The magazines are full of ‘mumpreneur’ success stories, but the reality is that trying to start a business is incredibly hard, especially if you’re juggling lots of family commitments as well. There are a few simple ways you can increase your chances of success:
Don’t fall in love with your product!
Instead spend lots of time thinking about the customer problems you are trying to solve, and identify who your ‘early adopters’ are. Seek out people who have the problem and are already spending money and time trying to solve it. Without presenting your solution, ask them to tell a story about the last time they had the problem, and give you lots of details about how they solved it. Then ask what their ideal solution would look like. Use the information you gather to help you complete a one page business plan and develop a very basic solution to test out. It’s called the Lean Start Up method, and its a ruthlessly efficient way to sort through business ideas and avoid wasting a lot of time and money.
List and exploit your existing resources
- In his excellent book, ‘The Myth of The Idea’ Professor Newton Campos argues that successful entrepreneurs start with a pool of resources and grow businesses out of those. So, grab some paper and spend time thinking about what your building blocks look like and how you can make the most of them:
- intellectual: what qualifications, skills and experience do you have?
- human: who is already in your social and professional networks, who will buy from you, champion you or the business, or connect you to others who can support you?
- physical: what material resources do you already have at your disposal?
- financial: what money do you have to contribute to the business?
Be clear about your priorities
You are almost certainly juggling a lot of different balls (I bet you’re feeling guilty taking the time to read this!) but it is critical to know how much time and energy you can realistically spend on your business. Use the Wheel of Life to think about how satisfied you are with each aspect of your life, and what you might need to work on alongside starting your business. Try to set a goal for a number of hours a week you’re going to dedicate to planning and running your business, then stick to it (and don’t rely solely on those snatched minutes while you’re also looking after your little one!). A co-working space might be a way to create that quiet time for yourself.