www.careermums.com.au began from a desire to bring about social change and fill a gaping hole in the market. There is no revolution involved – it is a simple desire for the workplace to encourage and embrace the return of skills, experience, expertise, maturity and loyalty. Parents are one of many market segments who require flexibility, and our service provides them with tailored advice and jobs to assist them back in to the workplace.
Over 2.5 years, we have built a database of nearly 14,000 registered candidates and around 2,500 registered employers. Our testimonials highlight ongoing success stories in connecting parents to flexible employers. Other aspects of the business include advertising and HR consulting. Our two HR Toolkits to date include a ‘Working Parents Toolkit’, a ‘Flexible Work Proposal Toolkit’ and a ‘Parental Leave Program Toolkit’. Examples of businesses who have bought our Toolkits include State Trustees, Johnson & Johnson, One Steel, Goldman Sachs JB Were, Mallesons and Roads and Transport Authority.
www.careermums.com.au was launched in December 2006. CareerMums is still very much a young business so my top 10 tips for business success are more about important lessons I have learned so far.
1. Funding – Quite simply, you have to work out how you will fund your business idea. Do you have enough capital or do you need to borrow from the bank? Ideally, you will need to support yourself for up to 12 months while the business gets off the ground.
2. Research – Take time to research everything about the market you want to tap in to. The more you know, the more sound your business model will be.
3. Mentors – Identify a few successful small business owners you would like to learn from and see if they are prepared to give up 1-2 hours per fortnight to talk to you about your business and share their experiences.
4. Identifying skills shortfalls – What skills does your business idea require? Do a stock take on what you can and can’t do and start looking around for people who can fill in the gaps. For example, do you have a friend who is a lawyer? You made need legal advice.
5. Listen and learn – Stop talking and start listening to successful entrepreneurs. Moving from paid work to running your own business is a huge mind shift.
6. Cheap marketing options – Learn how to market your business on the cheap. Consider newsletters, press releases, networking and submitting articles. Depending on the market for your product or service, there will be free opportunities to take advantage of.
7. Passion – No need to explain......you must love what you do.
8. Network – Create a network of people who you can leverage from. Running your own business can be lonely so it is important to create a network of colleagues that you can tap into for advice, joint marketing opportunities and leads.
9. Documentation – Something I am yet to master! Make sure you document your processes and procedures early on. This is important for many reasons: you may take on staff, you may sell your business, or you may need this information to take out another bank loan to expand your business.
10. Feedback – ALWAYS listen to your customers. Surveys and feedback options on a website are great tools to gauge feedback and information that will help to improve your business.