Women Business Owners: Are You Following Finerman’s Rules?

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Finermans RulesForgive me as I pontificate on the joys of middle age (it will only take a minute).  There is something glorious that happens when you cross that magical line of actually being mature enough to have an opinion on something and stand by it.  It doesn’t have to be true for everyone – it just has to be true for you.

When you have that epiphany, it feels like a big, fat, oppressive blanket has been lifted off your shoulders.  You suddenly “get” the world and you’re okay with it.  It’s that “Things I know for sure” kind of phase in your life.  Once you’re in it – people will notice.

That’s what I get from Karen Finerman (@karenfinerman), CNBC’s “The Chairwoman,” CEO of Metropolitan Capital Advisors, mother of two (yes two) sets of twins and all around super woman of Wall Street. And now, the author of Finerman’s Rules:  Exerts I’d Only Tell My Daughters About Business and Life.  I received a review copy of the book and placed it on my summer reading list.

If you’re a woman in business, it goes without saying that you’re going to want to read this book.  It’s guaranteed to get you emotional.  Think of this as the working mom versus stay at home mom debate kind of topic.  Except that it’s targeted toward working women, who they are and how they are at work and how being that way has probably worked against them.

So You Want to Get ahead in Business…

While Finerman’s Rules is written as a guide book for women in any professional situation, a lot of these rules come directly from her experiences on Wall Street and in a corporate environment.  By saying that, I mean – not necessarily entrepreneurial.  It’s just a different overall culture and situation.

That said, let’s get you a flavor for some of these rules:

“Realize that working from home is like a sexual fantasy: It (mostly) doesn’t work out in the real world.”

Oh yeah, this one got my emotion up for sure.  I’ve worked in corporate and I currently work from home and it totally works for me.  I also work onsite with clients and that doesn’t work for me.

This is what I mean when I say that you will have an emotional response to some of these rules; you will cheer at some and jeer at others.  That’s what makes the book so much fun:

“Recognize there still exists a serious double standard and plan for it:  A man who takes a few hours to go to his kid’s soccer game is considered a great dad.  A woman who does the same is ‘unprofessional’.”

I’m on board with this one.  I don’t like it and I recognize that it exists.  And this is what I like about Finerman’s writing in this book.  She’s just telling you what she’s experienced and what’s true for her.  It may or may not be true for you, but you will find wisdom between the covers of this book.

There are more rules, but I’m going to let you stew on those two until you get your own copy of this book.

Let’s move on to how to live inside the rules.

A Framework for Success for Today’s Working Woman

Don’t worry.  This isn’t a preachy book at all, Finerman shares a framework that she’s developed to survive and thrive in today’s working environment.  Here’s a short summary:

  1. Frame the problem: Clearly define the problem and eliminate the noise.
  2. Take your emotions out of the equation:  Oh yes, women do get caught up in the emotional thing.  Lose the emotion when you’re making decisions.
  3. Know your options:  While Finerman is a big believer in NOT taking polls to make your decisions, she also advocates making sure you’ve done your research and have as much information as you need to make a good decision.
  4. Recognize what needs to be decided and what doesn’t.  When you have a big decision to make, wait as long as you can to decide because new information may present itself that will help.  But don’t sweat the small stuff – decide as quickly as you can.  (This is my favorite one).
  5. Cut your losses:  If one of your decisions doesn’t go as well as you’d like – cut your losses and move on.  Stop holding on to a bad decision and wishing it would have gone differently.

But Wait – There Are Even More Rules

There is so much good stuff in this book.  You’ll find even more rules to help guide you on your road to success; eight rules to finding your personal style, ten rules for raising kids as a working mom and everything in between.

All of Finerman’s rules are delivered in a frank and engaging writing style through her own personal stories and professional life experiences .  The only thing I thought was sort of ironic was the subtitle of the book: Secrets I’d Only Tell My Daughters About Business and Life.

They aren’t secrets and she’s not just telling her daughters – she’s sharing it with the world – and it’s worth listening to.

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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."