Book Review – The Female Entrepreneur by Charly Lester and Caroline Brealey

The Female EntrepreneurThe Female Entrepreneur subtitled, a step-by-step guide to the adventure  that is starting your own business was written by two successful entrepreneurs in the dating industry, Charly Lester and Caroline Brealey. This book written to women everywhere to challenge them to see entrepreneurship as an option was written by two women who truly have the experience of what it means not only to start a business but also preside over businesses that are successful.

The book is split into seven sections which are:

SECTION 1 – INTRODUCTION

In which Carly and Caroline tell their business stories and explain why they wrote the book. They also discuss:

  • Why they wrote the book for just female entrepreneurs
  • The different types of entrepreneurs
  • Why it’s important to work for yourself
  • The qualities you need to work for yourself
  • The steps necessary to become an entrepreneur

SECTION 2 – THE IDEA STAGE

The name of this section makes it obvious about what if focuses on. In this section of the book you will read about coming up with an initial idea, researching the market, identifying a target niche, writing a business plan, skilling up, co-founders and dealing with doubts.

SECTION 3 – BRANDING

Off course you can always expect to read about branding in a book about entrepreneurship. The usual stuff is covered around branding:

  • choosing the right business name
  • web domains and hosting
  • Your logo
  • website

SECTION 4 – LEGITIMISING YOUR BUSINESS

This section teaches us how to register a business, about trademarking, data protection, back-up systems, initial investments in the business and business banking.

SECTION 5 – ATTRACTING CLIENTS

This section is all about marketing and it discusses a number of marketing related strategies which include speeches, social media, advertising, business cards, media appearance, blogging and public relations.

SECTION 6 – MAKING SALES

The section logically follows on from the one on marketing and it looks at your ‘shop front’, first impressions, selling your service and contracts.

SECTION 7 – STAYING ON TRACK

This section discusses customer service, growing your business and keeping yourself motivated.

From each of the sections I took away one key lesson, which I have summarized below.

LESSON 1 – QUALITIES FOE ENTREPRENEURSHIP

From section one, I learnt about the qualities we need to work for ourselves. It all starts with self-confidence and Carly and Caroline make it clear:

You don’t need to be the loudest girl at the party, but you do need to believe in yourself. Because if you don’t, you can’t expect anyone else to.

We must also be passionate. Building a business requires time, resources, energy and commitment. That requires us to be passionate about it, otherwise we should reconsider whether it is the right thing for us.

In addition to passion is having strong work ethic. When you start out you will most likely need to do everything by yourself. That requires hard work.

You will also need to be flexible. Expect things to keep changing and plans to change. You will also need to be able to motivate yourself or be self-motivated.

You have to be able to manage your time well, keep yourself motivated and full of positive energy even when the going gets tough.

Finally you will need to be organised. No matter the size of the business you need to be able to prioritize and maximize the impact of how you spend your time.

LESSON 2 – HOW TO RESEARCH YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE IDEA

When starting with a business idea you will need to do some research about it’s viability. Here are some questions you can ask to research a service you intend to offer.

  • Who are ‘your potential competitors in your country and city?
  • What services do your competitors offer?
  • How do your competitors deliver those services?
  • What packages do they offer?
  • What is their price range?
  • Do they operate in a niche area?
  • How well-known are they?
  • What’s unique about what they offer?
  • What do they do well and not so well?
  • What are your initial thoughts when looking at their website?

LESSON 3 – FIVE CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHOOSING A BUSINESS NAME

  1. Choose a name familiar enough to generate a nice feeling among your clients.
  2. Avoid cheesy names. Whatever name you choose should be appropriate for your target audience.
  3. Check if the name can be trademarked.
  4. Consider what social media handles you will use with the name. They should be available on all major social media platforms.
  5. It should pass the ‘loud bar’ test which means you must be able to explain it easily to people. Even without seeing it, they should be able to write it down.

LESSON 4 – THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADEMARKING YOUR BUSINESS NAME

Trademarking your business name is not necessary but doing it can provide a high level protection for your business. For instance in the UK, if you start your business in England, somebody else can start the same exact business in Scotland but trademarking your business name can protect against this happening.

To trademark your business name apply online directly with the intellectual property office at http://www.ipo.gov.uk. This application will only apply to the UK. For other countries you need to follow their respective trademarking process.

LESSON 5 – HOW TO MAKE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS WORK FOR YOU

Here are six tips to help make your social media accounts more effective:

  • Engage with people and respond to their questions.
  • Post interesting updates and advice and keep your posts varied.
  • Ask questions to get conversations going and show appreciation for people’s comments.
  • Use images in your posts.
  • Pick images that represent who you are positively.
  • Get simple social media handles that represent your business. Replicate the same name across different social media platforms.

LESSON 6 – FREE CONSULTATIONS FOR OFFERING A SERVICE

If as part of your business you plan to offer a service then it may be beneficial offering an initial free consultation to customers. You can do this to:

  • Give potential clients information they need to make an informed decision whether your service is right for them.
  • Get to know them.
  • Work out if they are right for your service.
  • Begin building a rapport with them.

LESSON 7 – HOW TO DEAL WITH A COMPLAINT

If a customer complaints about your service or product how do you deal with it. Here are some tips:

  • Respond quickly, acknowledge the complaint and look into it.
  • Apologise if the client is unhappy.
  • Keep a record of the complaint.
  • Take an optimistic approach to dealing with the complaint. Be positive.
  • Do all you can to make the customer happy.
  • Don’t get upset, there are some things you can’t control.
  • Respond in the most human way you can.

Though this is a book written for women, anyone can benefit from it. The book tries to cover almost everything you will need to start a business and it does a good job at it. Above are my seven lessons, I’m sure if you read the book you will get your lessons too.

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