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Divas Doing Business is a Surprising Book





Sometimes it’s not about the book. It’s about the person writing the book. And it’s about the person reading the book. I’ll let you think about that for a moment while I go about the business of sharing my experience of “Divas Doing Business” by Monique Hayward.

Divas Doing Business - a book to savor over coffee

Monique contacted me a few months ago about reviewing her book. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about a book on “women in business.”

While I happen to be a “woman in business,” I’m just not motivated or inspired by women-centered books, organizations or anything like that. I support it, I belong to women’s organizations and all those good things– it just isn’t a topic that I’m drawn to. In other words, this is a book that I received and am reading because I support women in business, authors and the spirit of entrepreneurship and not because it’s a subject I’m especially interested in.

A lesson became obvious to me in this process: we all need to expand our reading horizons, because sometimes the biggest lessons aren’t found in the topics that interest you most. Real innovation and inspiration can come from the place you least expect.

And this is what happened to me — even before I started reading the actual book. I’m going to tell you about my experience in the hopes that this review not only inspires you to read this book, but inspires you to do something you didn’t really feel like doing.

First Impressions Can be Misleading

I don’t happen to like the word “Diva.” The word makes me think of women who expect everything and contribute nothing. Talk about being off the mark! “Divas Doing Business” is about the complete OPPOSITE. This book is a compilation of stories, lessons and experiences from a total of ten amazing, dynamic, persistent and inspiring people (who happen to be women).

Then there’s the sub-headline “What the Guidebooks Don’t Tell You About Being a Woman Entrepreneur.” OK, now you have my attention. I hope it’s something juicy like a recommendation to eat a cheeseburger before your big client meeting! No chance.

Turns out that what the guidebooks don’t tell you is the truth; you need to be a certain kind of person to start, grow and run a successful business. You don’t need to be the smartest (although that helps). You don’t need to be the richest; Monique watched her grandmother transform herself from a beauty shop owner to a nurse every day for 30 years. You simply need to have the drive and spirit to do what it takes and be willing to learn, change and think creatively to reach your goal.

So, you see, I haven’t gotten past the foreword and I’m already experiencing a change in attitude and learning some necessary lessons.

I’m the kind of person that loves to read the foreword, the dedication and the acknowledgments. I feel like it gives me this little peek into who the author is as a person by what they write in their acknowledgments. I can see that Monique’s bedrock is her family and her inner circle. When I saw that Morgan Freeman wrote the foreword, I was curious about the connection until I saw that he was not only a customer of Monique’s restaurant and bistro, but that they had worked together on a charity that she started. Once again, I continue to be inspired – not by what’s in the book, but by the quality of the people I’m about to meet inside its pages.

The Nitty Gritty

There are nine chapters in the book and some basic business planning and market planning tools in the appendix. Each chapter is a lesson on the entrepreneur’s journey that features a woman entrepreneur who best represents all aspects of the lesson. In Chapter Four, “The Real Deal on Raising Money”, Monique goes through her entire experience on actually snooping out a scam investment firm that offered her money. Her detailed account of checking out the e-mail, the internet, blogs and reaching out to members of the internet community taught me two important lessons: (1) don’t ignore offers for money and (2) dig and check and confirm and verify every tidbit of information before you consider any offers.

Chapter Nine is dedicated to “Making Mistakes.” Monique openly shares several mistakes and lessons she learned by making the choice to purchase product from a large multi-million dollar food supplier. With just one strategic decision, she outlines three mistakes and lessons. In addition to that, she featured Jacqueline Rhinehart, from Organic Soul Marketing. Jacqueline takes it one step further and shares how her persistence keeps her from spinning out over mistakes.

Is This Book for You?

I already told you that when I picked up this book I didn’t think it was “for me.” But I’ve also told you that it has given me new perspective, energy and insight as to who I have to be to build my business into everything that it’s capable of.

If you are a startup woman-owned business, you really ought to pick this book up. The stories and women that are featured will feed your entrepreneurial soul (especially since there are quite a few restaurant owners featured). If you’re a male business owner, this book will give you an inside look into how women business owners live and what’s important to them. Since women-owned businesses tend to fare better then men’s — you might learn a few things about how to keep your business going in this economy.

“Divas Doing Business” isn’t just a book you’ll read and put away. It’s a book you’ll flip through, read over coffee and keep on your desk.

* * * * *

Ivana Taylor About the Author: Ivana Taylor is CEO of Third Force, a strategic firm that helps small businesses get and keep their ideal customer.  She’s the co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers” and proprietor of DIYMarketers, a site for in-house marketers.  Her blog is Strategy Stew.

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Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

13 Reactions

  1. Martin Lindeskog

    Martin Lindeskog

    Ivana,

    What an intriguing review! I have to get this book and show it to a small business creator that I have started to work with. She is involved in the functional food area, growing, harvesting, producing and developing products made by healthy “superberries” like sea-buckthorn and chokeberries (aronia).

    I think she will be curious to learn more about the book after she has read the title of the book… I will help her with storytelling through social media activities and with business intelligence analysis regarding SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and digging out data and information that could be of importance for her business. You mentioned that well in the sentence:

    “Her detailed account of checking out the e-mail, the internet, blogs and reaching out to members of the internet community taught me two important lessons: (1) don’t ignore offers for money and (2) dig and check and confirm and verify every tidbit of information before you consider any offers.”

    I have to ask you about your statement at the end:

    “Since women-owned businesses tend to fare better then men’s — you might learn a few things about how to keep your business going in this economy.”

    Do you have a source for this information? I have a vague memory that Scott Shane has written about this topic. I want to share this data with Paula Widén. If you want to learn more about Paula Widén’s business, please click on “Martin Lindeskog” Says: I have used her website as a link due to the fact that I have started to work for and with her. The main work will be the start-up of SmartWell on the North American market and the introduction of natural water (fine groundwater from an artesian aquifer / well) rich with minerals and with extra oxygen. As a social media enthusiast, I look forward to read this book!

    All the Best,

    Martin
    P.S. Ivana: Is it tea or coffee in your cup? Nice workspace! Is it a mahogany roll-top desk? πŸ™‚

  2. Anita Campbell

    Hi Ivana, I have the same reaction as you when it comes to women’s organizations. Not against them, but just don’t identify that strongly with them, as you point out:

    While I happen to be a “woman in business,” I’m just not motivated or inspired by women-centered books, organizations or anything like that. I support it, I belong to women’s organizations and all those good things- it just isn’t a topic that I’m drawn to.

    I am also sometimes put off by too many over-generalizations about women business owners. I consider myself an individual and I don’t think exactly the same way other women think on every issue, and I am always puzzled by attempts to stereotype women as one homogeneous group of “Stepford Wives” type of thinkers.

    So I am glad you explained that about this book.

    — Anita

  3. Anita Campbell

    Martin, Ivana’s desk is a beautiful roll-top desk. I’ve seen it — and I am amazed she can keep it so organized.

    Anita

  4. Martin Lindeskog

    Martin Lindeskog

    Anita & Ivanna: I am glad to hear that you are speaking up for the individual being and that you shun the type of stereotyping that is common in today’s business world.

    I have debated this issue with Paula Widén and we will discuss how we could use her role as an “appointed ambassador for female business leadership by the government” in a correct, rational and pro-business manner. I think that this topic could be interesting and important to have a conversation about on her future blog.

  5. Martin Lindeskog

    Anita,

    Yes, it is a beautiful roll-top desk! πŸ™‚ Maybe Ivana is practicing the “getting thins done” method or some other productivity workflow system in order to have a clean desk. It is funny you mention this, my next post on EGO will talk about my “evolution” of a “GTD” workspace. You will see some before and after pictures, photos of Morris the Cat helping me with the organizing, a clever and simple low-tech tool, etc. Stay tuned! πŸ˜‰

  6. Martin Lindeskog

    Sorry for the typo. “getting thins done”

    It should be “getting things done”.

  7. RedHotFranchises

    I have to agree that the phrase “Divas doing Business” is hard to catch someone’s attention, since most people would think It’s about learning how to do Business as a women instead of lessons and experiences from 10 successful women entrepreneurs, Thanks for the Great Review.

  8. Great review. I probably wouldn’t have picked up the book either just by it’s title. I have the same reaction to the word “diva” and would have assumed that I couldn’t gain anything from reading about them.

    I’m glad you gave us a thorough overview of the book and talked openly about your thoughts on the title. You’ve made me curious about this book now.

  9. TJ McCue

    Ivana
    You hit the nail on the head and made sure you wouldn’t lose YOUR reader by writing about a topic where many share your sentiments. What a great review that kept me reading. I am now interested to read this book, too. Thanks.
    TJ

  10. TJ McCue

    Oh, and you might have already seen this site and the research they do, but thought I’d share it:
    http://www.womensbusinessresearchcenter.org/Research/keyfacts/

  11. Ivana,

    Great post! Just downloaded the book to Kindle. Like you, I don’t like the word “diva” because of the connotation sometimes. However, I am intrigued by the subject matter. I think more women or men in business should divulge their startup nightmares. As I am an advocate for startups, I can’t wait to see what’s in the book.

    Thanks,
    Cheryl

  12. Great review Ivana. I will be letting the wife know about this book. Thanks for sharing.

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