All the business blogs seem to be experts with information about what it takes to be a good entrepreneur (yawn). They list these traits that are.....well for the most part very vague and for MEN (excused me while I barf in my mouth a little). If you are female and IF you are a Mother and IF you are starting a small business....this is your list. I always like when arm chair quarterbacks list what traits YOU should have to succeed....walk a mile in my shoes Mr. Expert!
So, I decided to list MY of best traits (no, no not ME, what I would recommend are good traits...gosh I sounded so pompous!) for a successful Mom-preneur-ish type of lady, cause uh, well that is what I am:
This is critical, and I do not mean being able to make a lovely knitted-yarn cozy to cover your Kleenex box. You must be able to use your creativity to make sales, close the sale, if you can not pay a a lot, find other ways to "pay" your employees. We give employees a 50% discount on products and unlimited freedom to work when they need to work, just get the job done. No forms to fill out when asking for vacation - make it work. Being creative can come in many different forms - find what you are good at, and work it!
2. Follow Through Queen
Do you follow through on what you say you are going to do? Do you still have Christmas cards from 2001 on your desk? Are you able to continue to follow-up on sales leads, on bad partnerships from 5 years ago? I am! Some of the hardest calls I need to make are when I need to end a relationship or let a channel know that we will no longer be working with them. Or to continue to be a thorn (a friendly that is) in some company's side to remind them (friendly reminder) that they were going to purchase products. It is all in the delivery! But I do HAVE to do it. A fellow entrepreneur was telling me about this company that had just gotten into yet another bedding catalog - she said, "Not the most original product, but they follow up religiously". So keep following up - it's not the Early Bird that gets the worm.....it is the Persistent One.
3. Become Tenacious D
Are you tenacious? If I get put off, or blown off, I mark it in my calendar and approach them again. I spent years pursuing one of our largest accounts, and it took the right product the right time, the right email and bingo - best seller on their site, over and over! This site is so savvy, that they dump ( good technique) products that do not sell - my contact called earlier this year to say we had NO products to dump, we did TOO well on their site..... I continue to nurture my accounts - the squeaky wheel (the nice squeaky wheel, you do not want to be a pest) gets the attention. I also make it a point of keeping up on what is going on in my industry. If I am trying to get into a sales channel and they show up in an article in a trade magazine, I send a congratulations email to the owner. This has opened many doors for me.
4. Have Some Passion
Do you have a passion for what you do? After having my first child, I realized I would never care as much about work as I used to, it just did not matter to me. No fire drill that I was sent through would ever matter as much as my little boy did. And, if I was to leave him for a job - it better be a damn good one (case in point it was not, that is why I stayed home). The passion gets me up at 6:00 a.m., the passion sends me to the computer before I go to bed to check orders, the passion keeps me sane. That same passion keeps this blog going and keeps me chugging along.....my life has a purpose!
5. Be The Communicator
You need to be able to communicate what you need and when you need it. If you do not talk well, learn to write well. You need to be able to communicate to everyone. If you hate talking to people, then being an entrepreneur is not for you. Tell a good story, be able to weave a tale and explain yourself. If it takes you 25 minutes to explain what it is you do and what you sell, no one is going to be awake for that. You need to work it, and do it quickly! It is sink or swim, learn to talk well, write well - this helps with all aspects of being an Entrepreneur, and let's face it....your kids will love that Mommy knows how to spell Entrepreneur....
6. Information Guru
Sometimes I am privileged to meet other business owners, sometimes I meet other entrepreneurs that choose to put their head in the sand that DO not pay attention to what is going on in their given industry and I think how nice. How nice for you to ignore the rest of us - and good luck when your company goes belly up because you chose to not pay attention. This is really not the best strategy. You need to be aware, if for nothing else know who to get into bed with (not literally - come on people!) and who to NOT be in bed with, to know the upcoming trends. Information is good, it is not bad, it will NOT suck your creativity out of you, be aware, be smart - be a MAN! To quote my very precocious little 8 year old "Knowledge is Power!"
7. Be Competitive
Now I am NOT a competitive sports person type. I actually played sports for years - basically I did it because, the boys were playing, everyone else was, and I got to talk, meet and hang out with some pretty fun people. Now that was sports - fast forward to my business....I am fiercely competitive, I know who is doing what, I know where things are sold, I know who my competition is and will make sure and win every time. I know their weaknesses and I know what I can do and can't do. Come on people the early bird gets the worm......or the smart girl gets the sale!
Now come ON! Being a Mom you already are a multi-tasker. Who can change a diaper, make dinner, answer the phone, clean sink, run a load of wash, feed the dog AND write 14 thank you cards at once? Who? Who? A MOTHER-that is who! Multi-tasking comes much easier to women, especially Mothers! The ability to put out ten fires at work all at the same time, and be able to stay calm...only a mother. Trust me - if you can do these things at home you CAN do them at work! We do not get enough credit in my opinion - we are women, hear us roar! We can multi-task without scratching ourselves, or losing our concentration because some "buddy" sent us a video of Jessica Alba!
So, there it is - the very unprofessional, and totally honest 8 Traits of a successful Mompreneur! I am sure you all are patting yourselves on the back and saying to your significant other...."see...I told you so!" (I know I am)