If you’re a mom and a small business operator—most likely out of your home, or if you’re lucky a separate office with low overhead—you’re a mom-preneur (a new version of entrepreneur) and Multi-Tasking is your middle name.
You may be well educated or apologize for not having an MBA or even completing community college, but you have a lot going for you in this current economy of tight finances and scarce jobs.
Here are some samples of things in your favor:
- You already know how to do four things at one time. You’re familiar with holding a baby on your hip while you make dinner for the family and talk on the phone, ordering a birthday cake for your four-year-old.
- You know how to squeeze 150 cents out of a dollar because you use coupons, shop the sales, and check out the comparative prices of two brands of chicken nuggets.
- You have a built-in network of prospective customers: parents of the kids in your toddler’s day care group, parents of kids in your first grader’s elementary school, parents of kids who attend your church, parents of kids who are in your son’s Boy Scout troop. These parents feel a kinship with you and will be more sympathetic to your marketing than they would be if you were a complete stranger.
- If you’re wired for the Internet, (which most moms are), you can create an email newsletter, using the addresses of those day care, school, church, scout troop contacts, so you can tell them about price specials now in force.
- If your children are old enough to be walking around, you may be able to enlist them for tasks such as putting labels on envelopes, helping you assemble gift baskets, passing out your business cards and flyers, and keeping you company when you do deliveries from your car, SUV, or van.
If you’re a mom-preneur, time management will be a key skill. If all the kids are in school on week days, then you have time to operate your business and market your products or services. If you still have an infant or toddler, some of your work time will be while the little one is taking a nap or at night after the wee one has gone to sleep. Try to plan your business time one week ahead, remembering that a child’s sudden sore throat or fever and vomiting will change the schedule.
If your business involves your purchase of supplies, do a lot of price-shopping. You can use the Internet for this and when you’re out and about in the car (picking up the kids from school, for example), you can make a quick stop at a party supply store, office supply store, or other neighborhood retail outlet that has what you need.
If you can find ways for your kids to “help”, then you can make your business a “family thing”, giving your children an early education in economics and capitalism. As they find it fun to do things with Mom, your business can be something the kids look forward to sharing, not as something that keeps them away from Mom.
Use PTA meetings to give short talks (tips on planning a party, purchasing pet supplies—anything related to what you do). Emphasize ways to “save money” when planning a party but be available in case those in the audience would like you to take over the job.
If it’s any encouragement, know that huge companies all over the U.S. are having trouble keeping afloat because of the economic conditions. You, on the other hand, operate out of your house or garage or have a low overhead. You emphasize one-on-one marketing. Those in your neighborhood contact networks become return customers because they know where to find you and because your prices are reasonable and you provide great customer service, a great product and a winning smile.
When our country started out (you’ve heard about the Pilgrims, right?), everybody was a small business—the shoemaker, the tailor, the doctor, the baker. You’re part of a long and worthy tradition. “You Mom-preneurs ROCK!!”