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How to grow a business- no clue(25 Posts)
I have been self employed for 14 years so not a complete novice, but I have started a new venture last year which is now earning me £3K profit a month.
I retail online, and judging by last Christmas sales I know there is the potential to make a lot of money around that period.
I am struggling with the logistics however. There is only one of me and I have kids, family to look after, elderly parent to care for.
Yet I know that sales have the potential to stellar, but it is frustrating to put the brakes on. I need a website, I need advice on logistics. I contacted our local Business Gateway for advice but all they wanted to do was try to sell me a loan- which I don't need.
I am looking to maintain control and I know I need help but how?
Given your circumstances do you want to increase sales?
Realistically can you? Worst thing to do would be get to a point you arent coping and letting customers down.
That's a good point. I guess I am excited at seeing my business grow and part of me wants to ride that.
Customer service is a top priority of course, increasing prices is a way of slowing sales while maintaining profitability and that will be a consideration. I could employ someone, but the nature of my product is very hands on, I could employ a cleaner, but that would have family tension implications.
I guess I would hate to see potential go to waste.
Personally with 3k profit a month and a hankering to increase sales. I would pay myself enough to get help at home. I know you say it eill cause tension (please free to expand on that if you wish). But holding your business back because simeone is unhappy with having a cleaner, is a recipe for disaster and resentment.
Anyway back to the business. I assume you have social media all covered? Insta, insta stories, twitter, fb, pinterest etc.
Now woild be the time to start pushing for for followers and likes. The more peolle that will see you now, the more sales ops you have around christmas.
How far can you prep your product? For example we make all our stuff in advance for chritsmas. Numbers based on last years sales plus 10%. September and early October are manic here. We also make it clear that the products have certain limit on number. That seems to help shift the stock. This way christmas goes smoother. Late november and december are our big months. We make 45% of our yearly gross during this period.
Its a bit difficult to give specfic advice not knowing what you do now to promote and what the product is. But get why you dont want to share that.
Thanks. I really appreciate your advice.
I have barely touched social media- I make craft items for a niche market.
I have regular orders for a few shops and outlets worldwide, which is great, I sell on Amazon and ebay
My elderly mother ( who lives with us) has come close to a meltdown when I hinted at getting a cleaner.
OH is very supportive, but he works hard and long hours.
This is not the first start up I have done, I initiated a venture - although within the protected environment of a University, but I started and raised a business from nil to a 3 million stream within 4 years. No personal financial reward from that unfortunately apart from overtime payments.
It sounds as if you don't need to waste time on social media. It isn't useful for all businesses.
If you'd rather not employ someone, I think you need to free up your time and produce more. Have you got time-saving devices in place, such as a dedicated label printer (Brother or similar)? Is there any part of the craft process that could be outsourced?
Would your mother go to a club one day a week and you could get a cleaner in while she is out (not to her room of course).
You sound like you're doing an amazing job but seriously, your home and your business and if you need a cleaner then that's nothing to do with your mum
Thanks. Yes mother goes out a lot, but sporadic and no set times.
I feel now as if I am just having a moan, I guess all businesses have limitations of some sort. but perhaps not all trying to slow sales. It seems counter intuitive.
Just as an aside- I have the most amazing car mechanic- his wife and I are friends- and he runs the business with his brother in the city, they have a workshop in the city. He is such a lovely guy, very honest and genuine, incredibly cheap, is MOT certified.Has been fixing my cars for 15 years. 5 star ratings on review web sites. Once customers use him they never go anywhere else.
But he won't take on any more customers.
He has a nice house, a nice life, not mega rich, but comfortable. And he is happy and content. I made the mistake of recommending a friend to him, and he called me up apologetically, saying sorry, but he only deals with existing clients- he is full to capacity and won't consider new business at that time.
That was quite an eye opener.
Tralalalalz yes, but she has the emotional maturity of a 3 year old. She has threatened to move out and dump herself on social services if I get a cleaner.
Thats the thing if you are happy where you are. Thats ok.
If you arent you nees to pursue it.
Our business plan is too sell in the next 3-5 years. So growth is important to us. We dont want to do this forever or in 10 years.
But if you are happy now, stay as you are for now. Growth isnt a must for every business.
If you are selling online social media really helps growth. For most businesses. But it is a time eater. If you are happy where you are, dont worry about it too much.
What would she say if you said 'i dont have time to do everything, i am getting a cleaner. Do as you will'.
Not saying you should force her out, but i am guessing she would not leave or woild come back very quickly.
if you do decide to give this a go then I'd definitely utilise social media. Its free marketing!
can you do a pre order leading up to xmas so you know where you are a bit more and close your books once you feel like you've reached a certain point?
Get a cleaner and let her do that.
Or you can ask the cleaner to leave her room alone.
If you behaved like that when you were growing up, I'm sure she would have ignored your tantrums as you should hers.
What does your OH do and why can't he step up? I work hard and long hours but still look after our home (I also have a cleaner!)
gorgo- she would see that as a very aggressive act.
She struggles with my manner even when I bend over backwards.
She was a surrendered wife and really doesn't approve of my apparent lack of support for my OH- I don't often cook for him, never iron his clothes etc. He however thinks his is in heaven- he loves a strong woman, our sex life is good, but my mother can't see why he puts up with me.
I feel very responsible for my elderly mother. Every other family member has emigrated to far countries. She has no one apart from me and my kids.
She has a learning difficulty which doesn't stop her passive aggressive approach. She would struggle living elsewhere.
Sorry I didn't mean this to disintegrate into family issues- but hard to tease things apart when you work from home.
Honestly, just get a cleaner. Your mother will not move out.
Aside from that, can you take on someone in a temporary seasonal or zero hours contract? We use loads of causal labour in our business. It really suits some types of people - parents with small kids at school who need to do lick-ups etc. This person could do packing, admin for you etc. Stuff that just gets in the way.
We are naturally quite cautious people and have lots of children so have grown our business very slowly, person by person and have never taken on any debt. It's possible but your first step is getting a bloody cleaner!
When you work for yourself these issues are important.
Its not agressive in the slightest. Its your home. I rarely cook and certainly dont do dhs ironing. I know my mother (sevre mental health problems) feels the same as yours. I correct her everytime.
We have thr business, dh works full time at it. I decided to go back to my job and help out with the business on the side. I adore dh but hated working with him all the time. I love my job. My mum thinks its ridiculous that dh cooks dinner every night and always asks 'how is he coping havung to pick the kids up'. I usually respond with 'the same way i coped when i did it.'
I get it how you feel. The difference is that she doesnt live with us. If you are happy with the status quo. Thats fine. But you will resent her if you hold yourself back because of her.
You really need to her a cleaner . Not really for now but your sanity in the future if your Mum needs more help. Get her accepting of people coming in now. You've got the perfect 'excuse', not that you need one. No advice on the business but good luck, sounds as if it has big potential.
Gosh 3k a month profit is amazing. If your currently struggling with logistics I wouldn't want any more sales.
Can't you get someone part time to do some of this stuff?
With such a high profit a month you shouldn't be trying to use publicly funded advice. Contact a small / local buisness consultant for advice.
If you really can't consider help with the house then you could outsource everything possible in your business;
Admin - get a part time assistant to do bookkeeping, answer phone/emails, filing, organise orders, pack, order new supplies etc. Or if you don't want someone in the house then a virtual PA could do a lot of that over the net.
Accounts - get someone to do all your accounting and returns.
Leaves you free to make the product and keep an eye on service being up to scratch.
Or a cunning thought - could you hire a personal assistant, explain the situation and that they'll need to be a bit 'jack of all trades' and have them do some of the housework? Might not be so obvious to your mum then.
janice- what is your business? Do you work from home ?
I've not read the whole thread, but.... could you try to hire more of a cleaner-housekeeper who your mum might also get on with? Eg my cleaner is an older lady in her 50s and loves to chat....?
Cailleach, sorry to hear of your dilemma there, but definitely get some help. Mother does sound a bit difficult to be honest!
I have spent the last year growing my business in different ways. I can't sell more without employing someone or locating more time, so I have set about locating time. Anything that can save me hours. I have also looked at cutting costs such as getting a Royal Mail business account and finding cheaper supplierd. I've doubled my profits in a year by just being more savvy.
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