It is estimated that there are over 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating over $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.8 million people – and the numbers are rising with each passing day! (According to the Womenable report.)
But there are thousands, even millions of businesses that these statistics have skipped, which are just as equally important: young mom-entrepreneurs!
Becoming a mom-entrepreneur can be a choice; more often it is a necessity. The USA is among four countries in the world with no mandated maternity leave where women of qualified employers can take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave. Due to high cost of the childcare, many women elect to become so called “mom-preneurs.”
Some of the benefits of being a both a mom and business owner certainly are the ability to have it all: the financial freedom, monetizing their skills and passions, flexibility to accommodate their family dynamics, and many more.
Setting Yourself Up For Success With These 3 Keys:
1. Healthy Foundation
Starting a home-based business is just as complex as any other business. Yet, many make this mistake right from the start: they do not take themselves seriously enough; they doubt in their authenticity, abilities and legitimacy.
From a physical perspective, designating a work area, strictly separating working hours from family time, and not mixing household chores with business operations, is crucial.
From an emotional perspective, it is imperative for mom-business owners to feel they have the needed support system in place. They need to know that their partners have their backs and will support them in this decision. Moreover, their partners will also need to be willing to handle some household chores in order to free up needed time and energy for mom-business owners to focus on their business.
From a psychological perspective, mom-business owners need to be prepared for the challenges of balancing their family needs with their business and client needs. They need to be clear on their strengths, expertise, core business values and unique sales propositions. They need to realize their value and that of their services.
Most of all, mom-business owners need to realize it is ok to ask for help, or to take a break, reassess the situation and, if necessary, make the needed changes. It is highly recommended to enlist the help of skilled professionals who compliment the mom-business owner’s strengths; a virtual assistant is ideal choice. A coach, on the other hand, can be a crucial addition to the “team” who can help the new entrepreneur focus, gain clarity, set and reach various goals and break through various blocks.
2. Solid Infrastructure
When starting a business, it is imperative to set it up right so it can support and sustain the business’ growth. While there are numerous sources available at little or no cost, many mom-business owners find themselves overwhelmed by the “information over-load”.
When purging though these resources, mom-business owners need to be very critical and selective of which scenarios, case studies and/or information even applies to them.
- Ideas & Concepts
- Structure, Name & Logo
- Business Map
- Marketing Plan
Through time, businesses evolve and can change. So when devising various plans, new mom-entrepreneurs should take this into account. Moreover, as children get older, their needs will change as well, and the business should be able to continue to support and adjust to the new dynamics.
However, the biggest piece of advice to all the starters out there: if possible, create such a business that will be scalable and leveraged. This means that mom-business owners can service more clients in the same amount of time and, hence, double, triple, or even quadruple their
- Systems & Tools Payment
- Time Tracking
- File Sharing
- Project Management
- Time Management
These systems need to be able to support a long-term vision. Although the tools that are available vary greatly in their functionality and affordability, it’s highly recommended to employ a compatible and tested infrastructure, and to automate as many procedures as possible. This keeps operating costs
- Website & Blog
- Newsletter & Email
- Social Media Setup
If a website is a billboard, with its purpose to provide information about the business, then the social media should be compared to a chat with a neighbor over the fence.
Integrating platforms will enable readers to transition smoothly through various profiles as they learn more about mom-business owners’ business. Meanwhile, sharing content through integrated platforms can be much faster with automated updates and cross-population.
Sales and Marketing:
- Social Media Marketing
- Offline Marketing
- Lead Generation & Conversion
Consistency and flexibility are keys. These days, everything is happening NOW, so while some content can be generic and pre-scheduled, it is imperative for the mom-entrepreneurs to monitor activities, and engagements on a daily basis, and to respond to comments and connection requests daily. In the end, people buy people; they could not care less about products or services if they don’t feel connected with the person behind that business.
- Service Packaging
- Customer Service
- Client Issues
It used to be the rule that the client is always right. Whether or not this is still true can be debated some other time. The key here is to create a VIP experience for every client at the very first point of contact. From their experience through the website, appointment scheduling process, consultation and follow-up process, and, obviously, after the purchase of the products or services.
It is important to keep in mind that clients who do not commit at first are more likely to change their mind if the mom-business owners makes consistent effort of follow-up and stay in touch. Sometimes, clients need time to trust, while at other times, they simply are not ready to commit.
3. Contingency Plan
It is important to expect and to plan for the unexpected. The unexpected is not only a situation that negatively impacts mom-business owners’ business image, financial health, business operations or leadership (such as illness, injury or family emergency).
An unexpected high-volume order that cannot be fulfilled could also present an equally harmless scenario when the company doesn’t have enough capital and capacity to fulfill the order, or isn’t adequately staffed.
These are the points every contingency plan should address and prepare for:
– Crisis Management
– Continuity Plan
– Asset Security
In conclusion, statistics show that woman-owned businesses are growing 50% faster than small businesses in general. However, only 12% have employees and an overwhelming amount of them makes less than $25,000/year.
Balancing motherhood and business-ownership, solo-preneurship especially, is a full-time commitment. While it can be the most rewarding experience, it can also take a toll on all parties involved, so it needs to be taken seriously and planned for and handled professionally.
Picture Credit: Tumblr.