So before you head into business ownership you’re going to have to consider quite a few options, make the best choice for yourself and then follow through. With owning a company there are so many gray lines, both before you start and even after you begin. Understanding this in advance, and getting a firm idea of what is going to be involved before you begin, will help as you run into the kinks that are sure to come.
First, you’ll need to determine whether you want to run a service or product oriented business. I’ll post next week about the pros and cons of each, but basically thinks of this: Do you want to sell a product or do you want to provide a service? Your business may be a blend of the two – for instance, you may open a spa, which offers services, but sell products in the storefront.
Also consider whether you hope to open a brick and mortar store or an online venture. I’ll discuss this in a future post as well. Both offer pros and cons to a working mother. Much of this will depend on the type of business you hope to run. Also, the business may be a combination of the two.
Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software and blogger, says to be realistic about juggling everything. You can’t be a full time worker and a full time mother. If you want to work from home – or even out of the home – without disrupting your home life, you will need to manage hours around your family, which may mean working early morning and late nights along with weekends. If this is not conceivable you’ll need to figure out some way to work while the kids are otherwise busy – kid swapping, daycare, preschool, or the like.
Get it together before you begin. This means sitting down and figuring out a plan of action. As a mother you have limited time as it is. If you know you will need a particular type of business license for your county, get it before you start. If you know you will need to rent a space, start looking now. Make sure everything that needs to be done pre-opening is done pre-opening; once you start taking clients or customers your time will (hopefully!) become quite limited and you will have little time to take care of the ‘other details’.
Toyi Ward, a business consultant who blogs for Working Mother magazine, offers this advice: Understand the economic market conditions before starting the company. “If you are selling expensive cookware right now, it’s likely your business will take a hit,” she writes. Why? Because right now, due to the economy and job cutbacks, people are saving, not spending. She adds that if you are writing resumes, you may have a great client base because so many people are hoping to find a new job in this economy.
Consider the time that you put into the job as well. Both Toyi and Sabrina mentioned this. It is critical that you understand how much time a business takes. Even if you are selling products another company manufactures and you are simply working as a salesperson, hosting parties and handing out brochures, you will have to put some time into the company. If you are creating a product or offering a service that is all yours, you’ll have to not only create this product or do this service but you’ll have to handle all marketing, selling, networking, bookkeeping, and other tasks on your own. This adds up. Be realistic about the time you have to put into the company before you begin.