Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Chic Entrepreneur by Elizabeth W Gordon

The Chic Entrepreneur was written for female entrepreneurs. As a female entrepreneur who is not "girly" or "chicified" - I can still recommend the book. Some of the "chic" and "girly" reference can be distracting, but the actual business content contains plenty of valuable business set up, hiring, management and promotional information.

The Chic Entrepreneur - Put Your Business in High Heels by Elizabeth W Gordon

This book has a catchy title that is meant to appeal to women who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. One problem is that not all women respond to the fashion and flirty explanation of things – in personal or business matters. Another big concern is the sections that talk about customers and compare this to flirting, marriage and batting your eyelashes. I was told the references are used metaphorically and hopefully readers won’t take these examples literally.

There are obviously some women who respond to this phraseology and comments, but women who don’t appreciate this approach can still learn a lot about business from this book. If this sort of reference appeals to you, read this book. If these references irritate you, I
recommend you read the book because there is plenty of great business information in the pages of this book and simply skim past the metaphors. For female entrepreneurs who are less “girly” – you can still learn plenty from this book.

Throughout the book, you will find “Chic Tips”. These are small sections which provide specific tips that relate to the content of each chapter. One example of a “Chic Tip” is: “Instead of figuring out what you can make and then how to sell it, ask the market what it wants or needs, then design a solution for it. Working backward is a market-focused way to take your new product development efforts forward.” At the end of each chapter you will find review questions about the content of each chapter.

The author provides in depth information on these key topics:

• What’s Your Value?

• Pick Your Niche.

• What Do Customers Really Want?

• Attract and Retain the Best Employees.

• Do You Know Your Cash Flow?

• Sales and Marketing Go Hand in Hand.

• Importance of Systematic Processes.

• Strategically Align Yourself.

• Have a Plan and Measure Your Results.

Various examples of the right way to proceed and the wrong way to proceed are included in the chapters. These explain various stages of the business process. There are plenty of individual examples within these stories to show things an entrepreneur should and shouldn’t do during each stage of your business.

Picking your niche or target market is a key when you are getting started. An effective entrepreneur must know who they want and need to attract to their business. Once that information is determined, review what these people need from you. What do they need and what can you effectively offer?

All good business books include information about how to bring in and keep the best employees. Your employees are a key to making your life as an entrepreneur “easier” and to helping you maintain great relationships with your customers, so never skip this important element of your business.

Many businesses are sunk because budgeting is not handled correct and no one really has control and knowledge of the business’ finances. Effective entrepreneurs need to have an accurate view of their finances from the beginning and stay in touch with the finances. One section in this chapter is about keeping personal and business money separate. This is a bit of extra work, but in the long run, it will save all sorts of potential problems and it makes tax preparation much easier when your personal money is separate fro business funds.

Should you advertise? That is a question the author asks in chapter six. The simple answer is a resounding YES. But, in the chapter, she goes into detail about why you promote and how to promote. She also includes a chart of several promotional options along with how often to do each, how to do it, why to do it and the results you should get. The chart is a good place to start and over time you can add or subtract things from that list as you find what sort of promotion is right for your business.

Something I’ve told every client over the years is to establish systems for your business. This makes it much easier to keep the business on track and a big benefit is that its great to have working systems to train new hires. Chapter seven discusses how to set up these systems, how to create a flow chart to make sure you include each step in the process. Over time, you will make changes to these systems and especially as the business grows and new people are hired, but having the basic systems established is a great benefit to you and your business.

Planning is crucial to having a successful business and that is discussed in detail. Learn how to set up things within your business so that you can track the results of promotion, service, specific products and much more. There is also a chapter about setting up strategic alliances with other businesses. Joint ventures and alliances can be great for your business, but they need to be established and executed in the right way for the most benefit.

There is much valuable business information to be learned in The Chic Entrepreneur. I recommend reading the business advise to learn more about how you can set up and run your business in an effective and successful way.

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