Running a business is tough. There is a lot that you need to think about, so many different things that come into play. When you are a parent business owner, it’s even more challenging. You have to combine all of the responsibilities of your business with trying to be a good parent to your children.
So, understandably, having some tips and tricks to help with all of this is a godsend for most parent business owners. We have put our heads together and come up with five strategies for running a business, so let’s take a look at all of them here and now.
#1 – Automatically Updating Software is Your Friend
As a parent business owner, there is a high chance that you are going to be working with a lot of technology. This is the 21st-century after all, and with that comes a lot of incredible leaps and bounds in resources that can help with everyday tasks.
However, finding software which will automatically update for you is highly recommended. You don’t necessarily have time to check a system or update an inventory list every day, but if you can do that automatically with the help of a computer program, you’ll save a lot of time and effort. Thankfully, a lot of programs offer this already.
If possible, use things like Google Docs and Sheets, because they update their content regardless of which device you use. You can go from your phone to your computer and the information is up to date.
#2 – Never Underestimate What You Can Do For Yourself
One of the most significant challenges that a parent business owner will face is money. You are trying to generate an income to look after yourself and your family, and at the same time pay for your bills and expenses. Therefore, you will naturally want to spend as little money as possible to keep your business running at peak efficiency.
There are a lot of things that you can do for yourself to save money. Creating SEO rich content for a website that you’ve made, using social media platforms to promote yourself, marketing your business without the aid of a third-party – these are all money-saving strategies. If you can learn to do something for yourself, then it is a good idea to try.
As a helpful benefit, everything you do for yourself is another skill. It’s good to have when you want to branch your services out.
#3 – Time Management is Critical
Your time is precious. When you are trying to look after young children, your time is even more precious than normal. So you have to be ruthless about how you split your time between the office and the home, and what you allow yourself in the way of time to do menial tasks.
Quite a few entrepreneurs approach their day-to-day routines with a certain lack of urgency. They do what they can, they don’t really have a schedule in place, and this works when they don’t have any other responsibilities. You do, so you need a rough idea of what you have to accomplish each day, how much time you have to do certain things, and making sure that everything in your domestic life has been taken care of at the same time.
It’s all about cultivating that work-life balance and spending enough time with your kids. Expansion is nothing if you don’t have the time for the important stuff in life.
#4 – Have an Expansion Plan
If you are going to grow as a business, and expand as a parent entrepreneur, you have to have a plan. You need to have a goal, a place where you’re trying to get to, a position in your life that you are aiming for, and it has to be realistic, achievable, and have a defined timescale.
An expansion plan is often quite a fun thing to do, simply because you can set whatever goal you want. You can reach whatever height you think is appropriate, so long as it’s achievable and feasible. But you need an expansion plan if you’re going to think about doing anything remotely connected to growing your business as a parent entrepreneur, because it’s so easy to get stuck.
#5 – Network as Much as Possible
As a parent entrepreneur, you are part of an exclusive market comprised of thousands of other people who are in exactly the same position as you. Despite what you might think about rivalries and the cutthroat world of business, this is good. It means that you have plenty of opportunities to network, and to promote yourself to other people.
Now obviously, you have to be careful when it comes to networking. It’s all about picking the right people to ingratiate yourself with, doing things tactically. It’s not a point in going fraternising with another writing service if you’re also a writing service, because you’re just rivals. However, if you go and work with graphic designers, musical creators, marketers, you develop a whole selection of contacts which will help you. You might even be able to do little favours for each other.
Networking is vital. So many people don’t, and then they can’t move forward as a business because they’re trapped in a bubble of isolation.
Growing as a business isn’t easy. A lot of people try every year and fail. But you can do it. You have the focus, the commitment and the drive to succeed. But most importantly, you have strategies to help you succeed.
Everything you do in life needs that all-important direction. You can’t hope to succeed if you aren’t thinking about what it is that works for you. You have so many chances to succeed and so many potential options. Fortune favours those who are prepared to go after what they want with both hands. If you can do that, then you can quite easily move forward. Remember, it’s all for the kids, so if nothing else, do it for them!
Do you ever worry about some of the business pitfalls you could face? Here are a few common problems along with the right solutions.
Hacks are an issue that a lot of business owners think only impacts the massive companies. It’s understandable why you might assume that’s the case. After all, when we hear about hacks in the media, it’s usually on a company like Disney, Sony, or Equifax. But that doesn’t mean that smaller businesses aren’t targeted. They can be, for one reason. Criminals assume that these businesses won’t have the right level of security in place. You don’t want to prove them right here. You need to make sure that you are protecting your company. There are a few ways to do this, but antivirus software is a smart place to start.
Injuries have been causing expensive issues for businesses for years. Indeed, in the UK, there have been debates about whether to change the law so that it is far more difficult to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is due to the fact that UK firms, in particular, are being inundated with claims. The amount that you could have to pay through this type of lawsuit differs. It depends on the extent of the injury and the ramifications it could have for the individual. However, it’s not uncommon for the damages to exceed one hundred thousand.
Now you might think that this is a problem that is really only going to affect large businesses with multiple employees working in a factory or an office. But it’s not just employees that could get hurt. It could also be a customer or client. Let’s say that you meet a client in a coffee shop and they trip over a strap on your bag. If this happens, you are liable. That’s why exploring liability insurance options on a site like https://www.onesureinsurance.co.uk/ could be a smart move for your company.
You may also want to think about issues with reviews in your business. Bad reviews can cripple a company. Particularly when you consider that more than 80% of customers will check reviews before they commit to purchasing a product. If you have bad reviews, it’s important not to leave them to fester. You must take action and ensure that you can correct the situation. Sometimes, this is just a case of responding to the review in question and ensuring that your customers feel as though they are being listened to.
It’s time to pay the taxes for your company, but are you prepared? Do you know how to ensure that you are accurately recording your levels of profits? Do you know the deductions that you can make for your business? These are important questions to ask because if you slip up here, you could underpay your tax. This can leave you in a difficult situation where you suddenly owe thousands. The good news is that you can avoid this as long as you hire an accountant. They’ll take care of this issue for you and keep you on the right track. You can learn more about paying business tax on https://smallbusiness.co.uk/.
Being a parent entrepreneur is a challenge for many. You have to try and juggle the complexities of raising a child with the equally stimulating challenges of running a business. A lot of people want to start down this pathway, but they don’t know what they need for success.
In fact, what a lot of people don’t know is that there are three critical things which people need for success, and budding parent entrepreneurs should definitely make sure they have acquired all of these before they start down the difficult route of running a business. Let’s take a look at them together.
A Stable Career and Free Time
One of the first things that you are going to need is a stable career and some free time. A lot of people recommend that jumping into the world of entrepreneurship is not something you do unless you have a stable plan. As tempting as it can be to quit your job and focus entirely on your business, if you don’t have a good income, you’re going to put yourself and your family in jeopardy. What we recommend instead is that you gradually build an entrepreneurial business over time, while working your other job, so you can continue to support your family while you get the business off the ground. When you can make a similar sort of income from your business, it’s the right time to quit that job.
A Proper Schedule
If you’re going to even stand a chance at successfully running your own business, you need to have a good schedule in place. If you’re going to balance raising kids while running a business, you have to make sure that you have your day planned before you even start. You need to know how are you going to keep the kids entertained while you’re working, who is going to pick them up from school when you will stop work to sort out dinner and look after them. There are so many little considerations that people just don’t think about, and what this means is that there is this unfortunate sense of confusion in chaos which really can play havoc with the lives of budding parent entrepreneurs.
Patience and Discipline!
Being a parent entrepreneur is difficult. This is going to be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever had to do, because not only are you looking after your kids, but you’re trying to support your entire family through a business. You need to have patience and discipline. You have to be disciplined enough to get on with things when you need to, and you need to have the patience for when things aren’t going your way.
Overall, these are just three of the things every budding parent entrepreneur should have. It’s definitely difficult to maintain a sense of balance in your life when you’re trying to run a business and raise kids, but if you’re sensible about it, and you understand what the important things in life are, you’ll definitely see success.
First appearances mean a lot in the world of business. When new clients approach you, they’re often looking for professionalism. This is often a sign that you take your business seriously and that you’re willing to go the extra mile in order to impress the people you work with. In addition, professionalism tends to give your customer and clients peace of mind. This increases the chance that they’ll work with you, and it leads to a better overall experience for the customer.
As such, it’s important to make your business look and feel more professional if you want to appeal to a wider audience, and in this article, we’re going to take a look at exactly how you can do that.
Look the part
While a lot of businesses are completely online nowadays, it’s still important to dress up for the few occasions that you might go to a public event or appear in photographs for press reasons. This typically means dressing up in appropriate clothing for your industry and also working on your appearance so that you don’t scare away potential customers. You don’t have to look extravagant–just somewhat presentable is enough!
Talk the part
It’s also important that you talk like a professional business. This can mean a number of different things, such as using the appropriate language and terminology when speaking to clients, or speaking politely when helping customers with support issues. We think that being professional with your tone of voice is a fantastic way to maintain a good appearance, but it’s also important to be relaxed and comfortable when talking in public.
Get a professional email address
A professional email address will enhance appearances by a considerable amount. A lot of smaller businesses tend to use emails from websites like Google or even Yahoo. While this is fine for most basic purposes, you’ll need to eventually need to upgrade to a proper email address that represents your company. There are many ways to do this, and some email hosts such as Google actually offer a paid service for a custom email domain.
Stop using templates on your website
Many smaller businesses tend to use templates for their website because it’s faster to get something started. However, there are usually only a limited number of templates, and you could pick something that looks exactly like someone else’s website. This can look incredibly unprofessional. It’s also worth getting a custom website design to ensure that it actually fits your needs instead of trying to fit your website around someone else’s design.
Register a domain name
A domain name will ensure that your website looks more professional. A domain name is essentially a website name which most people will already have. However, there are some businesses that might still be using a free or low-cost service that involves a subdomain. This could be something like yoursite.service.com. Instead of being associated with a web host, a domain name of your choice will help to create a more professional appearance.
Dress your staff as well
This is mainly for physical stores that employ a couple of staff members. Having matching workwear is great for a number of reasons. Firstly, it allows your customers to identify who is actually working for you. Secondly, it gives your staff a unified appearance which makes your entire store look more professional. Lastly, it helps give your staff members an identity when they work for you since they’ll feel more like they’re part of the team.
Respond to queries
You should also make sure that you respond to different queries on platforms such as social media where your responses (or lack of) are publicly shown. It’s also important to respond to emails and the majority of private messages, but answering questions on public platforms takes priority given how important it is to maintain a professional appearance.
Stick to your area of expertise
A lot of businesses tend to branch out of their comfort zone. This is a great way to explore new options for products and services to offer, but it can often lead to some issues. Since you’re trying to attract audiences that you’re not familiar with, it can often lead to some embarrassing situations where you demonstrate a lack of experience or knowledge in an area. This leads to some very unprofessional results and can stain your reputation if you’re not careful. Stick to your area of expertise to maintain a professional appearance, or do ample research before you attempt to break into a new market.
Working in retail can be challenging at times but is also a gratifying way to make a living. People need and love to shop, and you’re there to meet these demands. As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate, but you have to know what to focus your energy on the most to succeed.
There’s a lot of competition out there, so you need to be able to stand apart from the crowd and your competitors. Therefore, discover ways to elevate your retail business so you can drum up interest in your business and increase sales. Put in the effort, and you’ll soon notice the rewards that emerge for your time and energy spent focusing on the right elements.
Take Pride in the Set up of Your Store
It’s in your best interest to configure your store strategically so that you can provide customers with a positive shopping experience. Take pride in your store’s set up and pay attention to the small details that will make a big difference. For example, the right female mannequins can provide you with an ideal way to show off your latest styles and merchandise and truly elevate your business.
Train Your Staff
You need to have consistency and offer exceptional customer service if you want to excel in retail. Therefore, take the time to train your staff and ensure that they know your policies and how you expect they treat each customer who does business with you. Training your staff will help you to sleep better at night because you’ll know that each client is receiving the same treatment and will walk away, feeling satisfied with their shopping experience. Focus on providing a personalised experience for each person so that they feel valued. Greet individuals who enter your store and offer your expert opinion and advice if they ask for it.
Reward Your Customers
Customers will likely want to shop with you again when you show appreciation for their business and reward them fairly. Offer loyalty programs or points systems so they can save money the more they shop with you. Host events where your most loyal customers get a sneak peek at what new items are coming or can bring a friend with them and shop and save together. Run special sales and promotions every so often so that customers don’t always have to pay full price for the merchandise.
Be Decisive about Your Merchandise
Another way to elevate your retail business is to be decisive about your merchandise. It means that you aren’t keeping items around that aren’t selling or popular. Pick and choose what’s in your store wisely and carefully so that you can guarantee that you hit your sales goals and numbers. Study the latest trends, network frequently, and be up to date with the recent fashions so that your store carries all the right merchandise that people will want to buy. You want to avoid having items sitting in your store that aren’t gaining any attention or interest over time.
Running a business is challenging at the best of times, but when you have children, it can be even more of a juggling act. Of course, it is also considered the best time by many to start a business, but in order to get that work/life dream, you must learn to overcome the obstacles you will naturally face, and not be scared off. It might not be the easy route, but parent-preneurs everywhere will tell you it is worth the handwork and they never want to return to the 9-5 for someone else.
So, just how do you overcome the challenges?
By all means, write your yourself some plans but don’t expect them to be set in stone. On a good day, you will achieve all you set out to achieve, and on a bad day you will end up with an emergency dash to school or nursery to retrieve a poorly child and end up wondering how on earth you can possibly make this work. Take a deep breath and remember, this too shall pass. Flexibility is the key, so while you might not want to be sending involves at 10 pm, once in a while, this is just how it goes down in the world of small business ownership.
Your network is crucial so build it well. Look for both a parent and business network and things will get so much easier. As a parent networking with others in the same situation gives you a little bit of childcare breathing space if you can take turns to do school pickups and after school care, you both get some much-needed time to work. In the world of business, you can look for mutually acceptable trade-offs, perhaps one of you is a social media expert and the other a bookkeeper? Sometimes a company doesn’t have to be about money it can be about an exchange of services to keep things ticking over.
Balance the Art of Saying No
Strangely so many people have a vocabulary that seems to have the word ‘no’ missing. It is a word that scares people in business, but it is a misconception that companies cannot say no. Sometimes it is far better to say no than fail to complete a task or order on time and get negative feedback. Of course, the skill is learning to communicate with alternatives, so saying things like, while I cannot complete that by your preferred date, I could do it by x. People respect honesty and understand that running a business can sometimes be busy. You must also learn the art of saying no to the business as a while and taking time out to spend with friends and family. It is important you do not always say no and cancel out on your time with in-laws, kids plays, and other events. One day you will wish you had been there, so try and strike some sort of work-life balance while you can.
Small businesses can often have a hard time when butting up against multinationals. It can be challenging to be as competitively priced, they don’t carry as much stock, but the plus sides are so important. Care and attention to detail, a friendly face and personal interaction make them so valuable. It is also fair to say that small businesses have a positive impact on the local economy and offer uniqueness in a sea of mass production. So how can we support them and make sure they can keep trading?
1) Be a Customer
Ok, so this is the easy one, but it is actually more overlooked than you might think. You pop to the supermarket and while there, remember a present you forgot to grab, and with so much on offer, you can easily buy something. But, what about your friend who makes jewellery, or soap, a hundred and one other things? The same applies to small businesses who are service providers, can you use a local web designer instead of some faceless corporation?
2) Promote Them
Small businesses have a bit of a juggling act on their hands; not only do they have to keep their goods or services flowing; they also have to publicise themselves. So, when you see a post on Facebook, take the time to get involved. A comment and a share mean the world and really helps. You never know who on your own friend’s list might be looking for precisely what they offer, and even if they aren’t right now, it helps keep their profile high.
3) Share the Praise
If you have interacted with a small business and loved the experience, speak up! Leave a review on their Facebook page, and remember to share it back to your own Facebook. Word of mouth really helps small businesses, so if you can tell other people about your experience being so positive, you will be doing them a massive favour. Give them permission to quote you on their website or write on Trustpilot or similar.
4) Champion Small Business Saturday
When the world loses its head, as it does every year, and starts raving about Black Friday and other such events, combat this with a shout out and reminder that Small Business Saturday can happen every week. Technically SMS happens in November but why not push for supporting and shopping locally all year round. You are helping people directly rather than indirectly, pay their mortgages, buy food, and basically stay alive. It is a great way to share the love.
5) Say Hello
It can be dreadfully lonely running a small business, but thousands of people do it, for many different reasons. It is nice to feel part of a community. When there is no-one to share coffee in the staffroom with, because there isn’t a staffroom, it can get a little isolating. Send a message and let them know you are a supporter, and you appreciate what they do! You really will make their day.
Click on the useful links below:
Business Support Helpline (England)
Telephone: 0300 456 3565
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Hiring employees is a big decision. Not only do you have to consider the responsibility but also the numerous costs that come with it. While many employers budget for the wages that they will be giving their employees, other expenses can sometimes be overlooked. Here are just some of the hidden costs that come with hiring employees and how you can make these costs more affordable.
All employers are required to take out employer’s liability insurance. This protects you if an employee falls ill or is injured as a result of your work, helping to cover any costs that may be the result of this.
Liability insurance rates can vary. It’s worth taking your time to compare rates – try out sites like RhinoTradeInsurance.com that specialise in low-cost insurance. You may also be able to lower your rates by investing in strong health and safety measures or by raising your deductible.
You may need to invest in extra equipment for your employees to use. If you work in a private office and are hiring a personal assistant to work with you, consider whether you need to buy a desk and computer. In sectors like retail, you may want to consider uniforms, while health and safety equipment could be important if you run a construction company.
Spend your time shopping around for such equipment. Used equipment could be cheaper, but you need to be sure that it’s good quality – offering employees poor quality equipment could make them feel less valued.
There are certain employee benefits that are compulsory to pay out as an employer. This includes holiday pay, sick pay, overtime, maternity pay and a pension contribution. Make sure that you can afford all of these costs.
Some companies may also offer added benefits such as private health insurance, a company car or bonuses. These added benefits could help to attract employees and could reduce employee turnover, potentially making them worth the extra cost.
To calculate and manage all of these expenses, it could be worth investing in HR software or hiring someone to handle all of these costs. This itself could be another cost to consider. Fortunately, there are lots of cheap software options out there including these free programs at FinancesOnline.com. There are also lots of payroll accountants out there that you can hire cheaply.
It could also be worth considering the recruitment costs. You may have to pay to post job adverts on certain listing sites. If you’re hiring a recruitment company to help you, this will also be a big added cost to factor in.
With your first employees, you may want to save money by doing some DIY recruitment. There are lots of free places to post job adverts – you could strategically find locations to put up posters or use social media.
- Location: you want your new shop floor to be in the best place for footfall as well as being the only shop in your industry insight. That said, it makes sense to rent your new space on the high street or in a retail park. If you’re going for a retail park, make sure you’re the only shop selling what you sell. Otherwise, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
- Customer Access: is your new shop accessible to customers? Or is it a mile down the road from the car park, nowhere near a bus stop and impossible for wheelchairs and prams to manage? The more accessible your shop is, the more customers can shop with you. It also gives your brand a fantastic reputation.
- Flooring and Fixtures: what kind of flooring are you going to need? Is this already laid down, or are you going to have to factor that into your budget? If you’re laying floors, it’s essential to seek out proper retail floors and not just any old floor. Retail floors are designed to accommodate long hours of use and are easy to clean. Don’t forget to check what fittings and fixtures your new premises have too, and source what you need from an expert provider.
- Timing: timing is everything in business; that’s well-known. But it is also crucial when looking to buy or rent new premises. Pay attention to property prices and anything that might affect those like politics or other concerns. It’s also worth keeping an eye on the local area’s shopping trends.
- Marketing opportunities: what opportunities are there to market? Do you get access to a billboard? Do you have a blank wall facing a road you could put your own billboard on? Scout around when you’re viewing properties for any marketing What other businesses are nearby? Could any of them become a customer of yours? What kind of staff do they employ? If you sell beauty products and your neighbour’s shop is mainly staffed by women, you will have your target market right next door every day. That kind of opportunity is too good to lose!
- Staff parking: where are your staff going to park? You don’t want employees struggling to park and being late for work, but likewise, do you really want them taking up customer parking space? Is there a bus or train station nearby for anyone commuting in? You could look at other things relating to your staff when you visit properties: is there a small shop for lunch and drinks, is the location accessible to many across a wide area?
There are lots of things to consider when you’re looking for your next branch location, but tick some of these off, and you’re bound to get the best new property.