Sure,  management consultant and avid motorcyclist Dwain DeVille could have delivered a book with lots of worksheets and case studies to walk a business owner through the difficult process of strategic planning. Thankfully he approached the subject from his own hard-won experience with entrepreneurial road rash and used motorcycling metaphors to keep our right brains engaged in the process.  He uses the straight talk and occasional cuss words that people seem to expect from bikers, too.

Hell, ask me where my company needs to be in five years, and I’ll answer without a moment’s hesitation. However, ask me where I want my life to be in five years and I couldn’t begin to tell you. And after all these years in business, that’s a pretty crappy place to be. I’d allowed the needs of the company to drive my personal life for too long. It was high time to anwer the question “What’s Next” and redefine my dreams. It was time to focus on my lifestyle.

Written for the business owner, not a cog in a big corporate wheel, The Biker’s Guide to Business: When Business and Life Meet at the Crossroads, DeVille’s philosophy sounds familiar to those of us who’ve read one of the eMyth books, but DeVille has his own spin on how to steer a company to serve its owner instead of the other way around.

DeVille is quick to point out his disdain for traditional business plans that end up collecting dust on the shelf. He insists that business owners who follow his process will walk away with a plan that can/will be executed. He provides these tools and instructions on his Bikers Guide to Business web site as well.

Dwain DeVille's book

Beginning with failure

DeVille pulls no punches in describing a business venture he took on for all the wrong reasons and the financial and emotional aftermath. That experience taught him that “the key to success isn’t recognizing opportunity, but instead recognizing the opportunities you should not chase.”

No sooner had he straightened things out on the business front, Deville faced a cancer diagnosis and the loss of a kidney. Wham-Bam.

He decided it was time for a road trip through the American west on a rented Road King, a move I totally understand! The fruit of his trip was a strategy for his own management consulting firm and the outline for this book, which is also available on Audible, narrated by the author in his delightful Louisiana accent.

Now DeVille leads three-day motorcycle retreats for business owners to help them achieve the same degree of clarity that his seminal trip provided to him.

The book is written not written exclusively for bikers; indeed DeVille does an excellent job explaining the motorcycling metaphors to the uninitiated. That said, I think bikers like me are bound to enjoy it on a deeper level.

Note to aspiring business authors

If you’re thinking of writing a book on a dry subject, like business planning, consider DeVille’s approach of filtering it through a metaphor or a simple tale (ex: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari).

A couple of weeks after downloading a Kindle version of The Biker’s Guide to Business: When Business and Life Meet at the Crossroads, I received a personalized copy from its author, whom I “know” through Twitter. This is the first book that I have in both formats and it helped me see exactly how books differ between print and digital.  With that homework done, I recommend that business authors distribute their books in all three formats: print, digital and audio.