos has built Amazon into a major financial success and it is viewed as one of the best run corporations in the United States. The company is innovative and forward thinking, something many U.S. companies no longer seem to be capable of.

I found two of Bezo's core principles intriguing. The first is his obsession with customer satisfaction and the second is the vision to think long term and not short term when planning.

Authors should adopt his obsession with customer satisfaction. Write books that are good stories or in the case of non-fiction, not only filled with content that is pertinent to the topic, but organized in such a manner allowing for ease of use for the reader when desiring to access specific information. In other words, make the customer glad he or she bought the book!

The other principle I found interesting was the desire for long term planning. I have long held many of the mistakes made by American corporations was thinking and planning for next quarter success and not long term success and profitability. The legendary basketball coach John Wooden was oft quoted as saying "anything of true value took time to build or achieve, and that it should take time."

How many of us create a business plan for self-publishing that is based on the idea of successfully selling books and making a profit over the long haul? A plan designed to create maximum success over an extended period of time instead of a quick buck.