The Boss of You: Everything a Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run and Maintain Her Own Business by Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears, published by Seal Press (May 2008)
Lately, I have been getting a nudging feeling that my business name might not be doing enough for me. So at a recent meeting with a local crafters' group I prodded fellow makers on their strategy for selecting their business name, but there didn't seem to be any! While some people get it right and just have a feeling for the right name for their business, others, like me, will feel really glad that The Boss of You guides through this and many other very important business decisions.
Small business owners (and now authors) Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears casually talk to you while helping you through the basics of starting your own business, running it, and maintaining it. They speak for and to women because the many business tomes out there just weren't. Most importantly, they speak from experience having been business owners since 2000 of a Vancouver based web design studio cleverly named Raised Eyebrow Web Studio. Although their business is service based, they also address product based companies extremely well. Besides telling their own story, they cite a range of examples from businesses in North America. In fact 22 women entrepreneurs are profiled making it quite likely that your business model and size is represented, from bag making to dread lock services and products.
When was the last time that someone told you that you get to define what success is for you and that you are successful even if you are not shooting for big growth and fast progression. What a relief to finally hear someone say that you don't necessarily need a business plan before you get started, unless of course you're seeking financing. What you do need to do is to sharpen your pencil and let Lauren and Emira help you along the way in defining your vision and your business image. They'll also guide you through that very dreaded stuff called budgeting or “budget-o-rama” as they call it -- such as expenses, overhead costs, pricing your items or services, and most important calculating your salary (this one has its own chapter entitled “You are your best employee”!) If you want the nitty gritty on reading financial statements, head to the resources page for a good recommendation on this and other business topics.
This book is not only for beginners, it is also for those whose business has been around for a few years. Maybe you're stuck at the marketing stage, and countless other marketing textbooks leave you feeling “icky in the process.” But as the authors say, “It's just a matter of finding an approach that feels right to you, and that allows you to feel comfortable while you're showing off your brilliance to the universe.” You'll want to have a notepad handy to jot down all the suggestions offered on how to talk to your audience, developing marketing materials, advertising and promotions, public relations, and networking.
So your marketing efforts are working really well and suddenly you are very busy, maybe even burning out. “Eventually, we were just too plain busy to handle the work that was coming in, and we had to hire someone to come in and help.” In their last section Lauren and Emira turn their attention to “Growing and Maintaining” your enterprise. At some point it may be necessary to hire staff or to find contract workers, add new product lines or services, or increase the number of stores.
This book would make for an excellent workbook. In chapter one you get room to jot down answers to questions but for the rest of the book you'll need a notepad or lots of post it notes. Enough said, my pencil is sharpened and I'm eager to start answering questions . . . “If you were describing your business as a person, what characteristics would it have?” Answering this and a few more questions will guide me through my re-branding process.
The giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only. To participate leave a comment below and tell us:
- how you picked your business name (if you currently have a business)
- what is motivating you to start a business (if you don't have a business yet)
Entry deadline is Wednesday, midnight, June 11, PST. Winner will be announced Thursday, June 12th on this blog.
About the reviewer:
Laura Bucci has been selling accessories & bags under her own name since 2006. She is also a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada. She has a background in Fine Arts and has always been involved in the arts either through photography, web design, and the commercial art world. She blogs on arts, crafts, activism, and being a small business.