Tips for a successful business

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business card exchange

business card exchangeStarting a business can seem scary! But get it right and it’s the most rewarding work you’ll ever do. So we’ve compiled some tips for you from other mums who have done it successfully.

 

Your vision

Write down where you want to be and what you want from this. Also, think about your work-life balance and decide what you want to achieve. For example:

  • Flexible working
  • Financial reward
  • Making the most of your skills, knowledge and experience
  • Satisfaction from your own input/ownership
  • Achievement/status
  • Have fun!

Your product

  • Niche ideas, focussed on a niche market, are often the most successful.  Your idea needs to be unique or different to what’s already out there.
  • What’s worked for others? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel for an idea to be good.
  • Play to your strengths – what you’re good at, what you enjoy, what you’re passionate about. Do something you love.

Marketing

  • Do your research thoroughly. Go online, to libraries and organisations; talk to others.
  • Find out how to market your product. Who you’re selling to affects your pricing, style and marketing strategy.
  • Look at awards, like Women in Business, for free publicity and market awareness.

Methodology

  • Get your systems in place at the start. Once you’re up and running you’ll be surprised by how little time you have. Designing invoices when you have a backlog of work to invoice for is the wrong time!
  • Have a phone system that takes messages during key family times (e.g. 4-6pm).  Keep family and work separate – to reduce stress and family pressures, and keep things professional.
  • Fast decisions have been proven to be as effective as those that have taken ages! Sometimes being brave and going with your gut instinct is the right thing.
  • Accept that this is a learning process – not just at the start, but also as you progress.

Contacts

  • Connect with those who’ve succeeded, for their advice. Look at Giant Potential, designed for connecting women in business. Read books by mums who have set up in business – learn from others’ mistakes.
  • Get a network of like-minded people, but these should NOT be your friends – they are too precious! Even if your business is women-related, keep work away from friendships.
  • Find other flexible workers; learn from how they manage their time.
  • Realise that progression may be slower if you’re working part-time.

Money

  • Start a business on low risk and low cost. You can start out part-time while you keep your “day job” to minimise risk and protect income.
  • Monitor cash and profits: most businesses fail due to not enough cash, as opposed to not enough profits. Cash flow and projections are critical to keeping things running.
  • Focus on income-producing activities. Ask yourself how closely an activity relates to core income generation.

Running a business from home

  • If you’re struggling to work from home, try Workhub – an office for remote working equivalent to working from home.
  • Get advice – Enterprise Nation is especially for people starting a business from home.
  • There’s loads of support for small businesses and entrepreneurs – from the government initiative Exemplas to social networking site Ecademy.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that loads of professional women do once they start a family. Don’t die with your music still in you!