One of the many questions I pondered when writing When Business Meets Baby was when is the ideal time to start a business – before or after you have a baby?
I considered the motivations people have for starting a business and the lifecycle of a business. I also considered why people have babies and the growth stages of a baby. I concluded there was no ideal time to be mum in business, all you have is today.
When you look at the life cycle of a baby, every month, week, day and hour bring more developments. At each stage their needs and wants change, and it is different for every child. While the journey may not be an easy one, and you will make sacrifices, it is possible to balance raising healthy, happy children and growing a business.
Maintenance vs growth
When you have a baby, you’ll need to make the decision about whether you put your business into either maintenance mode or growth mode. Your decision will depend on so many different factors – the stage your business is in, the staffing or resourcing you have available, finances and more.
Maintenance mode – This mode will only really work if your business is already developed. Think of it as pressing the “pause” button. It is not viable to keep the business in this mode for too long – business basics say that we need to continually develop, market, and give effort to the business.
Here are some tasks that will help you maintain your business:
- Before baby is born, create marketing content and schedule their release.
- After baby is born, answer emails, Facebook messages and other forms of communication.
- Send a couple of newsletters.
- Update your social media a couple of times (just automate it!).
- Refresh your website and all your social media.
- Look at your accounts – assess each service or product, examining what is making money and what is not.
- Complete any legacy work from before baby was born.
- Revisit your business plan and consider what is your core business.
Growth mode – Employment of this strategy will depend on whether you have a start-up business or an established business. It will also depend on the funds you have available to invest. Here are my three top tips for implementing growth mode after the baby’s birth:
- Work out how much time you will have available for the business and then commit to using that time well.
- Surround yourself with the right people, in terms of business support. You need people who are both clever at their area of expertise and who also understand your business.
- Develop the business. Always think big picture. If this strategy is going to work for you then you need to make sure that your limited time is spent working on – and not in – the business.
Remember, too, that it’s OK to grow slowly – at the end of the day, you can only do what you have time to do. While focusing on growth in your business, it’s also important to ensure that you are engaged and present with your children when you are with them.
Rachel Allan, marketing consultant and author of “When Business Meets Baby”