7 questions to ask yourself before you start a business: advice from a successful mumpreneur

For many mums, starting your own business is a dream. Not answering to a boss. Working hours that suit you. Being able to work from home. Having the flexibility to be around for your children. And of course, making money and being able to provide for your family, writes Rhian Allen, founder and CEO of The Healthy Mummy.

However the difference between running a business and running a successful business can be poles apart and current data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics state that 50 per cent of new businesses fail within the first four years – which is pretty scary when you consider the costs, time and effort that goes into launching a new business.

As if being a mum isn’t already stressful enough – throw in a new business venture, and it can all get a bit too much!

I know this all too well after having launched The Healthy Mummy back in 2010.  I left my full-time job when I was six months pregnant to start my business, working from home then quickly went on to have baby number two all this in the first four years of the business.

So how do you make your business successful when you are already a busy mum – if only there was an evaluation test that could determine whether you have the right skillset and tools for running a successful business?

I believe that there is not a single reason for someone being successful in business.  And this is why it can be so hard to succeed as there are so many boxes to be ticked and questions you need to ask yourself.

1. Is your idea unique?

You have probably heard this over and over again but it is true. And by unique, I mean is there a genuine point of difference between what you are planning on doing and what currently exists. How do you plan to set yourself apart from anything else out there? It is crucial you are brutally honest with yourself at this point –  just because you love doing something it doesn’t mean you will be able to make money out of it

2. Have you done your market research?

Even if you have a great idea, once you start doing market research you may discover that there is just no room for your business as the market is already dominated by many other players – all of who do a brilliant job and it will be very hard for you to get any traction in the field you are considering

3. Have you done a business plan?

Doing a business plan is crucial. This will help you determine how you plan on marketing and promoting your business and how much money you plan on making/need to make over 1,2,3,4 and 5 years

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4. How much capital do you have to start your business up and market it?

No matter how good your idea is, you need money to launch and market it. If people don’t know about it, then it just won’t grow. My advice here is to put off launching your business until you have enough money to launch it the way that you want to. Or to do a part time job to help fund your dream. It is also worth being very realistic with earnings as most businesses do not make profit for 1-2 years so you need to make sure that in your business plan you have accounted for this.

5. How much time are you willing to dedicate to your business and how much do you really want it?

With profits being very light on in the first 1-2 years, if you don’t want it enough, what will keep you going when you are working every hour of the day pursuing your dream? Although running your business may seem like a romantic idea the reality is hard work where you end up working 7 days a week and doing more hours and having more stress on your plate than you ever did in an ’employed role”

6. Do you have the support of your partner?

Being a mumpreneur and running your own business is all consuming and as well as launching, running and developing your business you are being a mother and a wife and it can put a tremendous strain on your family life if you do not have the support of your partner. My advice is to get them involved. Talk to them about your ideas, show them your business plan, work with them on brainstorming ideas and then they will be with you every step of the way – and you can then end up working as a team together.

7. Are you prepared to get your hands dirty?

Until you have a successful business that is making money you won’t really be able to employ any or many staff. Which means you will be the creative brains, the marketer, the customer service person, the PR manager, the SEO specialist, the content writer, the accountant, the social media expert, the product developer and the website specialist. Of course if you do have money to invest you can bring on experts and staff to help but it pays dividends to be involved in all aspects of your business so that you understand every aspect of it and can see first hand where your business is going – then employ staff as the rate your business growth allows.

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And what I absolutely believe too is that to be truly successful you need some luck. But if you work really hard you can create your own luck as more opportunities come up.

It can seem like an awful lot of work and be overwhelming at times but if you have the entrepreneurial gene this will drive you and when you do get your break and run a successful business it will be so very much worth it and it will give you more satisfaction than any ‘paid employed’ job could ever give you.

My biggest tip and advice I would give any mum wanting to do a business is to make sure you always put your family first. You will never get the time back when the kids are small. You will never wish when you were older that you worked more. You will always wish you spent more time with your kids.

It is so easy to get caught up in work and running your own business but being with your family is crucial.

And that means saying no to some things. To accept that you can’t do everything. That you have to learn to prioritse. For me, my kids always come first. But I have a crazily fast-moving and busy business – so how do I do it?

The answer for me has always been to go to bed late and get up early! I have learned to function on less sleep so it is the sleep that I miss out on – not the time with my kids.

I work weird hours – I am up at 5am working then when my kids wake up my work day juggle begins!

I also have an awesome husband and we tag-team a lot – plus he works in the business too! But both of us have the same desire to be there for our kids and although we work long and disjointed hours – we love that we are always able to be there for our 2 boys – and now that they are getting older we love that they feel so part of the business and also feel proud of what our family has created.

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