The Big Enough Company: How Women Can Build Great Businesses and Happier Lives

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Penguin, Sep 15, 2011 - Business & Economics - 288 pages
All entrepreneurs start their companies because they think it will give them freedom-freedom to work on their own terms, be their own bosses, and create a company that meets their needs. But so often the opposite happens, and they end up encumbered by businesses that bear little to no resemblance to those they had envisioned. They wind up working for their companies, but their companies don't work for them.

Despite the freedom that striking out on your own promises, most of the accepted wisdom on how to build a small business advocates a one- size-fits-all approach. So-called experts-and sometimes just well-meaning friends-urge business owners to grow fast, be more profitable, and imitate other successful start-ups. And while these tips may work for some, they fail to consider the astounding variety of values and motivations that individuals have for starting a business. Too often, owners sacrifice their personal satisfaction in order to conform to unnecessary (and often unworkable) standards.

Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams have seen this problem for years when working with women entrepreneurs like themselves. They 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.

Drawing on the true stories of nearly 100 entrepreneurs, as well as their own experiences, Abrams and Lancaster guide readers through the best principles that really matter when you work for yourself. For instance:

  • Figure out what's in it for you: Clarify why you started your business and what you want to get out of it over the long haul.
  • Find a role that suits your strengths: Identify where you add the most value and can have the most impact.
  • Embrace experimentation: Trying new things gives you the opportunity to see what works and what doesn't and opens up unseen possibilities.

This book empowers entrepreneurs to ignore popular "wisdom" and peer pressure to take charge of their businesses in a way that will help them succeed on their own terms.


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User Review  - wlmckee - LibraryThing

This book was a good exercise in reminding me of why I went into business and what I want to get out of it. Over the last 10 years, that vision has changed. Adelaide and Amy have done a great job of ... Read full review


Where We Stand
The Entrepreneurs in This Story
How This Book Works
A Look at Motivations
Working for What Is Important
Clarifying Your Motivations
When You Get in Your Own Way
A Look at Business Purpose
What We Are Aiming For
Identifying a Future That Works for You
When You Get in Your Own Way
Taking On Too Much at Once
Do Less
When You Get in Your Own Way
Aiming for Perfection
Embracing Experimentation

Creating a Business Legacy
Determining the Impact You Want Your Business to Have
When You Get in Your Own Way
A Look at Role
Crafting the Right Role
Giving Yourself a Job You Enjoy
When You Get in Your Own Way
A Look at the Future Goal for Your Business
When You Get in Your Own Way
Unable to Draw the Line
Learning to Say No
When You Get in Your Own Way
Its Lonely at the Top
Find Your People
When You Get in Your Own Way

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About the author (2011)

Amy Abrams and Adelaide Lancaster are the founders of In Good Company, a collaborative workspace for women business owners in New York City. In addition to their entrepreneurial ventures, they also work as consultants and career advisers, and their work has been featured in The New York Times and on MSNBC. Visit

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