The title alone tells me that everything is going to be alright. I've run three types of businesses, and each of them faced questions that could grow them in big directions, and the question for me always came down to "Is that how I want to run my business?" The Big Enough Company is a new business book out by Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams, co-founders of In Good Company and chief strategists of their own consulting company. I took the train in from "upstate" to NYC (Beacon) to attend their launch party at their beautiful shared workspace location for In Good Company, where I used to work sometimes to get a different atmosphere and mingle with other business owners when I lived in NYC and worked from my apartment.
The book is about how entrepreneurs start their business, and what becomes of that business in terms of how it grows. Sometimes the business grows beyond what the entrepreneur thought, and it becomes something unrecognizable or familiar, and the business owner is working for the business, instead of the other way around. Factor that in, with how women start and run businesses, which is the thread running through this book. The Big Enough Company features interviews with 100 women business owners who share their experiences and insight that will help you as you're growing your business, no matter what stage of growth, and no matter if you're male or female.
Adelaide and Amy set out to explore how successful female business owners have grown their enterprises in a way that sustains their own personal goals and needs, not someone else's standards. Bo Birlington, editor-at-large of Inc. magazine and author of Small Giants: companies that choose to be great instead of big exclaims: "The Big Enough Company is loaded with invaluable tips, sound advice, hard-earned lessons, inspiring stories, and cautionary tales for women seeking to build a business they will love - and for men who want to know what's missing from traditional approaches to entrepreneurship. In the land of business books, it's a breath of fresh air."
The key phrase in Bo's review is "...for men who want to know what's missing from traditional approaches to entrepreneurship." When I've started my businesses, I've had different men, and women, give me comments that stay branded in my mind. They may not mean to, but it happens. Like this one from a dear uncle: "You're just starting as an entrepreneur. When I was in high school, I was selling candy bars to friends for $.50 and I'd buy them for $.10". Ok - so I didn't think to sell candy to my friends, but that didn't mean I had other thoughts or ideas on what I could sell, or how I'd sell it. In fact, in college, I had a love advice column and sold ad space to local businesses. Today, I continue to write editorial, interview people, and sell ad space, Twitter strategy, website designs, checkbook covers that I designed, etc.
Speaking of support, it was a delight to be - in such good company - of men and women who were there to celebrate the authors and the book. I talked to so many small business owners, and let me tell you - networking with women us *much* different than networking with men. That's a whole other blog post, but men dive in and get to the point and move on, and the women at this party actually came to me for the amazing tourmaline necklace I wore from Gemma Redux, and then we got into work and life and balancing kids with business. My necklace was a chic magnet!
I hunted for water with perfumer Jessica Dunne, founder of Ellie Perfume, and with Sharon A. Thompson, founder of Dream Workshop. Both ladies were fascinating, as I learned that Ellie created her perfume line after being enthralled with her grandmother's perfume collection, and having no background in beauty at all. Sharon is a tutor and educates children to realize their dreams, and how I wish I was in NYC to send Ruby to her! She also has a background in robotics, so bought a circuit board kit just for fun, and works that into some of her projects for kids to experiment with.
Julia Knight spotted my necklace from afar, and I learned about her many businesses, including her consulting business with arbonne. we talked about how SEO could help her arbonne website get above the rest, and how links from Tin Shingle as a pro-member could help that, but also a blog to start drawing traffic. Jessica Silverstein, Esq surprised me with her answer on what she does: writes resumes for attorneys. Really? There's a market for that? Well sure there is, as resume writing is really hard (as I've recently realized...a person recently asked for mine, and I haven't touched that since...maybe ten years ago?). Watch for a workshop or article from Jessica on how to write a resume as an entrepreneur).
All around great night, and great book. I've ordered mine from Amazon, and you can too!