Friday, October 12, 2007

Book Review: The ParentPreneur Edge

When local author and entrepreneur Julie Lenzer Kirk asked me to review her new book, The ParentPreneur Edge, I was thrilled by the opportunity. Kirk posits that the skills we hone through parenting can be invaluable in running a business. This supports my championed belief that being a parent is not our greatest detriment in the work world. However, I am forced to use the excuse that as a busy working parent myself, I fell victim to obligation overload. Kirk's book migrated from my "Work - To Do" pile to my "Summer Reading" pile, you know the pile that gets lugged along on every summer vacation yet is never touched. Finally, I share with you a review of Julie Lenzer Kirk's enlightening book, The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business.

Kirk's book was written for parents and entrepreneurs; however, the lessons she conveys make good business sense for any manager. The ParentPreneur Edge is filled with stories of parenting and entrepreneurship that serve as a step-by-step guide to entrepreneurship or a source of motivation for any parent experiencing developmental growing pains whether that "child" is a small business or biological offspring. With personal anecdotes from her family and her business, Kirk walks readers through the stages of development including:

Preparing for Entrepreneurship - Getting Pregnant
Launching - Labor and Delivering
The Early Days - Baby to Toddler
Ramping up: A Time to Learn - Elementary School
Growing Pains - The Preteen Years
Emerging Independence - The Teen Years
Exercising Your Exit - Letting Go

Each chapter is full of good advice for the seasoned manager or budding entrepreneur. Throughout the book, Julie stresses the importance of fiscal responsibility to the tiniest detail and a need to view a business plan as a living document. Kirk also takes a moment to discuss the challenges of managing employees who desire flexible scheduling. As an entrepreneur, Julie started her IT business out of a home office practicing maximum flexibility of her own schedule. Flexibility with a new baby and a new business was essential. However, Kirk quickly discovered that managing a small staff provided a large challenging in approving flexible scheduling. For the employee who wished to alter his schedule just one night a week to pursue graduate education, Kirk went to bat. However, for the office manager who wanted to telecommute two days a week, Julie found the request impossible to grant. Her policy of "balance at all costs" went out the window as a procedure for granting flexible scheduling evolved.

If you are thinking of starting a small business, The ParentPreneur Edge offers step-by-step guidance through the stages of entrepreneurial development. If you are a business owner or a manager, The ParentPreneur Edge offers a variety of resources from websites to support groups to other books to read. If you are a working parent, the book offers uplifting and motivational anecdotes from another parent who has juggled so much and found so much success.

The ParentPreneur Edge is published by John Wiley & Sons.

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