Thanks to the super savvy Antonia Chitty for this great advice
Want to run your own business?
Starting a business can seem expensive, but can be done on next to nothing. If you want to start your own business but are on a budget, here are some pointers from Antonia Chitty of Family Friendly Working, to get you going:
- If you’re clear about your needs and skills it is going to be easier to find the right business for you.List your priorities such as earning money, or finding work that lets you stay home with your children. Write down your skills, and ask others what they think you’re good at.
- Look at your family budget, How much might you need to bring in each week or month? Think about the hours you can devote to working. Be realistic if you plan to work around the kids, as children may not understand “mummy’s working”. Knowing the hours you can work and your target income can help you be clear about what you need to achieve.
- Pick your business idea. If you need a business that will generate an income quickly, start up a service. Look at low cost start up ideas like dog walking or cleaning. However small your start-up budget, don’t skimp on business insurance.
- Party plan and direct sales opportunities often come with a small start up investment. Pick your opportunity carefully: don’t just base your choice on a low fee. Look for products that you know people in you area will buy – and ideally go for items that encourage repeat purchases rather than one-offs. Watch out for discounts on sign up fees as you may be able to start up for less at certain times of year.
- If you have some time and want to retrain, contact your local college. Find out about which courses are funded, as this may affect your choice. The college may also be able to help you find out how to get help with the cost of childcare.
- Check out schemes that allow you to earn while you learn. There are various initiatives to encourage adults into teaching, for example, that allow you to train while working.
- If you are starting a business, research the market first. Will people buy your product or service? Is it unique enough to be appealing? This is really important and will save you from investing in launching a business then finding no-one will buy.
- Prepare a business plan. Set out aims and objectives, and the steps to take to achieve your goals so you know what you need to achieve. Pop into a local Enterprise Agency for free advice.
- Work out how you will promote and market your business. Visit www.prbasics.co.uk for a free promotion plan and low cost PR ideas and resources.
- Register as self employed. You have 3 months to let the Inland Revenue know you have started a business, or you could end up with a £100 fine.
- Keep good records. It is easier to note down every item of expenditure from the start than to have to deal with a pile of receipts when your tax return is due in. You can claim many of your business costs against tax too. The Inland Revenue can also send an advisor to your house, free of charge, to explain how to claim back your expenses against tax and what you can claim for.
- Make the most of every customer. From day one, start a customer database so you can send them offers. It is easier to get existing customers to buy again than to find new ones.
- Watch out for your work-life balance. Business can easily take over. Have a finish time each day, put your work away, and make some time to relax.
If you’re serious about starting a business, Antonia Chitty has lots of advice for you:
- Visit www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk for business ideas and events, and to get inspired by other parents with businesses
- Buy Start a Family-Friendly Business: 23 brilliant business ideas for mums (and how to tell which is right for you) which Antonia has co-authored with Helen Lindop. Released 15th September.
- Check out www.themumpreneurguide.co.uk for a book specially designed for mums who want to start a family friendly business. It covers issues from business planning to childcare, finances to setting aside time for you.