Tony Heywood, co-founder of Yoodoo.biz, explains why mums are perfectly placed to set up their own businesses.
If you only watched the news, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all is doom and gloom. Technically, the UK came out of recession in January 2010 – but the misery bandwagon just rumbles on.
Yet there’s so much to be upbeat about. Employment this quarter is up by over 241,000 from this time last year and research we conducted, using Companies House data, tells us that not only are more people than ever setting up shop (or delivering a service or inventing something new), but more of them are succeeding, too.
Mums are a big part of this surge in entrepreneurship. Becoming a mum is the sort of big life change which gives us a chance to re-evaluate priorities; perhaps leave the rat race or a previous career and try something new. Being a Mum also creates new life pressures which often generate exciting new businesses: suddenly you can’t go to the office for a nine-to-five. Thousands of home businesses and online businesses are born this way.
Finally, many mums use their enforced career break to brew up a storming good business idea. In between the howling and the school run, there’s plenty of thinking time to turn the germ of an idea into a rough diamond and then the full, polished gem. If necessity is the mother of invention, Britain’s downturn has spawned entrepreneurship on a grand scale- and Mums are on the front line.
Our research shows that these businesses are surviving in greater numbers than before. So-called tough times are in fact ideal times to start a new business. Competitors with big budgets are suffering and cutting back. Prices are forced down, and that means cheaper premises and raw materials. And living in cost-conscious times rightly forces owners of new businesses to focus on the pennies – just the sort of discipline which mums have in abundance.
If all that has got you excited about running your own business, you’re not alone. Over 17m people – well over half of the UK’s active workforce – would like the freedom of starting up for themselves.
Yet less than one in thirty ever get round to it. We’re afraid of failure. We can’t find the time. Or we’re just not rich enough to get started. Well, there’s never a “right amount of money you need” to have a baby; and every parent is petrified of messing up their parental duties, too – yet you took the plunge into mum-ness without a hitch. Apply the same open-mindedness to business and you’ll find the same reserves of talent and resourcefulness in abundance.
It would still be nice to get off on the right foot, though; so here’s some simple advice from the team at Yoodoo: before you spend anything, get your first customer. If you want to become a gardener:
– beg and borrow the tools to get started
– ask all your friends and neighbours if you can do up their gardens
– if they say yes, then find out what they’re prepared to pay
If someone wants your service and is happy to pay for it, you’ve got yourself a workable business. If nobody will buy, go back to the drawing board for your next idea!
There’s never been a better time to start a small business. It will be hard work and there will be long hours, but as a mum, you’re more than used to that! Not only will you be the master of your own destiny, you’ll find it an enormously fun and satisfying experience, and you might even get rich. Good luck!