Business tips from six mumpreneurs

Want to work for yourself, but don’t know where to start? Get advice from mums who’ve enjoyed business success

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Fancy yourself as a mumpreneur? We’ve got 6 successful business mums to share their tips for how to set up, sell and grow…

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Find a gap in the market

If you really want to work for yourself, you can get inspiration for a business idea from anywhere. “There are so many mumpreneurs now and it’s because we’ve started wanting better products,” says Leanne Curtis-Cobb founder of Quack Quack Moo. “Mums are starting to design products and solutions when they face problems.” 

It’s important to do lots of research to make sure your idea is original and fills a gap in the market, says Donna Heaton, who invented a children’s swimming aid and founded the company Monkey Swimmers. “We found that there was no competition – there was the odd armband but nothing as unique as ours,” she says. 

Play to your strengths

If you can’t come up with any idea or product you think is unique, there’s no need to despair, says Michelle Daniells, founder of Benjoy Nutrition.“If you haven’t had that ‘eureka!’ moment of inspiration for something completely new, all you need to do is look at your skills, expertise and strengths and see how they might be applied to something,” says Michelle. She suggests running a franchise. “There are lots of websites that let you tap into existing businesses that you can then run for yourself at home.”

Investment opportunities

Working out how to fund your venture is something you really need to consider. “Look on the internet, there are so many websites for small businesses and women’s networking groups that offer information and advice,” says Fiona Wood, founder of Naturally Cool Kids. Fiona suggests starting small by funding yourself to build your confidence. “If you can afford a little bit of money to start on your own and then build up gradually, it’s best to start within your means.”

Budget for expenses

You may have a great idea for a product, but it’ll come to nothing if it isn’t safe. Safety testing is one expense that often gets overlooked, but is something you should invest in. Rachel Jones, founder of Totseat (pictured above), explains: “It’s crucial to invest in testing. Start by searching online and find out which test houses specialise in which products.” And she adds: “You can’t just test something once, you have to keep testing it, so it’s quite expensive.”

The naming game

Choosing a memorable name for your business is important, and it’s best to keep it simple, says Cara Sayer, founder of SnoozeShade. “Marketing is critical if you’re a small business and need to make a loud noise,” she says. “Either get the name to say what the business does or go the opposite way, so it doesn’t really mean anything,” explains Cara. “But whatever it is, it should be snappy and catchy.”

To market, to market

You’ll feel more confident taking your product or service to market if you’ve done lots of research, says Michelle. “Try to talk to someone who’s launched something similar before,” she advises. “There are consultants who can advise you, but if they’ve not done it themselves they might not relate to some of the issues and pitfalls.” 

Be bold, think big

“If you want to achieve something big, you need to aim high and think big,” says Leanne. Her advice is to break everything down into achievable goals: “I did everything in baby steps. It keeps everything in perspective and you can move at your own pace, then put the brakes on if you want to.”

Being your own boss

Starting your own business can have many rewards but it is very hard work, so try to remember why you initially decided to make the change. “One of the things that working mothers struggle with is the conflicting demands on their time,” says Michelle. “You have to make peace with yourself, put things into perspective and get the balance right so that you don’t feel bad,” she advises. Above all, have confidence in yourself, says Fiona: “Don’t be afraid, have a go – you’ll never know if you never try.”

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