Two mompreneurs share their small business stories

Working from home has become a very attractive option to working moms who want to stay close to their families. These “mompreneurs” face the normal challenges of running a home-based small business, but have the kid factor to deal with as well. So how can a mompreneur juggle family and a successful small business?

Schellene Clendenin talked with two moms who run their own small businesses to get some tips for other entrepreneurs. Check out Mompreneurs: All Jugglers, Multitaskers and Communicators Welcome in GoForth Institute’s Entrepreneur Library!

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How to make a venture capital pitch

Making a venture capital – or “VC” – pitch presentation is good practice for any entrepreneur. But before you start, you need a good elevator pitch presentation.

What is an elevator pitch?

Basically, it’s a a well-rehearsed and super compelling statement about your company, what it does, and why it’s so great – in under one minute. Think about a scenario in which you’re in an elevator with a potential investor. A few seconds isn’t a lot of time to make a good impression and generate interest, so writing and rehearsing your elevator pitch is a great exercise. You just never know when you might use it. You should have at the ready anytime, anyplace anywhere.

Building your venture capital pitch

Now you’ll need to build an effective presentation to give to investors. If you’ve never done a presentation, or would rather do jump out of a plane than speak in front of an audience, now’s the time to develop this critical skill. If you’re like many entrepreneurs, you are the company, at least at start-up. You’re the face of the company, everywhere you go. Get comfortable with meeting new people and telling them about your new venture. Join a networking group or a local speakers’ bureau to get you “time on your feet.” From there, you’ll have the confidence to speak to a group of people who could potentially make or break your company with their investment. Don’t let nerves get in the way of your success.

Break a leg!

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How has your lifestyle changed since becoming an entrepreneur?

Starting your own business – diving into the world of entrepreneurship – is rarely an uneventful ride. No matter what kind of entrepreneurship journey you’re on, we bet your life just feels different than it did before. With that theory in mind, we polled some entrepreneurs on our Facebook and Twitter pages and asked them how their lifestyle has changed since becoming an entrepreneur. Here are some of their answers.

“I care more about absolutely everything. My family, business, fitness, social interactions, etc.” – OD

“I’ve understood the value in my own skills and dreams. I’m much more confident than I used to be.” – SM

“I’m more observant of the world around me. I enjoy meeting people more than I did when I was working for a paycheque, hearing their stories, learning from them; everything is just a little more meaningful than before. Of course, I’m also more grateful for what I have – the long hard days of start-up have made me appreciate time off and positive cash flow more than when I was working.” – LR

“My priorities have fallen into place – I now understand what it means to work hard and relax hard. After sometimes crazy days at work, the free time I have is spent doing only what I truly love, with my favourite people.” – MI

What about you? How has entrepreneurship changed you?

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White rabbits: target marketing

A while ago I was interviewed by Community Futures Centre West, one of our strategic partners, and was asked to share the best piece of business advice I’ve personally received. I’m fortunate to have a large network of supporters – all bearing excellent words of wisdom – to tap into, but here’s something that really stood out for me:

My own business advisor (and everyone should have an advisor, no matter how seasoned an entrepreneur they are) once told me the field is full of white rabbits. Pick the white rabbit you can catch and go after that one. In other words, there are opportunities and potential targets everywhere. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “Everyone will buy my product!” Focus, focus, focus.

Pick the one segment you can catch and forget all the other rabbits until you’ve got that initial target in the bag. Don’t waste your time and money chasing a field of customers, randomly and frantically. They’ll slip through your arms and you’ll end up with nothing.

Quite often new entrepreneurs tell me their target market is “anyone who’ll buy my product” or “anyone who’ll hire me!” Avoid the financial heartache this type of approach brings and instead, thoughtfully identify one specific rabbit to start with, then go after it. After the experience of capturing your first customer, it becomes easier and easier to attract more.

For further reading, check out a previous post titled What’s so important about your target market?

Happy rabbit hunting!

 

 

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What’s the secret for writing a business plan? There isn’t one

The secret to writing a good business plan is that there is no secret to writing a good business plan. Writing a solid, actionable business plan requires research, planning and execution just like any other small business undertaking.

Business plan = business model + business opportunity

Business plans begin with a business model, which are two very distinct things. A business plan is really just the written execution of a good business model. Find out why a business model is important here.

Of course, business models begin with an amazing business opportunity – which is different from an amazing business idea – don’t get this former professor started! Soon-to-be entrepreneurs find they have a lot to learn about opportunity identification, crafting a business model, writing a knock ’em out of the park business plan and then executing the plan – all while being flexible to respond to changing market dynamics.

Ninety percent of a business plan won’t help you

When I was developing the business concept for GoForth Institute – researching market size, polling small business owners, discovering its market potential – I got to the stage where I had proven the size of the business opportunity and the likely success of an online education program for entrepreneurs. So I stopped writing the business plan and just launched the company.

Typical entrepreneur. Because we had no written strategic marketing, financial, HR or operations plan, we experienced levels of stress that a completed business plan could have prevented. I did complete the business plan, but not until after we launched. Entrepreneurship is an ever-evolving beast, so being as prepared as humanly possible isn’t just a bonus – it’s a necessity.

Need more help? Get your free downloadable one-page business plan outline and a great business plan template on our website.

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