Balancing Life As A Working Mum

If you’re a mummy boss, there are a lot of problems you can face on a regular basis. Women are very capable when it comes to the working world, and it needn’t stop you from having a family at the same time. However, it can sometimes get a little hard to keep up with both sides of the equation. Of course there’s no harm in that, we all get stressed out from time to time, but don’t let it become a chronic stressor in your life!

Balancing your life as a working mum is going to take a bit of planning, and that’s going to take a little more time out of your day. However, it’s going to improve your quality of life, so it’s worth doing. So if you’re running a business on your own, here’s some tips on making sure your family is equally as important as staying on top of your game.

Spend Less Time at Work

Spending less time at work? Won’t that mean you’re not getting the right amount of work done? Doesn’t it mean you’re going to have to take the files home with you and continue well into the night at the kitchen table? All in all, it doesn’t have to mean any of that!

So spending less time at work might be the last thing you want to do, after all you’re running your own business. But it can mean you’re putting more quality work into your hours when in the workplace, and then getting a good amount of time at home with the ones you love. Set yourself up a schedule to try and stick to as much as you can, and make sure you’re getting all of the hardest tasks out of the way when you turn up to the office.

Organise at Night

Getting organised is one of the hardest things to do when you’re a working mum. The kids need waking, dressing, feeding, and then dropping off to school in the morning, and then you’ve got a good 8 hour shift ahead of you. It sounds exhausting even thinking about it! However, cutting out the unnecessary stress of this kind of lifestyle is a lot simpler than most of us might think.

Pack any lunches the night before, and stick them in the fridge until morning. Similarly, pick out your clothes, and get the kids to pick out their uniforms, before you all go to bed. It immediately cuts out a good 10 minutes or so of rushing in the morning, which you can dedicate to a calmer breakfast or a cup of coffee (or even a few more minutes in bed!).

Automate Your Business Operations

Efficiency is something we all want more of in our working lives, and when tasks take time it can seriously demotivate us. However, this is no place for you to lose sleep over. If you have something you need to do day by day when you’re working, try to automate the process. This is a lot easier than you think it might be, seeing as you’re most likely using a computer in your daily to do list already! So

Depending on the kind of business you’re in, it’s also worth taking to the digital world to look after the money you’re bringing in. ‘But surely that’s my job as the owner?’ you ask; you’ll still be overseeing everything your program is doing, but from a distance, allowing you to keep an eye on other areas you may be lacking in. It’s this constant worry over where the next thousand pounds or so is going to come from which distracts you from tasks such as actually marketing your efforts properly!

Making your money off of a computer sometimes seems like a risky option, but algorithmic trading is there to make sure your business can keep up with all the developments in the financial world across the globe. There’s a good chance you’re going to be asleep when there’s a crash in Japan, and you’re not going to be able to do anything at the time. Let the program do the work for you, ready and waiting for you to wake up from that much needed kip to continue your work without much incidence.

Balancing life as a working mum isn’t as impossible as the world likes to tell you. You need time at work, on your own, and as a family. It’s time to start prioritising!

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Create a Retail Environment That Increases Your Sales

 

The world of retail is one that has gone through some changes over the years, but the defining business principle remains the same – convincing customers to buy from you. In the world of online shopping, this is more important than ever. But increasing your sales doesn’t have to be all about the actual selling approach; the shopping environment that you create is also hugely important. Though there are various ways that you can set out your shop, there are a few key ideas that remain the same for all retail environments. So, in this post, we are going to cover off these basic points to help you create a retail environment that should make a big difference to the number of sales that you make and, therefore, your bottom line profit.

Step into the Threshold

The threshold area is the first impression will get of your store. Perhaps they have heard about your shop before or they have been attracted by your window display. Whatever the case, you need to greet them in the right way. They will begin to make instant judgements about the level of value at your store, as well as snap decisions about the decor etc. Make sure that you have thought through all the details. Start off from the bottom. Have you looked how much does polished concrete cost? Next, you need to consider lighting that ensures your customers aren’t squinting into the darkness. Then, you need to decide on a colour scheme, as well as other key details including fixtures and displays. Since customers are processing all this information very quickly, they are more likely to miss any products or signage that you place here, so bear this in mind when you are setting out your store.

Start from the Right

It is a well-known fact in the world of retail that customers generally will unconsciously turn right upon entering a store. The first wall of products that they see is crucial as this serves to give a high-impact first impression of your merchandise, so make sure that you pay particular attention to the items that you wish to display and how you set them out. Maybe this is where you will put your biggest sellers or perhaps you will choose to put some seasonal items up there. It could even be the place where you place items which are heavily discounted.

Let Customers Walk a Path

The path that you are able to lead your visitors on will depend very much on the size of your store, but you can start off with the knowledge that they generally want to turn right and work from here. Your next task is to make sure that they keep on walking to see as many of your products as possible. The longer they stay in your store and the more items that they see, the more likely it is that they will end up making a purchase. A lot of shops take guests on a circular path that leads customers to the back of the store and round to the front again. If you want your customers to get to the end of a particular aisle, positioning an eye-catching display there is a great way to grab their attention.

Slow Them Down

Just because you want your customers seeing everything that you have to offer, it doesn’t mean that you want them rushing to the end and back out of the door again. One way of combating this issue is by creating breaks along the way – sometimes referred to as ‘speed bumps’. A range of things can stop customers in their tracks, but the most effective ones tend to be signage and special displays. Rather than just having a continuous row of shelves, you can also position ‘outposts’ to break up your display and slow customers down. It is worth changing these on a fairly regular basis for the benefit of repeat visitors. Consider the shopper’s perspective, keeping the most in-demand products at eye-level as much as possible.

Keep Them Comfortable

You want your customers to be able to glide around your store with maximum ease, so try to set out your store in a way that provides maximum personal space for them. Another way to make your shop seem more inviting and comfortable is by putting in a waiting area with some comfortable seats and benches. This helps to keep from the non-shopping enthusiasts in the group from dragging the shoppers out of the store! Try to keep these facing your merchandise, You never know – the non-shopper may be struck by something that they simply have to buy!

Get Them Checked Out

Once your customers have finished with their shopping experience, they need to be able to pay as efficiently as possible. The checkout can either be located at a natural stopping point in your store or else a place which has been specifically designed to fulfil the purpose. Since customers naturally turn to the right, it makes sense that you put the checkout counter somewhere on the left. If you are managing the store on your own, it is essential that it is in a position where you can see as much of the environment as possible so customers can pay when they are ready. A common trick is to encourage any last-minute purchases by stocking a few final products by the till.

When you are designing the interior of your store, this is a process which you can continually tweak and adjust to make life as easy and enjoyable as possible for your customers. Test out the customer journey that they will take around your store to get the best idea of how they will move around the environment. It is always worth observing your customers to see what they are naturally drawn to so that you can continue to make improvements to your retail environment and ultimately, increase your sales.

Images: Pexels

 

Unexpected consequences of a global business landscape

If you’re considering taking your business to the next level via international trade, then you potentially broaden your ability to create more customers and more revenue. The increasing levels of influence that the internet has on our business management has created vast new avenues for businesses to explore, and the benefits can change your life and your company. The ability of technology to break down traditional barriers of global trade has caused both fragmentation and concentration when it comes to business management, and if you’re considering your role in the international marketplace, then you need to be aware of some of the key issues.

Security

 It’s no secret that cybercrime is on the rise. If your company uses technology in any way, then security both on and offline needs to be at optimum levels at all times. This is a matter of going beyond the latest security update, as hackers and thieves use every tool at their disposal to gain access to your data and that of your customers. Your IT department may not be prepared or qualified to tackle the changing security protocols required when it comes to trading internationally, but that’s not to say that you should give up. There are resources available in terms of professional advice and even outsourcing your data management that can help you and your customers stay safe in the digital age.

The influence of new markets

 The world changes quickly, and with instant communication around the world, it’s important that you keep up to date on the latest socio-cultural developments of the countries that you wish to break into. With countries such as China and India making huge strides in their international business expansion, you may find yourself benefitting in the same way as Smithfield Farms, or even notice opportunities for you to strengthen your foothold overseas. Keeping aware of the changing cultural trends in your trading markets will go a long way to keeping you safe from surprises.

Costs

 Banks are notorious for their high fees, and shipping costs can make a big dent in your profit margins. Failing to take into account the costs of providing a service internationally is a quick way to see your ambitions fade. However, every problem has its own opportunities, and whether you embrace cryptocurrency to reduce banking fees or hire a delivery specialist to manage your shipping costs, a little research can earn huge rewards. It can also help your cost reduction to use the services of local suppliers and networks, so that you can avoid costly cultural errors and trade much more easily.

Making the decision to venture into new markets can often seem like too great of a financial risk, but as technology becomes the great leveler, it has become significantly easier for companies to embrace the changing business world. With the potential rewards available it is worth looking into the logistics of your expansion, so that you can make the decision of whether to take a step into the wider business world.

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Mum Boss Problems: Business Crises Mums Face On A Regular Basis

Image: Stocksnap

Being a mum boss can sometimes be a tough road to travel. After all, you have all the responsibility for looking after little one and making sure they get all the attention and care that they need, as well as balancing the needs of your business. In fact, there are some specific issues that mum bosses can come across while running their own business that can be problematic. Happily, there are also some ways around them. Just read the post below to find out more.

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Childcare

One of the biggest problem mums that are running their own business will come across is the issue of childcare. This is primarily because everyone you seem to meet that doesn’t have a little one in tow seems to think it’s totally acceptable to do both at once. That’s right they just don’t see an issue with tending to your child needs while holding meetings, sending emails, and basically doing everything else to run a successful company.

However, back in the real world of being a mum, we know that unless you are lucky enough to have a magical baby that sleeps pretty much all of the time until they are of school age things are not that easy. That is why childcare is needed, so you actually have some time to think and get on with the work in front of you.

Unfortunately, the government do not include in this in deductible expenses. That means if you are going to pay out for someone to take care of Baby on a regular basis it will need to come out of your own funds. Boo!

Of course, as many mum bosses know you can always ask the extended family to get involved and muck in with childcare to save some money. Although this is dependent on your own parents and inlaws situation, and is, therefore, anything but guaranteed.

Image: SylvieBliss

Funding

Another problematic issue that many mums bosses, as well as other business owners, can come across when running their own company is getting enough funding to achieve their business goals.

Strangely, the issue isn’t always about getting the funding in place to start things up. Instead it about finding money to expand, develop, or keep the business running that can be the most difficult to secure. Perhaps because banks are only willing to fund a project once, rather than throughout a business’s life cycle.

Happily, there are some alternatives that you can use to get around this is you are a mum boss. One is to seek unsecured business lending instead of asking the bank for an additional loan. The advantage of taking this route is that you do not have to use your home or other assets to secure funding. Instead, a guarantor is used to validate you as a good prospect for the debt.

Time management

Working from home can be tough. It can be hard to maintain your motivation and get everything done that is on your list for the day. Add kids into this mix, and it can seem almost impossible to have the time you need to run your business as well, even they are attending childcare during the week.

Image: jeshoots

That is why time management is such an important issue to address for mum bosses. To do this, you may write out a daily schedule each morning. A plan that includes the essential tasks that must be completed each day, as well as any additional ad-hoc work.

Some people choose to use special systems for this, such as the Eisenhower matrix. This is especially useful because it helps you identify what is absolutely urgent and what can actually wait until later, as well as the things you can delegate to others.

Other people like to go the planner route and with so many attractive options like the Erin Condren (see the video below for a review of this particular type) and the Mambi Happy Planner it’s pretty easy to see why. You can even get some cool printable downloads that help you organised all of your business and home-related goals. Just don’t end up spending too much time on decorating them and making them look gorgeous as this kind of defeats the purpose of planning your time in the first place!

Work-Life Balance

Last of all, with so much on their plates it can be very easy for mum bosses to work too hard, and even become overwhelmed with all their responsibilities.

To combat this, you have to think of the big picture. Your happiness and stress levels are important because neither Baby or your business can thrive if you are struggling. That means making room for breaks, both to spend with the little one and so you can have some time on your own to recharge. Otherwise, you could find yourself going from a mum boss to a stressed mum very easily.  

Where to start with PR for your small business

Often, small business owners think of public relations (PR) as simply ‘getting in the papers’. True, you do need to know which publications your audience reads and then work on being featured in them, but there is a lot more to PR than this!

So what is PR for small businesses?

According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), PR is ‘the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.’ In other words, it’s not just about broadcasting what you do, it’s about branding, trust and relationships, too.

Building trust is a huge benefit that PR has over advertising. An interviewed by a journalist or a review by a blogger is an endorsement that you simply can’t get through advertising. However good your advertising is, it doesn’t have the same value as someone else talking about you. That said, PR works well alongside advertising, as ads can be used to reach new people, then PR can be used to build trust once they become aware of your business, product or service.

PR can be very cost-effective for a small business, too. While it still has a cost in terms of the time taken to create and distribute press releases and articles, there are no direct advertising costs. So PR can make your marketing budget stretch further.

Where to start with PR

First, think about your brand and the messages you want to get across. What do you want to communicate about your product, service or way of doing business? Once you’ve established this, make sure that those messages are consistent across all the channels you use to communicate with your audience, whether that’s in newspapers, industry publications, blog posts or social media.

Should you hire a PR company?

There’s no reason why you can’t start out by doing your own PR. After all, nobody knows your business better, or is more passionate about it, than you.  Yes, a PR company will have a broad range of experience and contacts, but you will only need knowledge and contacts within your own industry to begin with.

In fact, a good PR company will be able to advise you if they are a good fit for you. Nancy Berman of Berman Communications says “We meet very smart, hard-working entrepreneurs with great ideas on a weekly basis, but quite often they are not ready for PR…although we hope that they ultimately end up here.”

However, eventually you may find your business needs the expert skills and contacts of PR agency, or that it’s simply more cost effective to let an agency do the work for you.

Image: DieElchin