The Chic Entrepreneur by Elizabeth Gordon and Leanna Adams
Book Review - 4.5 Stars
I don't realise just how male dominated our society is until someone (usually a woman) hits me over the head and makes me challenge my views of the accepted norm. Elizabeth Gordon and Leanna Adams have done that with their excellent book "The Chic Entrepreneur".
Who Are Elizabeth Gordon and Leanna Adams?
Elizabeth is American, a bit of a flirt, writes a lovely email and has the good sense to be engaged to an Englishman.
Elizabeth also has a passion for helping others to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. She is the founder of Flourishing Business, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Wake Forest University in North Carolina and has a Masters in Marketing from Georgia State University.
She's responsible for me looking up what "Magna Cum Laude" actually means because it's not a phrase we use in the UK - "with great honor". Thanks to Wikipedia which translated it into something I can understand, it is the equivalent of a first class honours degree in the UK and it seems that my 2:1 only translates into "cum laude".
Leanna Adams is the public relations specialist for Flourishing Business, has a one year old golden retriever and is getting married in August 2008.
"The Chic Entrepreneur" is written by Elizabeth with Leanna so I'm not sure what that means but Elizabeth seems to be the main woman.
Learn To Take Your Business From Flats to Stilettos
The back cover describes The Chic Entrepreneur as "a step by step guide any female entrepreneur can use to build an effective business growth strategy for a company that will ultimately work without her."
That's right a book written by a woman for women to help improve their businesses and at no time while reading it did I forget.
Perhaps its my age but mentions of panties, a woman pulling credit cards out of her bra and jumping into bed with partners created mental images that I don't normally get when I am reading a business book but they certainly spiced up the read.
"The Chic Entrepreneur" made me chuckle in places and was an eye-opener to the female psyche in others.
I hadn't realised just how much traditional business books are written by men for men but Elizabeth has written a business classic aimed directly at the female entrepreneurs determined to get to the top.
What Does The Chic Entrepreneur Cover?
- Identifying the value you bring to the marketplace.
- Selecting your niche.
- What customers really want.
- Attracting and retaining the best employees.
- Understanding your cash flow.
- Effective sales and marketing.
- Systematising your processes.
- Working with alliances.
- Planning and measuring your results.
- The Chic Message
As you can see this is a comprehensive guide to business and regular readers will see a strong connection between Elizabeth's nine points and my "Eight Pillars Of Business Prosperity".
Each chapter is packed with sound advice and starts with big company contrast example of doing it right and wrong. Unfortunately this is where the culture divide comes in as some of the names weren't familiar to me.
I didn't agree with everything she wrote but then I'm too opinionated for that.
If The Chic Entrepreneur stopped here I would be saying it is a good read, well written, informative and a useful guide to female entrepreneurs and any brave men willing to buy a book with a pair of stiletto heels on the cover.
Fortunately "The Chic Entrepreneur" doesn't stop there as a worthy 3.5 to 4 star book.
What Makes The Chic Entrepeneur So Special Is...
Each chapter ends in a real highlight with two fictional comparisons which perfectly illustrate the importance of the points Elizabeth Gordon is making.
What makes the stories so powerful is that this is not "hopeless versus fantastic" where neither side will resonate with the average reader.
Elizabeth and Leanna are much too insightful for that and The Chic Entrepreneur wouldn't carry such a knock-out punch if they had pitched the extremes against each other.
Instead we have stories of entrepreneurs, thoughtful, hard-working, well-meaning and determined to do right by the customers. Each resonates and as you start reading you don't know which will be the success story and which will be the story of mediocrity. The actions they take seem sensible - so sensible that you will probably see yourself doing exactly the same things.
Things turn pear-shaped for one unlucky entrepreneur.
The troubled business unravels while the better prepared business sails serenely on, doing the right things at the right time and reaping the rewards.
I just love these little stories in The Chic Entrpreneur. They are beautifully put together, inspired and communicate a strong message.
This is a very clever book.
It is easy to read the main sections of the chapters and think "I know that and that. That's a nice little tip. I know that." but these stories are likely to send you back re-reading the advice because of your surprises in the stories.
The Chic Entrepreneur Stories
In The Chic Entrepreneur we have
- Don and Donna teaching us about establishing your value.
- Rhonda and Rodica learning the lessons of picking the right niche.
- Barbara and Benita discovering the importance of knowing what customers really want.
- Sarah and Seema providing us with tips on attracting and retaining employees.
- Wanda and Willie on cash flow and financial control
- Adrienne and Alisha with lessons on sales and marketing
- Nancy and Nicole demonstrating just why it's so important to systematise
- Pauline and Patricia showing just why it's important to be choosy about who you "get into bed with"
- Yu and Yolanda revealing why measurement matters.
Conclusion on The Chic Entrepreneur - 4.5 Stars
It is clear that Elizabeth and I see business in very much the same way.
I give "The Chic Entrepreneur" 4.5 stars for content which makes it a strong buy recommendation from me, suitable for both male and female entrepreneurs.
Elizabeth and Leanna have clearly got a talent both for business and for putting together fictional characters in short stories. I wouldn't be surprised if the follow-up book isn't along the lines of Eliyahu Goldratt's "The Goal" with important business messages weaved into a story narrative.
I believe there is a market.
Too many people think that business books are boring and stuffy and won't read them - to be fair, many are - but "The Chic Entrepreneur" shows that stories convey messages that are convincing, compelling and educational.
Have You Read The Chic Entrepreneur?
If so, what did you think?
Do you agree with me that it is the stories which make The Chic Entrepreneur stand out from the crowd of small business books?