According to the World Bank’s 2014 Doing Business report, Singapore and Hong Kong are two of the easiest places in the world for small-to-medium businesses to operate. This explains why the number of Mumpreneurs (i.e. a multi-tasking mother who can balance both the stresses of running a home-based business, and the time-consuming duties of motherhood at the same time) has been steadily increasing in recent years.
However before you start your own business, here’s a little checklist of things to consider:
1) Commitment of time, energy and finances.
Starting a mumpreneur business that allows you to work from home is much harder than many women realise. Any business (even an online, non-client facing blog shop) requires much time and effort (and often financial investment) in the beginning. The 24/7 round-the-clock commitments required for setting up and growing a business is something that many mothers with young children struggle with.
2) Everyone else in the family (and more) is behind you!
Yes — everyone from your spouse or partner, to your kids, your grandparents and your neighbours… they’re all behind you.
Running a business is an emotional journey for many. It can bring a great sense of achievement, but it comes with ups and downs. It’s hard to get a business going without the right support from those around you. Successful mumpreneurs often speak of having an amazing support system. Grandma and grandpa can help look after the kids when you need to run an event on a weekend. Friends or neighbours can act as a source of support and someone to bounce new ideas off.
And most importantly, spousal support is often cited as the most important pillar of strength for many mumpreneurs. (Emotionally: “Yes, dear. I believe you can make this business happen” to Physically: “No problems, darling – I will help mind the kids on the weekday evenings and weekends when you need to rush a client order” to Financially: “OK, sweetheart – Our family can depend on my individual income till your business breaks even” and Psychologically: “No, you are not going crazy. This business idea may work”)
3) The nuts and bolts of setting up
Although Singapore’s well-connected network of government organisations makes it easy to get information quickly, the process of setting up a business can be challenging in some cases. For Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, registering a business requires notifying ACRA and paying a registration fee. Thereafter, you will need to enquire if a license is required for the type of business you are starting. For non-Singaporeans, after registering your business with ACRA, it is a legal requirement to get permission from the Ministry of Manpower to operate the business. The Entrepass (which requires $50,000 paid up capital) is the most straightforward pass to apply for.
4) What type of business to set up?
In Singapore, you can choose to start a sole-proprietorship, a partnership or a private limited company. Depending on the type of business, there are different requirements for setting up and staying in business. The tax filing process for each also varies slightly. For more information, visit this website.
5) Define your target audience – know who you are selling to
Before you pay a web designer to start work on that amazing, futuristic-looking website you have in mind, take a step back and consider who you are selling to. Simply defining your target audience as “women” is insufficient.
A working mother of 2 kids in her 30’s, a 19-year-old teenage girl waiting to enter university and a 55-year-old female retiree eager to travel the world – all 3 examples are women. Yet they each have different needs and wants. They’ll also have different spending habits and will respond differently to various types of advertising.
Give some thought to who are you selling your product or service to, as this will set the direction for all your other business plans.
6) Your Unique-Selling-Point
Any good businessperson will tell you – you need to have a unique selling point! As a mumpreneur of a small business, you need this unique advantage even more, to help you compete with bigger competitors in the market. Observe your target audience and figure out what you can provide them with, something that no one else can. Can you do something faster? Better? Cheaper? More interestingly? More innovative?
How are you going to be so different that your target audience will come to you and not to other competitors (whether they’re your current or future competitors)?
7) Other essential business basics
Like any other business owner, a mumpreneur business will need to have a plan to address the following:
– Your web presence
– Your social media plan
– Your distribution strategy (Where to source your products? Where to sell them?)
– Your financial plan
– Licensing and other legal issues
– Hiring of staff or working with partners
– Starting a corporate bank account (and other accounting issues)
8) Always remember why you are doing this
Many women start a mumpreneur business because they want to create a project they can be proud of. Others start it, in the hopes of finding work-life balance. Yet other mothers choose the road of entrepreneurship because it is the best use of their skills and talents. Whatever your reason, remember why you are doing it. The path ahead may be tough, but if you have a clear goal in mind, it’s always going to get easier.
Mums@Work run frequent “Start a Business” workshops for Mumpreneurs. On 20 & 21 September 2014, they will be running their popular “Mama’s Bazaar & Family Fun Weekend”, this year in conjunction with their inaugural “Singapore Mumpreneur of the Year Award”.
Sher-li founded Mums@Work (Singapore) in 2010 because she is, quite simply, a mum at work. This social enterprise promotes work-family balance for mums by listing Flexible Work positions, running Career/Mumpreneur Workshops and organising career fairs and networking events. And of course, Sher-li loves mums! She also loves the employers who hire mums. A mother of 2 young children (a 5 year old chatterbox and a 19-month-old energizer bunny) Sher-li survives on little sleep, café lattes and the occasional vanilla cupcake. Her catch-phrase, “Flexiwork Mums and Mumpreneurs, it’s time to rule the world!” is pretty much how she sees life.
images sourced via shutterstock