First of all, I wouldn't categorize this book as a book useful to women only. As the author says, most of the information you are going to need if you start your own business is the same whether you are a man or a woman. As a man, I didn't feel the book wasn't germane to my gender. It transcends gender 99% of the time. Perhaps this more of a marketing ploy than anything. That said, it doesn't impair the usefulness of the book.
If you are going to start a business, you're going to have to jump through three major hurdles: financial, legal, and personal. You've got to fund your business, you have to make sure you have paperwork filled out so that it meets legal requirements, and you have to make sure that your family understands and accepts the serious commitment that you are undertaking in running your business.
I'll bet a lot of small businesses are started with scant attention to each of those, especially the last. I know mine was. I learned as I went (as all business owners do), and made plenty of mistakes. I wish I had a book such as 'The Woman's Small Business Start-Up Kit' when I started mine.
Author Peri Pakroo (who has written two other books for Nolo on business) concentrates on the legal aspects of the process, since she is a lawyer. But the book isn't a boring tome about 'this contract and that permit'. She covers the gamut of what needs to be done: elucidating your vision and mission, identifying a market, writing a business plan, raising capital (so important), hiring employees, accounting, and marketing. She also addresses other important topics, such as whether to work out of your home or not, finding rental space if necessary, dealing with employees, and negotiating the sometimes tortuous permit process. She also addresses what I consider to be one of the most important problems that can arise in starting and running a business: balancing work and family. I can attest that small business owners can become fixated on growing their business, putting in long, hard hours. That can lead to strains in the family.
One thing that struck me about the book is emphasis on internet-based resources that can help grow your business. She addresses social media, developing a website (almost a requirement for any business that deals with the public), blogging, e-marketing and so on. And that's even if you don't run your business primarily on the 'net. That is something I've not done, since I started my business before the widespread adoption of the Internet, and my business doesn't really lend itself to the internet (I find clients the old-fashioned way. Although I do advertise on the Internet.)
As is the case with virtually all Nolo books, this is a great general overview of the process. You're going to need more specialized help along the way, and this book isn't going to have the answer to every question you're going to have. But it can point the way, discussing the broad overview, and taking care of some of the big questions at the very onset of your business. And she discusses lining up experts that you can hire when you have a problem that you can't solve yourself.
There is a useful CD included in the book that contains legal forms that one can use as a companion with the book.
Highly recommended. I wish I had had this book when I started my business. I certainly would have avoided a few tough lessons I learned the hard way. Four-and-a-half stars for 'The Woman's Small Business Start-up Kit.' (By the way, I'm a guy, yet the information here can apply to anyone who is making the important decision on when and how to start a small business.