Last week Karen Sherr told us how she started her business, Musical Minis. Today she gives us her eleven top tips for running a business as a mum.
1. Research the market and competition.
2. Start small. Let the business grow as and when you can cope with expansion.
3. Have a clear idea what you want out of the business e.g. money, how much?
4. Try to separate work from home. If your business is based at home (as all the Musical Minis administration is) have a second phone line fitted. If you’re bathing the children, for example, the answer machine will pick up the call. If a child is having a tantrum you don’t have to speak about business and get more stressed – phone back once the children are settled.
5. Have backup. If your child is ill what will happen to your business? e.g. in Musical Minis will you have to send away the children or can you phone someone to run the class.
6. Know your limitations. For example if you have problems with accounts get someone to help you.
7. Set time aside to be a Mum. After school play with your child or help with homewok. Whenever possible I take and collect my children from school. On the 25 minute journey, I have time to hear about their day and my time is just focused on the children – no phone calls, email or supper to deal with.
8. If there are not enough hours in the day to do everything, do the bits you like (with both work and home life) and get help with the bits you don’t. E.g. get a cleaner, shop online.
9. Work out the balance between work and home that you want. Get help with either work or home life, if the business grows too big for you to manage both roles then work, home and you, will all suffer.
10. Set time aside to deal with administration, household tasks etc. If you keep putting it off the task will become huge (e.g., hours of paperwork, loads of ironing). Regular manageable chunks of mundane but important tasks will help things flow smoothly.
11. Set time aside for yourself. Running a business and having a family gives you no free time – there is always something you should be doing. It is important, whenever possible, to give yourself time to relax – maybe meet a friend for lunch, go shopping for yourself.
I have found the balance that is right for me. Others would need a different balance. Expansion with Musical Minis has purposely been kept small, on a level I can manage, as I still want to be a Mum. Now as the children are growing up, I feel expansion can be more rapid.