Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “mompreneur” before, or maybe it’s an entirely new concept. But for entrepreneurs who are also mothers, or mothers who are also entrepreneurs, this buzzword encapsulates everything you do and gives you the credit you deserve.
It’s hard enough being just one or the other, but when you take the frantic schedule of an entrepreneur and add a kid or two to the mix, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have some days so overwhelming you question everything about the lifestyle. And that’s ok. That’s completely normal. But, to stay sane when all feels lost, here are 3 tips for maintaining the balance you need.
Take time for you
It can feel selfish to take time for yourself when you have people pulling you in a million directions but it’s critical to being a successful mothers and business leader.
At the end of a busy day of meetings and work obligations, most moms feel compelled to go straight home to maximize time with the kids. But, if you’re still wound tight from the day’s activities, you won’t be a positive presence in the kids’ lives.
Take an hour to go for a walk, or head to the gym. Grab a drink with a girlfriend if that calms you down. Do whatever you need to enter your home with a clear head and a genuine enthusiasm for the “mom” tasks ahead of you.
When you work full time and you’re a mom, you might be tempted to make work engagements on your smartphone’s calendar and keep a separate schedule for the kids on the fridge at home. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Use one calendar. Keep it with you at all times. Make all appointments in the same place so you don’t schedule an important meeting at the same time your youngest child has the final soccer game of the season. A streamlined schedule might look frightening because of how jam-packed it is every single day, but fear not. A single calendar makes you much less likely to double book your time.
Be in the moment
When you’re essentially working two jobs, it’s tough to fully remove yourself from one part of your life. You don’t have to abandon your “mom-ness” when you’re in entrepreneur mode, but you do want to compartmentalize as much as possible. Just like your colleagues and business partners don’t want to deal with childcare issues during the workday, your children don’t want you to be focused on work when you’re spending time with them.
If you’re constantly multi-tasking, you’re never fully present for either party.
No one said it would be easy to take on the role of mother and businesswoman, but if anyone is equipped to juggle schedules and make the magic happen, it’s a mom. Take these three tips to heart so you can be the best mompreneur you can be!
Most small business owners and entrepreneurs have hectic schedules. In fact, it would be surprising if a successful professional didn’t have a lot on his plate. But, in the process of growing a business, it’s critical to consider the value of a good property investment. Depending on the industry and region you serve, you will experience different advantages from decisions tied to real estate choices.
Read on for three common real estate considerations made by successful business leaders across the globe.
Plan for the success you want. If you envision your business expanding over the next few years, look for property that has the space to accommodate a growing team (ideally in the same space or same floor). Moving frequently is expensive, annoying, and a burden on the business. Settle into an environment that offers the space and convenience you need, and stay as long as it makes financial sense.
It’s all about “location, location, location”
Where your business is located will play a big part in how successful you can be. It’s always good to strike a balance between the perfect spot and the perfect price. An “A” location is generally important for retail and restaurants because they require as much foot traffic as possible. While this prime real estate isn’t necessarily a requirement for other types of businesses to succeed, every business owner should opt for the best location that they can safely afford.
It’s not for everyone, but working remotely can save a company an enormous amount of money right off the bat. Without a rigid office space, many employees are more creative and efficient. Time spent commuting to and from work can be put to better use and a remote team is often more loyal to the company as a result of the flexibility. Consider working remotely before investing in pricey property or pouring revenue into monthly rent. If you work in an industry that is conducive to this format, a virtual workplace might be the optimal set up.
Property values are constantly rising – especially in urban areas. Make sure you put some serious thought into each stage of the growth process when you’re managing a business, and establish what the real estate needs of your company are. It might make sense to speak with real estate experts like those at the FLH Company, or read up on your options so you’re not left in the dark.
Whether you recently opened a business or you are an established presence in your community, your reputation is everything. If customers don’t trust you to deliver the product or service they expect, your business stands little chance of surviving.
That’s why it is so critical to maintain a positive and reliable reputation. Here are three ways to improve credibility and boost the image of your business to ensure long term success.
Make sure you accept plastic.
It’s rare these days for a business to be cash only. Although you might be nervous about set-up fees or feel like interchange fees will slow profits, data show that, in fact, the opposite is true. Customers are more likely to make purchases if they can pay with a credit or debit card. And, working with major companies like MasterCard and Visa helps establish credibility and makes customers feel like their personal information is protected.
Monitor online review sites.
Make sure you have plenty of positive reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, or TripAdvisor to encourage potential customers to stop by your store. These days, most people consult ratings sites before doing business. Even just having an account created legitimizes your company and lets prospective customers know that you’re open to their reviews and feedback.
Make social media accounts.
Set up a LinkedIn profile and Facebook page for your business to show that you care about customers and increase general searchability on the web. These days, it’s so commonplace for organizations to have a business page set up on Facebook and other social networks that the lack thereof can look suspect.
When it comes to doing business, credibility is the lynchpin of success. You can build up your reputation over time, or, you can speed up the process by following these three steps. When consumers know they can trust your brand, profits will soar.
While many of us associate start-up culture with tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Manhattan, in fact, when it comes to starting a business, there are many cities that treat small businesses better as a whole than these hot spots. Whether it comes down to tax advantages, professional licensing requirements, or the ease of obtaining health insurance, the regions that encourage small businesses to thrive might come as a surprise.
A recent report by Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation surveyed small business owners across the country to determine who was in the best situation and happiest with the rules and regulations of their city. Although entrepreneurs and small business owners in different industries expressed some degree of variation in their priorities, there was a fair amount of agreement about what a city could do to make the set-up process easier.
The researchers found that the five friendliest cities for small businesses are:
Colorado Springs, CO
San Antonio, TX
Virginia Beach, VA
It’s interesting that three out of five of these small business hubs are located in Texas, but it just goes to show that the state is invested in the spirit of entrepreneurship and professional opportunities for individuals.
In contrast, the five cities considered least friendly towards small business are:
Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
It’s interesting that Texas seems to be generally favorable towards small business establishment and growth, while California makes things difficult for the budding entrepreneur.
See how your city stacks up!
The life of an entrepreneur is tough. Constant stressors combined with lack of sleep and total devotion to the business can create a dangerous cocktail for the individual. It takes a certain type of person to persevere through the non-stop chaos and emerge successful on the other side with an operational, profitable business.
If you’re thinking about starting a business or you recently launched a company of your own, you probably have just the right balance of craziness and common sense to motivate you in the process. But what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the failures? And how can you optimize your chances for success?
Read on for three key characteristics every entrepreneur should embody and adjust your approach to business accordingly.
When it comes to starting a business, the magic isn’t going to happen overnight. The process of turning a single idea into a full-fledged operation will take many months – and almost certainly longer than you anticipate. With a detailed business plan and a flexible approach, you will eventually see the progress you envisioned, but it takes enormous patience not to give-up when everything is moving at a turtle’s pace.
Kindness goes a long way towards accomplishing your goals. Even when the next step feels impossible, a genuine smile can improve your outlook and the general mood of those around you. Don’t let the stress of opening a business turn you into a barking drill sergeant. Remember to keep some persepctive. You’ll find in life that you catch more flies with honey – so use kindness to your advantage and be the type of leader you’d want to follow if the roles were reversed.
You won’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur if you don’t have the drive to see things through to the end. Anyone can come up with a good idea and a business plan, but the rest of the process requires passion and persistence. Launching a business takes the kind of hard work that only the most determined entrepreneur has the energy for. Luckily, you only need to push through the hardship for a matter of months before you’ll start to see results. Once your business begins to succeed, you’ll find the motivation to continue putting in continued effort.
It’s true that not all entrepreneurs will embody these personality traits to the fullest, but those who wish to be successful in business would be wise to rethink their priorities. Ultimately, patience, kindness, and determination will make a business owner more likely to succeed and reap the rewards of entrepreneurship.
When it comes to making critical decisions for your business, do you go with your intuition? Studies show that people do seem to have a kind of sixth sense when it comes to making snap decisions. In fact, frequently, the first decision you make, even under duress, can lead to positive outcomes.
A study at Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences determined that “When asked to choose between two options based on instinct alone, volunteers made the right call up to 90 percent of the time.” This is incredibly accurate considering that humans seemingly make poor decisions so much of the time.
This study does not imply that every time we get an inkling of fear or doubt that we are about to make a huge mistake. Rather, data is the most powerful tool for business success. But, in certain situations, entrepreneurs and business owners would be wise to “go with their gut”.
When we have time to think through a decision, humans are surprisingly good at integrating value – or weighing the pros and cons of a situation and acting accordingly. While this is an exciting and convenient skill to have, it’s important to keep in mind that intuition is prone to certain biases (like cognitive dissonance or the recency effect) that can lead us astray in the process.
In order to use your intuition for success in the business world, you need to balance that gut instinct with statistical reasoning. Analyze relevant data to support or refute your opinion and keep a clear mind under pressure. Ultimately, the best business leaders succeed on a combination of careful planning and intuitively following their instincts.
Every time you use your credit card at a retail store, the merchant is charged a small fee for the convenience of offering customers the ability to pay via card. That charge, known as the interchange fee, is set by the credit card companies and can negatively impact profits for a small business. In most states, that charge is absorbed by the business, but now, a federal law permits storekeepers to pass that fee along to consumers during the transaction process.
Find out if these added charges are permitted in your state – or if you’re off the hook.
You’ve no doubt heard about Yahoo CEO Marisa Mayer’s declaration that all remote employees will be required to work from a physical company location starting in June. The backlash has been fierce. Many claim that her views are outdated, smug, and insulting to those who work remotely. For a tech company like Yahoo to insinuate that the available technology doesn’t offer a comparative working experience to those in an office is deemed backwards and close-minded.
It’s true though, that every company is different. No two organizations are exactly alike in their missions and underlying values. Yahoo has seen disappointing earnings year over year and Marisa Mayer was hired as the golden girl who could potentially breathe life back into the dwindling empire. She needed to make a stand.
But is this rigid rule the right move?
It is risky, to be sure.
For many organizations, especially tech companies, start-ups, and small businesses, a remote workforce allows for minimized costs, global collaboration, and expert input that otherwise couldn’t occur. Most banks and merchant account providers are as comfortable funding mobile start-ups as they are a brick and mortar shops these days; in some cases – more so!
The Internet allows us to connect with so many people, streamline data systems, and optimize payment solutions like never before. For many employees, working from home is as easy as signing up for high speed Internet and buying a laptop (if they didn’t already have access to these forms of technology).
Studies show that remote workers:
- Face fewer distractions
- Experience better work/life balance
- Demonstrate increased productivity
- Maintain a more environmentally friendly lifestyle
Clearly the general outlook on working from home is positive, so entrepreneurs and small business owners would be wise to consider it as an option for their employees.
For years, card issuers have been making loads of money off of interchange fees. This fee, typically between 2% and 3% of the total transaction, is the fee that a store pays the bank when you use a credit card to make a purchase. For start-ups, small businesses, and other “high risk” merchants that don’t have the capacity to negotiate lower rates, these fees can cut into profits in a big way.
The good news is that, now, businesses that have been paying two or three percent per credit card transaction to a bank or merchant account provider can technically offload those fees onto consumers. If a small business was struggling to turn a profit, this new ruling could mean the difference between survival and going under.
The bad news is that consumers won’t be happy. And there’s nothing worse than a dissatisfied customer.
So, while yes, passing along the credit card surcharge to the customer can offload some of the financial burden for a small business, it can also drive customers away and send them looking elsewhere for goods and services.
Another possible scenario? Customers might cut back on paying with credit altogether and start using cash with more frequency. Research shows that consumers spend more money when they pay with credit card compared to cash (up to twice as much, by some estimates), so stores certainly want to encourage card use as much as possible. If the surcharge curbs spending, that could spell disaster for a small business.
Ultimately, it’s unclear the effect this will have on customers, so businesses will have to tread lightly.
It’s likely that account providers like HighRiskPay.com will stay neutral during this time and let merchants handle it on an individual basis. While small business owners and vendors in most states are now legally allowed to charge consumers the extra amount that credit card companies charge them, this could have the negative effect of limiting spending and that’s the last thing a small business wants to happen.
Small business owners know the complications that accompany even the smallest of daily tasks. When you’re responsible for so much and you have a ton on the line, it’s easy to run into roadblocks.
Industry leaders can often attest to serious mistakes they made in the beginning that could have been avoided if they had known better. Read on for three questions every new business owner should ask to prevent falling prey to common pitfalls
Did I hire well?
When you first interview the early employees of a company, it can be hard to tell if they will fit in with the culture you wish to establish. Once some time has gone by, small business owners should revaluate everyone who works for the organization. Are all the employees fulfilling their duties? Do they each bring something vital to the table? Is everyone pulling their weight?
In a start-up, there is no room for a weakest link so employees must make themselves invaluable from the very beginning. If someone is noticeably lazy or doesn’t seem to fit in with the others, it might be time to have a chat and eventually let them go.
Am I using all available technology to my advantage?
While it’s smart to stay simple with your business ideas, when it comes to technology, take advantage of every available option. Let scheduling software streamline tasks and assignments, use video chat to run meetings and better articulate goals with remote team members, and utilize any and all mobile capabilities for convenient payment solutions and growing your customer base.
Get out of the dark ages and let tech help you run your business with ease.
How can I improve my social media strategy?
Social media is big and getting bigger. With new social networks popping up regularly, it can be confusing to known which ones should be leveraged to improve business. While most businesses today rely on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to boost online presence and appease customers, many industries are better suited for Pinterest, Vine, Google+, and more.
Figure out who your target audience is and decide which social network can best help you capitalize on the marketable qualities of your brand.
If you’re a small business owner and you haven’t yet had time to think about these issues, now is a good time to mull it over. The sooner you determine what is working well and where you need to make changes, the faster you can implement those changes and improve your overall business strategy.
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