Our new features writer, Claire Burdett, is qualified nlp coach and experienced businesswoman. Claire has hands on experience in all aspects of setting up a business and marketing it successfully and has agreed to share her expertise with Wikizine's readers.
With over 40% of mums wanting to start their own home business, many after divorce, and 1,400 home business start ups every week in the UK currently, there's a lot of people starting a business in their spare room, dining room or shed in the garden.
Unfortunately not even half of them will be successful, according to statistics, so to maximise your chances of success and financial rewards, it pays to make sure you are fit to go into business before you take the plunge.
How do you do that? Like you do anything major in your life - be being prepared. Here's my top tips for making sure you are business fit. So, first things first, let’s tackle the emotional side of things.
Bet that surprised you, didn’t it?
Business, and I'm talking about emotions..? Oh, but yes. Because all things emotional have a horrible habit of being the very thing you neglect the most and the very first thing that will come round and bite you on the calf just when you’re in the middle of a really complicated trapeze act. Involving a unicycle and a set of juggling sticks. And possibly a flame thrower for good measure. So let’s start with the most important element – your family.
1. Family matters. Every business person should take their family in to consideration, and nowhere is that more true than for the home business owner, who by the very definition is running the two things in tandem. So look to your family. Are they all on side with what you are doing whether they live with you or not? Anyone feeling neglected, jealous or prone to habits that are a tad beyond the eccentric? And by that I’ m thinking of tantrum throwing, bullying and serial attention seeking, for example. Heavy drinking and drug use would also come under that category. And if so, are you directly in business with them or are they an unavoidable part of your everyday life? If so, find yourself a different career direction that doesn’t fly so close to the sun, otherwise your best efforts will go to pot and you’re going to end up both financially and emotionally bankrupt. Or as close as makes no odds, which is nothing to look forward to if you have already been through the mill once already, say as a result of divorce.
2. Support network. Is it solid, and enough of a network to be called a network? You’re going to have to let off steam at times, so having enough ears to bend so the individual ones don’t self combust is a good idea. And don’t even think that one person is enough to fulfil this need, because no one can be anyone's sole emotional support, especially if they are in any way involved in the business. You have been warned.
3. How are YOU? And answer that thoughtfully, not with the usual everyday “I’m fine”! Describe to me how you are, in mind, body, and soul. Where are your buttons, your sore spots? Any particularly fragile areas? Everyone has them and that’s where any stress is going to manifest itself.
So make sure you sort yourself out as far as you can, whether that’s making sure you schedule in regular exercise (you could get a dog, perhaps) or quitting smoking because not only does it make you ill, it also revs up your adrenal glands, so contributing extra stress on your system.
4. Sort out systems. Some of us have a practical head well screwed on, many of us don’t, but whatever type you are it's often a complete waste of time telling a fledgling home business owner to get their systems in place before they start. However, you won’t think it’s so irrelevant when you are trying to juggle numerous projects, feed your children and deal with the plumber…and you have to spend half an hour trying to find the name of your email contact because you didn’t back it up and your pc has just crashed. And lost all your addresses.
5. Administration. When a business is in the early stages of growth, the filing is pretty straightforward, and tends to grow rather organically. All very well when you have the time to search your files for that important piece of paper, not so funny when you need to act on that piece of paper just right now. And you can guarantee that filing is the first office job to be neglected, just like housework, or emotional or health maintenance, because it tends towards the mundane. By doing your administrative housework you know that when you have a push on and it’s all hands to the pump the admin isn’t going to trip you over.
And if the push is short, then the admin can actually be skimmed for a while, so long as you schedule in catch-up consolidation in the slack times. And in order to do that with aplomb you need a financial safety net so you can relax and maximise the potential of a slack period without fretting. Slack periods are essential and should be welcomed, not feared.
Something I guess we learn as we grow older is that the very best moments in life are those when you can just be, kick back and watch the world, potter, dabble and generally ‘wool gather’. And those are essential for the creative 'work' in your business as well as being able to work at full capacity, so if you want to carry on being able to be creative and do your best, then you have to get the structure in place to allow you that luxury, which leads us to the...
6. Financial safety net. This is what gives you the courage to really fly, to reach that bit further to make things happen, to reach your full potential. And the bigger and stronger you can make it, the better for when you’re up there on the trapeze in full flight. And hoping you won’t miss. Because let’s face it, you’ll be flying by the seat of your pants at some point – that’s a given! And that takes money.
Money doesn’t make you happy on its own, how can it? It’s just an energy flow, so can ever only intensify how you are, for better or worse. But what it can do is buy you peace of mind and kick back time, which means you are better able to take advantage of all the business opportunities and other good things surrounding you.
So get creative with it. See it as game, or as a giant jigsaw and that you’re finding the pieces and putting them together to make a fabulous picture. Visualise what it looks like, this jigsaw, and keep working towards assembling it. And finally, always concentrate on abundance, rather than keep fretting over deprivation. Remember you always get what you wish for, so make sure those wishes are for good things: No worry wishes, let alone a worry fest. So are you ready and fit for business? Then let’s just go for it!
© Claire Burdett
Claire Burdett is a qualified and experienced business coach, a home business expert and a serial entrepreneur. She runs www.businessmidwife.co.uk and www.thefunkyagency.com and is the founder of www.funkyangel.co.uk, which is the site for people combining home and business and where this article first appeared.