It’s officially that time of the year: Back to school for the kids and back to business for the entrepreneurs! While entrepreneurs are technically in business 365 days a year, the fall months bring along a renewed focus on balancing parenthood and school with work as well as determining what’s next to come for your small business.
If you’re a newbie to being a mompreneur or already fairly established in this role, here’s what you need to add to your back to business checklist to get into the groove refreshed and ready to go.
1. Prioritize your next steps.
Consider where your business is right now and its ongoing goals.
- Are you in a place where you are ready to raise capital?
- Hire an employee or intern?
- Create a new product or line of services?
- Establish a strong social media presence?
Determine what you need to do and prioritize the next steps by outlining how you will get there. If need be, check in with your business plan for a timeline refresher of where your business is now and what the projections look like for where you need to be.
2. Be strategic about how you plan on expanding your business.
Expanding your business is about more than expanding in a physical, storefront sense. It’s also an expansion of offerings, customer markets, geographic areas, and partnerships — all while keeping in mind the economic climate and your expenses. Focus on what worked and what didn’t from your prior year in business to figure out how you plan to expand.
Maybe you created a new service that wasn’t well-received with customers and aren’t sure offering more of the same services is a good idea. Take some time to get feedback from your existing customer base by conducting surveys and doing market research that gives you a better glimpse at what they need or would like to see you launch in the future.
3. Stay organized with a good schedule.
If you’re balancing parenthood with work, make sure you stick to a schedule! Block off activities for the kids, like after school sports practices and parent-teacher meetings, while also blocking off business events like conference calls in order to establish a routine. This will help you to best utilize time spent with your business and children and provide the groundwork for knowing what’s to come each day.
Outside of a physical calendar, you can also schedule everything with the help of apps! Plan with Google Calendar, Evernote (to recall all of the miscellaneous thoughts and details you have throughout the day), Dropbox (to easily transfer files and documents on the go), and a new personal favorite, Remember the Milk which keeps you in the loop with everything on your to-do list.
4. Work while your kids do homework.
This last one will sound like a no-brainer, but as the kids focus on their homework join them with your own small business workload. If you’d rather not work, make sure you’re on hand to answer any questions they might have or use the time to plan for the week ahead in other ways like doing meal prep for the family.
Finally, while this isn’t a “must” for your checklist, make sure that everyone in your family, as well as you, embraces a “work hard, play hard” mindset. All work and no play leads to a lot of grumpy family members burning out much too quickly. Take the time to celebrate hard-earned victories and accomplishments and leave some room open on the calendar for everyone to do nothing but enjoy the day!
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Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.