Is there a "BK Way?"

Is there a "BK Way?"

What is distinctive about BK as a company and our practices?

In 2017 Berrett-Koehler Publishers will celebrate the 25th anniversary of our founding. In preparation, we are gathering examples and stories that suggest what is different and noteworthy about the messages in our books and how we apply those ideas in running our company.

Please post below any examples or stories you have of:

  • how BK differs from other companies in your experience 
  • a humorous interaction with BK staff or systems 
  • frustrations or disappointments you have had in working with BK 
  • what surprised you in an interaction with BK 
  • what others told you about BK that you found out to be true—or not true 
  • some aspect of BK that it took you a while to get 
  • some aspect of BK that you still don’t understand
  • the most memorable or meaningful thing you have observed about BK.
We’re hoping that your posts will generate conversations on this site. BK president Steve Piersanti and other BK staff as well as BK authors, readers, and others may respond to some of the posts. And if we can collect enough interesting examples and stories to make a good book about our journey as a maverick independent publisher trying to change the world, we might publish a book incorporating the best ideas and accounts.

You will need to log in to our website and join this group to post your stories.  If you have any technical difficulties, you can email Charlotte Ashlock at [email protected], or you can call her during Pacific Coast business hours at (510) 817-2279.


    How to make your business stand out

    Created by Alvina Jennifer

    If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard the statistics around business failure rates.

    Building a business is often easy, however, maintaining and staying in business is the challenge. In a world where there are many businesses claiming to be the best, it’s hard to differentiate your organisation from competitors. This leads to business owners wondering how they can make their company stand out.

    According to the public relations team at Adoni Media, here are seven ways you can make your business stand out from your competitors.

    1. Extraordinary customer service

    Treat your customers like royalty, even if you’re not in a service industry. All customers have an expectation of customer service from the moment they enter your store or encounter your business. It’s important that businesses wanting to stand out provide exceptional service to their clientele.

    1. Admit mistakes and fix problems to build stronger relationships

    If a mistake or issue arises, it’s important to immediately resolve it. This will help you build a stronger relationship with your customers instead of damaging it. If a customer has one bad experience with the business and there was no effort to resolve the issue immediately, this can negatively affect how a customer perceives a brand and could lead to them looking elsewhere. However, if an issue is resolved and handled well by your company, then this can potentially create a stronger relationship between the business and customer.

    1. Be honest about your product and services

    It’s always important to be honest about your product or services. Customers want to know that they are receiving what they are buying, whether that be a product or a service. This means that everything that is said about a product or service needs to be true.

    1. Introduce new products

    Customers are often on the lookout for new and trending products. For a business to stand out, it’s best to continue to reinvent your company and its offerings by adopting emerging technologies and introducing new processes, products, services and solutions.

    1. Offer guarantee or incentives

    Is your company offering guarantees or special incentives? Offering incentives to customers, no matter what size, can undoubtedly produce advantages for business These include:

    • Motivation – Not only can incentives be used for customers, they can also be beneficial in motivating employees. For instance, offering an incentive for staff if they excel at their KPI’s will motivate them to achieve better results.
    • Collaborative efforts – If you’re looking to offer team incentives for your employees, you might notice an increase in collaborative efforts between staff members. Similar to individual incentives, employees will be more motivated and realise the only way to exceed their KPI’s is to work together as a team.
    • Loyalty – Using incentives can not only help guarantee loyalty between your business and customers, but also between your business and your employees.
    1. Do it differently than your competitors

    Possibly the best way to make your business stand out is by differentiating your business from its competitors. Showing your customers and target audience why you’re different from other businesses will create a uniqueness and something potential customers will feel they need.

    1. Leverage internet and social media

    In the digital age, it’s important to utilise social media and its features as they can be beneficial to reaching your audience online and growing that audience further. For instance, Facebook ads can help you reach Facebook users based on their location, interests, age and gender. As well as this, Google AdWords can also target potential customers and be used as an effective marketing strategy.

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  • hazelhenderson

    My Story

    Created by Hazel Henderson

    In 1991, I was faced with the folding  of the original publisher of my book Paradigms in Progress”  .   Somehow, I was lucky enough to  find Berrett-Koehler  and Steve Piersanti!   After I sent Steve my orphan book, he  contacted me saying that I was obviously an author whose work was “ under-published “.  Steve invited me to meet with him and the Berrett-Koehler team at their office in San Francisco.

    When I arrived  with a cordial welcome , we convened with the group in their conference room.  Steve introduced me and said how important he thought Paradigms in Progress was and that he hoped Barrett-Koehler would take over the book and re-publish it.

    Then to my surprise, he asked us all to take a few minutes in prayerful silence, focusing on their role and mission and how my work seemed to  align well.

    I was amazed, having had experiences with two  of my other publishers in New York , which were to  say the least, very different and with a strictly business focus.

    What I found at Berrett-Koehler was a deeply caring spiritual approach to  publishing as a calling .  I was deeply moved by the depth of caring  and focus on their mission.  Naturally, I was delighted when Berrett-Koehler decided to  take over Paradigms in Progress and they  re- launched my  book in 1995.  My books, including my later Building A Win-Win World (1996) have not been big sellers, since as a futurist I’m always about ten years ahead of where the market is at any time!  So I’m doubly grateful that they keep  these two  of my books in print and the latter title is also now an e-book.

    So naturally, I always first  steer my author friends looking for publishers  to  Berrett-Koehler!  I feel this affinity even though I’m now too busy running  our  Ethical Markets Media Certified B. Corporation to  participate in all the wonderful authors’ retreats and  cooperative activities.

    So, thank you all at Berrett-Koehler!   May you continue to  prosper and serve our common human future!

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    Inclusiveness of all stake-holders and alignment of values

    Created by Jonathan Fong

    • I have the privilege of participating in BK Foundation's Experiential Exchange, and being partnered with Steve Piersanti. His success in building BK is an inspiration to me, and in one of our sessions, he said that BK stopped being his company the moment he hired someone, and actually it was before that, the moment he had supplier relationships/contracts, etc. I am awestruck by his vision of BK not as his company, but one that he just guides while give space to all stakeholders.

      Prior to this, I read an intern's account of a BK Author Day ( Steve's willingness and encouragement for the intern to participate was astounding, but beyond that, how the company values were so aligned that Jeevan already knew also that the intern should not just be an observer, but an empowered and active participant.

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