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Entries in Business Advice (20)

Saturday
Jan082011

Time Savers!

Who doesn’t need to save time? We’re all so busy with work, kids, husband, errands and our plethora of other responsibilities that it’s no wonder we crave any little tid bit that can help us save time, become more productive or multitask just a little bit better!

Here are five quick time savers that you may not have thought of. Have fun implementing them into your daily routines. Let me know how it goes!

  1. Prepare as much food and as many meals as you can for the upcoming week on the weekend. Chop vegetables for dinners or snacks and store them in the refrigerator. Freeze a dish that you can pop into the oven later in the week. Gather your supplies for an easy crock pot meal.
  2. Mornings rough? Make sure you have the kids’ school clothes out and ready the night before. Same with backpacks and homework; make sure it’s all packed up and ready to go the next morning before  you hit the hay the night before.
  3. Being organized can help you accomplish more while the kids are at school or napping. Keeping your to-do list prioritized will help you get more done when it’s time to sit down and get some work done.
  4. Save time by combining tasks. Don’t make extra trips to the bank or post office in the middle of the day. Stop before you pick up the kids from school or some other time when you already need to be out and about.
  5. Delegate. Have an assistant? Make sure you’re using her to her potential. Have your hubby run an errand for you or have your kids help stuff envelopes. Others are usually more than willing to help if you just ask!

Monday
Dec202010

Mommy Monday:: Susu & John

Janie McQueen is the co-owner and mom behind Susu & John. She started the boutique that sells classic, high style baby bonnets, hat and clothing in the spring of 2009. The shop offers baby bonnets in three sizes that fit ages four months to three years, based on a unique heirloom pattern; bucket hats with a unique buttons-all-‘round feature, and matching clothing and diaper covers.

As with any home-based business, balance is the key. McQueen said she tends to get a lot done first thing in the morning while her 19-month-old twins are busy eating breakfast and playing. “I’m a born multitasker so I’m happiest this way,” she said. McQueen said she does not usually work much in the evenings so that she can relax and enjoy her family.

Her business pretty much revolves around Susu (short for Sophia Susannah) and John, her twins who are also her company namesake and models. She also has two older boys, Riley age 13 and Thomas age 11 who help a lot. “They’ll babysit while I do a more detailed task and often I repay them with something special,” she said. “I also get a lot of support from my husband.” However, she said, “probably my biggest ace in the hole is that I type like a bat out of h*-- er, heck. I’m a former journalist!”

“I think the ideal home business is one that dovetails with your lifestyle and the people in it,” said McQueen. “I know some moms who choose to work into the wee hours, and they might be night owls, unlike me. Some people do best compartmentalizing. But I don't hide my business--my office is the breakfast room space off the kitchen where I can see everybody--I actually chose that space in our new house instead of a spare room we have-- and I involve my children in the biz where I can. They learn how to do certain things and respect when I'm on deadline (usually).”

Susu & John can be found online, on Twitter and on Facebook!

Tuesday
Nov302010

Achieving $uccess:: Victoria Missry Sutton

Market Mommy:: When and why did you found your business?

Victoria:: My father founded All in the Cards 20 years ago, and I joined him in the business more 10 years ago. He is now semi-retired and I run the family business. My sister and brother have also joined me in doing so.

Market Mommy::  How long did it take before you felt successful?

Victoria:: Hmmmmmm! I will let you know! Still working on that one!

Market Mommy:: How do you define success?

Victoria:: To be able to balance business with family and personal life – being happy in both- simultaneously.

Market Mommy:: How do you balance parenting with running your business?

Victoria:: It’s challenging. There is always the pull…being organized. Being organized with time, everything is on a schedule….my calendar and my lists! Any extra time I have is with my family and my children. Knowing in business there is always tomorrow, but if you miss a ballet recital – there isn’t!

Market Mommy:: When did you break the six-figure threshold?

Victoria:: Before I worked for my family business, when I was an assistant to a president at a major dept store in NYC.

Market Mommy:: What business strategies contributed to your success?

Victoria:: Building a strong team. I am blessed to work with a very dedicated and talented team. You are as good as the people who surround you!

Market Mommy:: What specific marketing efforts really paid off for you? 

Victoria:: Word of mouth….bringing great product at a great value, keeps our customers coming back, and sharing AIC with their family and friends….sending our cards to them for special occasions and birthdays!

Market Mommy:: What advice do you have for moms who are just starting out on their entrepreneur adventure?

Victoria:: Love what you do. Be passionate about it! Work hard and love what you do. It’s the key to my success!

 

This post is part of a new series on Market Mommy, Achieving $uccess. These posts detail the journey these mom entrepreneurs have taken to reach sales of six figures and beyond. How do they balance it all? What strategies have worked for them? What advice do they have for you, the new mom entrepreneur? Follow our blog for many more Achieving $uccess stories in the near future.

 

Friday
Nov192010

Achieving $uccess:: Sandra Ann Harris

Market Mommy:: When and why did you found your business?

Sandra:: I yearned to avoid the throw-away plastic baggies, the plastic Tupperware food containers and the plastic/vinyl lunchboxes sold at the big-box retailers that are so ubiquitous. But as I searched high and low in sporting goods stores, big-box retailers and online, I was unable to put together a lunch kit that met my needs. I wondered, "What is the best way to pack a lunch?" That was when, about five years ago, I resolved to develop a lunch kit for kids ages 3 to 103... Something healthy for people and the planet.

What I've come up with is a back-to-the-basics solution. The kit starts with a 100 percent cotton, machine washable bag with matching cloth napkins. Inside the bag, which can be converted from shoulder bag, to sling bag to backpack, are reusable bamboo utensils, and a two-level stainless steel ECOlunchbox sized to fit a sandwich. What have I left out? Plastics. Disposables. Vinyl. PVC. Lead. And, of course, the lunch. That part is up to you!

Market Mommy:: How long did it take before you felt successful?

Sandra:: I felt successful when I completed the final design of our ECOlunchbag + 3 napkins and realized that the backpack-style bag designed to fit our napkins and stainless steel lunchboxes would be a unique addition to sustainable lunchware offerings internationally. I was happy with my idea. And I felt successful even though I hadn’t sold even one item yet! Positive thinking is so important for entrepreneurs when starting a new venture. Always believe! And it’s never too early to celebrate successes.

Market Mommy:: How do you define success?

Sandra:: The definition of success is constantly changing. I felt successful to some extent when I sold the first 100 handmade cotton ECOlunchbags + 3 Napkins and the first 100 stainless steel ECOlunchboxes. Celebrating successes, no matter how small, is crucial to firing the engine for great successes. No success is too small to celebrate. But it took about 18 months before the business was operating in the black and that felt like an important a marker of success. Now I seek to achieve more success in increasing our distribution nationwide and internationally. We have distributors in Canada and Australia, but I’d like to find an eco products distributor in Europe to help us reach those markets, as well. That would be success, too!

Market Mommy:: How do you balance parenting with running your business?

Sandra:: I've worked from home in various capacities over the last 10 years and it was natural I would do the same with ECOlunchboxes. I am a working mother and balance my business and home responsibilities. I like to be present in the children’s lives and available to volunteer at their school. This spreads me thin, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My staff and my husband are a big part of making this juggling act a success. Yes, I do need childcare help, but because I’m my own boss I set my own daily schedule as well as vacation schedules so I can spend time with my family. And just as importantly, I can change my company headquarters and run my business remotely from a vacation home during school vacations or wherever since I have set up ECOlunchboxes to function effectively using cloud computing services and remote network access.

Market Mommy::  When did you break the six-figure threshold? 

Sandra:: 2010 has been an amazing year! There’s an appetite out there for sustainable products and ECOlunchboxes has benefited from this growing consumer awareness as well as an overarching desire among so many families to make an environmental difference by greening their lifestyles. I only see this trend growing in the years ahead, but ECOlunchboxes also has to be prepared for increased competition as this consumer products category continues to grow and attract more interest.

Market Mommy::  What business strategies contributed to your success?

Sandra:: I’ve kept our overhead as low as possible for as long as possible so we can re-invest the savings in the growth of ECOlunchboxes. This is one of the reasons I've chosen to keep ECOlunchboxes a virtual company and use cloud computing services and outsource fulfillment services. I'm not seeking to grow a big organization. I'd like to keep our company light on its feet and as scalable as possible, especially since our product is seasonal and we have big spikes in demand in during back-to-school lunchbox season.

Market Mommy:: What specific marketing efforts really paid off for you?

Sandra:: Public relations. Tell your story authentically. And if you’re not sure what your story is find out by sitting down with a friend or two and ask them to listen to you tell your story. Make a recording of what you say and listen to it later. You have a story… find it and tell it.

Market Mommy:: What advice do you have for moms who are just starting out on their entrepreneur adventure?

Sandra:: Dream. Believe. Then, get Real: do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and listen to what the data shows. Once you begin, you will find strength to persist as you "dream," "believe" and reflect on your "SWOT" analysis.

ECOlunchboxes can be found online in several locations. In addition to their website, they also are on Twitter and Facebook. Read about Ecolunchboxes in the news and why you should green your lunch!

 

  

This post is part of a new series on Market Mommy, Achieving $uccess. These posts detail the journey these mom entrepreneurs have taken to reach sales of six figures and beyond. How do they balance it all? What strategies have worked for them? What advice do they have for you, the new mom entrepreneur? Follow our blog for many more Achieving $uccess stories in the near future.

 

Tuesday
Nov092010

QuestionMoms.com:: Answers Your Business Needs

There is a new business service emerging that will change the landscape of market research for new and growing small businesses. I’m very excited to tell you about QuestionMoms.com - a software solution that connects business owners, inventors and entrepreneurs with moms across the United States and Canada for research and market feedback.

If you’ve already started a business and launched your product or service, wouldn’t you have loved to have some honest feedback before you got started? Market research is a crucial element to any marketing or business plan, but so many over look it. Now, there is a way for you to do credible, reliable market research at a reasonable cost!

But, first things first. QuestionMoms.com is currently growing their panel of moms who will answer the questions honestly and in confidence. Will they buy your product? How much would they pay? Is this marketing message effective? These are all questions you will be able to ask and/or answer for other entrepreneurs if you’re on the panel.

And, the panel will get paid for answering the surveys. Any mom can sign up now to participate.  You automatically get $3 just for signing up and then most questionnaires pay $1.00 and take less than 5 minutes to complete. You can respond to as many or as few as you’d like. Go here to sign up for the panel and use referral code MarketMommy, so they know I sent you.

In addition, QuestionMoms.com is working to create an expert panel. You can vote for Market Mommy, and other mentors and coaches who have helped you grow your business here. Be sure to leave a comment and testimonial as to why you think our advice has been especially beneficial to you.