Monday, June 28, 2010

Where do we find entrepreneurs?

Beth and I were interviewed by a reporter for a local weekly paper recently and we were pleased by how well she captured our philosophy, our mission and our personalities. Yes, we’ve heard all the accountant jokes so it was nice that she tried to demonstrate that we do have a sense of humor! More importantly she wrote about our passion to help small businesses.

We strive to help people looking to start a business and those who are already in business. What we find when we are brought in to work with a small business that has been operating for a period of time, is that even if they have a great product or service, mistakes in running the operation can place them in a precarious spot. We are hoping the article will help us find more people at the start of their business lives rather than after they have run into problems.

So here is our question to all of you-how do we find these potential entrepreneurs and small business owners? We would like to help them start strong and avoid the common pitfalls so many micro businesses face. We want them to have financial information they can use to make decisions about pricing and advertising and hiring. We want them to know how to successfully interview and hire employees. We want them to manage their inventory and collect the money owed them for sales and services. So how do we find them?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summertime for Mompreneurs

Well it's here! Summer has arrived! The kids are off of school. Camps have begun. my opinion the most difficult season of the year for Mompreneurs...especially mompreneurs who work from home and have school age children andwork from home. Scheduling is crazy, the noise level is higher, there are more interruptions in the day, and the internal pull between running your business and providing a fun summer for your kids is at its peak. So how to navigate through these few precious months?

1. Organization is key: Decide how many hours you must work each week. Write your involvement in your children's activities onto your master schedule and then block your work time into your schedule as well.

2. Reclaim your office: During the school year I gravitate to my kitchen counter to work. When summer comes, I need to separate myself from the household activity and move my work back into my office.

3. Set rules: When I am working, the children need to understand that they cannot interrupt me randomly. When I am on the phone, they cannot be playing their musical instruments. Figure out where your problem areas are and set the rules accordingly.

4. Take some time off! You deserve it and the kids are only young once, so reward a good smooth-running workweek with a Friday afternoon at the pool.

What are your tips for managing your summer as a Mompreneur?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Operations plan for your small business

Last time we talked about the value of preparing a business plan for your small business. We focused on identifying your target market and determining how your product/service is different from your competitors. This week we are going to talk about operations and how to insure your small business can run smoothly at start-up and as it grows.

Many small businesses begin as a one person shop which means the owner tries to do it all. This is often dictated by the amount of working capital available but it can also be a good idea to insure that the owner knows how he/she wants each job performed. Doing all the work yourself allows you to determine what skills will be needed when you get the point where you will hire employees.

One drawback of doing everything yourself is finding the time. We recommend charting out all the tasks that need to be accomplished in your business and then assigning a time: daily, weekly, monthly, etc. We also believe every business should use a calendar and create set times to accomplish these tasks. Pick the times you feel the strongest to get those jobs which you find distasteful done: bookkeeping, collections, bill paying.

We also recommend writing job descriptions for all the tasks you are performing. This allows to get everything on paper and really think about how things should be done. The act of writing out the jobs can help you streamline and gets the work done as efficiently as possible. It also allows you to be ready to hire employees and train them much more quickly.

Setting your business up with a good operations infrastructure will make running your business easier and more fun! Any suggestions out there as to techniques which have worked well in your business?