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Friday
Feb172012

What to Expect When You're Expecting (For Business)

From Mindee Doney (Boogie Wipes® and Juicebox Idea Consulting)

I occasionally run into a Mom so disappointed with her business results, she can hardly muster the energy for another email, another sales call or another tweet.  Typically, after some analysis of her character, where she is, where she was and where she wants to go, I discover without fail her disappointment stems from expectations that did not hit her target.

All too often it’s the target's fault, not hers.  We spend some time reviewing what she thought would happen when she spent her mad money on business cards and a postage machine.  Her expectations are through the roof and unrealistic for a small business just starting out. She has usually had many moments of guts and glory to be proud of and yet they did not line up to where she thought she would be leading her to feel defeated.

Unfortunately, there are more glorified stories of Moms in business than there is truth of how they got there. The media, blogs and events you attend show Moms smiling and sugar filled with their moments of success and reward. They tell of selling a product or service online, at a tradeshow, on etsy, through friends. Then landing a storefront, a local chain and then a retail giant like Babies”R”Us.  Their intentions are admirable to the moon and back!  They want to encourage YOU to try, to start to enjoy and give what you have to offer with your business idea.

It’s a wonderful thing that we do all need to hear from time to time.  Usually, however, these Mompreneurs are often not given the time or the platform to share details of the “other side” of the story.  Every action has an equal opposite reaction. They ALL had their own moments of disappointment, shifting gears, re-thinking and head scratching about how exactly they ended up on their dining room floor stuffing packages at 1:30 in the morning…..and still not making a profit.  

We can’t change the fact that everyone wants to hear the happy side of running your own business. We don’t really want to change that anyway. It’s good stuff. What we can change, however, is our level of discouragement and disappointment while moving through these inevitable tough spots.  I usually find it’s a  pretty easy fix with most of the clients I work with.  We start by making an “I Expect” list like this one:

-          I expect to be up late at night a few nights a week working on my business.

-          I expect to spend $1200 on a tradeshow and maybe only generate a sale or two.

-          I expect it will take me at least a year to be able to pay myself a salary.

-          I expect my family and friends will help me work in the business sometimes.

-          I expect to be selling in 3 local boutiques within 3 months of receiving my first order.

-          I expect to have 10 repeat customers within the first 6 months.

-          I expect to meet a lot of new people and take in many new experiences.

-          I expect to have my product featured on 4 blogs by the end of the year.

-          I expect to have 300 facebook likes by this summer.

These are just examples but you get the idea. Each business model is different. This exercise will help align your expectations going into your journey so when you hit the speed bumps you feel prepared. You were ready, you can understand what you need to do to push through them and move onto the next step. It will also give you some goals to go back and reflect on and you will no doubt find some places to feel accomplished and proud. 

Especially the first few years, focus on the personal rewards for you and your family, and your career as much as the monetary.   I expect if you align your expectations often enough, you just might find yourself on the shelves of Target® …with a smile on your face.

Mindee Doney: Author, Inventor (Boogie Wipes®), Idea Consultant.Tired of chasing her kids runny noses, Mindee herself ran with an idea she had for a saline infused nose wipe she called a Boogie Wipe ®. In 2007, she partnered with Julie Pickens and by 2011 grew her concept, to $12 million in sales, with distribution to 50,000 retail locations in 8 countries.  She managed all PR, marketing and branding herself and landed Boogie Wipes® on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutch, Good Morning America, in People Magazine, The NY Times and countless others.  She is the author of Get your Own Juicebox – Confident Moms raising Capable Kids (May, 2012) and consults an exclusive group of start-ups through her company Juice Box Consulting. 

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