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Blog posts tagged running a business

Are you running your business or is your business running you ragged?

March 18, 2010 by Heather Townsend

Think back to those heady, idealist days, before you started running your own business... What was your business meant to stand for? What would your being your own boss give you, which employment couldn’t?

Now honestly, look at how you are running your business? Are you truly in control, or is the tail wagging the dog?

From personal experience, and also my client’s experiences, some of the symptoms of your business running you (rather than the other way around) are:

  • you are always busy
  • the passion you once had for running your business has significantly diminished
  • you don’t get the time or opportunity to work on your business
  • your work/life balance is out of kilter
  • mistakes or poor service/quality is creeping into your work or product
  • you are tired, stressed and potentially run down

Unfortunately, there is no easy one-size fits all solution – every business owner and business is different. Whilst one business owner may want a six figure income, another business owner may be happy with significantly less.

The first step in the process of taking back control of your business is to reconnect with your initial vision for your business and the lifestyle you wanted to lead as a business owner. What was it that so attracted you to business ownership? What was the aim of your business?

The second step is to identify where you have lost control and moved away from this vision, and in what aspects the business is now running you.

The third step is to start to allocate time in your working week to stepping away from the technician role and move into the entrepreneur and manager role. When I talk about technician, this is actually working in the business, doing the client work. The manager is the role where you put in systems and processes into the business, which help run your business more efficiently. Finally, the entrepreneur role allows you to lead your business and take the time to grow it as per your vision.

The fourth step is to plan how you want to run your business rather than letting momentum carry you along. Do you have to be in such a hurry or can world domination wait a little longer?

And then, finally, the last step is to implement the plans for your business.

It may sound simple, but in practice this process may be hard to complete.

Heather Townsend, The Efficiency Coach

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Mum's the word

March 15, 2010 by Anna Mullinder

The Start Up Donut’s week-long celebration of mums who run businesses – mumpreneurs, kitchen table tycoons, business mums, businesswomen, call them what you will – is over for another year. What did we learn?

People don’t necessarily like to be labelled, so do we need a term to define this group? Is it necessary for people to know you’re a mum or is the fact you have children irrelevant?

The discussion surrounding the term ‘mumpreneur’ on our forum threw up some interesting opinions.

On the one hand, business women such as Laura Rigney are proud of the ‘mumpreneur’ tag. She said: “It takes an awful lot of determination and dedication to start a business from scratch and then continue running it while doing the everyday things that come with being a mother”.

Emily Cagle disagreed, saying: “The main issue for me is the irrelevant categorisation of a business owner (who happens to be female and a parent). People tend to mean well by using the term to recognise the challenges mums often face, but I think it's generally unhelpful.”

There will always be disagreements over such things, anyway, if Cara Sayer is right, the term 'mumprenenur' will undoubtedly go out of fashion”. Other terms, such as ‘kitchen table tycoon’, were also disliked, it must be said.

We also invited guest blog posts from business mums last week and it was interesting to see the common themes: the importance of being resourceful; effective time-management; the need for multi-tasking; the need to start up on a shoestring; remain flexible; and being adept at prioritisation of time and tasks.

The lessons learned when managing a family and various school runs, mealtimes, hobbies and bedtime routines can be very useful when running a business.

You can see from the case studies that we’ve featured on the site, such as April Browne who runs Crystal Jewels, that despite much competition for their time, many mums continue to be inspired to start a business, while for some, such as Claire Willis of SnugBaby, necessity is still the mother of invention and the basis for many new mum-owned enterprises.

At the end of the week, I asked an open question on Twitter aimed at all business mums: “What was your inspiration for starting your business?" These were just some of the replies:

  • Being able to work around my children and hopefully be able to provide them with a fulfilling, nurtured life! @LauraARigney
  • Flexibility of working hours, being able to do kids’ illnesses with no guilt and calling my own shots on what I take on. @essentialnm
  • Being my own boss and the ability to work from home while still looking after my children. Doing something I love helps too! @EmmaEwers
  • I wanted more flexibility! My long-hours PR job didn't suit any more - I wanted control! @businessmum
  • Sick of making a lot of money for someone else and wanting to spend time with my bubs! @bingoreviewer
  • Flexibility to not miss out on my children growing & to keep my brain active doing something I enjoy (designing websites). @glassraven
  • An overwhelming demand for my products. Initially a hobby, so I really had some learning to do!  and the realisation that if I worked hard enough I might be able to stay at home with George @Preciousparcels
  • Because it's something I'm passionate about. I think more people would choose #realnappies if they knew how fab they are! @RealChoiceNappy
  • My inspiration was not wanting someone else to have the pleasure of bringing up my children when I had struggled to have them. @mumstheboss
  • I'd always wanted to work for myself & having my son made me desire financial independence. These 2 goals still motivate me. @EmmaWimhurst
  • Redundancy, divorce and the need to see my children through university. @cathyrecruit
  • Being able to work around my children and having the luxury of not having to rush treatments as I plan my own diary. @OnlyHolistic

These were broadly representative, with the vast majority related to having enough flexibility to look after children while still providing for the family. Starting a business seems to be the perfect solution for women who want to continue working but who also want to spend time with their children while they’re small.

On a personal level, it’s been really nice to be in touch with such a lovely group of people who’ve been so helpful and really got stuck in with the discussions.

I’d like to say a special thank you to our blog contributors and to everyone who retweeted, commented, said hello and helped to spread the word. Although Mother’s Day has been and gone, our support for mums running their own businesses will continue throughout the year.

 Anna Kirby, BHP Information Solutions

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