Welcome to part 2 of how Helen Pritchard’s baby massage business went from local to global by using the internet. You can read part 1 here. Now back to Helen...
What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?
I would say the fact that I have never produced a DVD before and have zilch retail or distribution knowledge! As a Libran I found having the sole decision making authority a bit stressful – I remember days and days of having a million versions of my log pinned up on the dining room wall like something out of A Beautiful Mind. Saying that though I am also aware I need to work alone after so many years of being self employed you get used to having the final say!
What training, information or advice did you need to get started?
I went to my local Business Link and they sent an advisor round who was great – she had actually worked on a baby magazine and so was particularly clued up on the industry. I also spent a lot of time on the phone to the Intellectual Property Office who were very helpful in helping me protect my rights, get started with the patent process, register a trademark etc.
If you could give one piece of advice to a mum of a baby or toddler starting a business, what would it be?
Be prepared to admit when something is wrong and change it. I have had the website designed and redesigned three times to get the best results. It was painful to realise that basically the money was wasted but it is all part of the learning curve.
Also outsource wherever possible – use a site such as people per hour or elance to find a great, international team at great rates. I have a web designer in Australia and my SEO expert is in the USA – it is great as I can ask for something to be done and when I wake up it has been done – New Stork Times is a 24 hour operation! I am also hopeless at figures and VAT and accountancy scare the life out of me so I have a bookkeeper and an accountant. Yes there are costs associated with this but the cost on my time of stressing for hours over SAGE is far more than the simple joy of handing it all over to someone else who can do it in half the hours.
And finally I would say network as much as possible in particular online – you would be amazed at how supportive and giving the twitter community is and it is so simple to get started. Prepare for some level of isolation and compensate by creating a virtual brew room online!