Suzanne Browne, co-founder of Irish baby products company, Clevamama,™ shares her experience as a mompreneur and tips for those interested in starting their own business.
I never really set out to be an entrepreneur. Instead I set out to be successful. Success to me means understanding the value of things, not the price. The value of hard work, honesty, trustworthiness, courageousness, belief and boldness is priceless. So whether you are a stay at home mom or a business tycoon, you will only be a success if you work damn hard at it.
My top 5 tips for success are:
- You need a good idea and a reason for that good idea. When you have your idea you need to turn it into a plan. This plan will be the measure of your success and will become instrumental to your success. If you fail to prepare you should also prepare to fail.
- Your need to constantly remind yourself that Cash Is King. Your idea needs to make you money, so be sure you have all of your sums in order. Be prepared for a lot of voluntary work in the beginning and be prepared to work day and night for a long time.
- You need people and structure. No one ever succeeds by themselves and no one knows everything. (Unless you are like my kids now aged 7 & 9 they know it ALL illegally!!). You will need help, so make sure you surround yourself with people better than you. You will need to be able to ask, listen and hear. Also remember your suppliers are just as important as your customers so take care of them too.
- You need to understand your route to market. This is one area that people assume will create itself. No matter how good your idea, product or service is, if you don’t have a route to market, you don’t have a business.
- Remember success is not a race, it’s a journey … so take the wheel and drive, drive, drive.
Clevamama’s Journey: As a parent, I have often joked that Clevamama is like having another baby in my life. Looking at the obstacles I have had to overcome the resemblance is somewhat remarkable.
- Restless nights – What new company or new parent does not have these? When I initially set up Clevamama with my sister, Martina, we already had three babies under the age of two years so we were used to restless nights of a different kind. However I think a restless night is a restless night no matter what the cause.
- Teething trouble – Unlike when babies are teething we did not have any “special cream” to rub on gums. We made some wrong decisions and learned from them. These mistakes helped build the solid foundations we work off today.
- Nurture – Watching Clevamama’s growth has given us a company that we are extremely proud of.
- Creeping & Crawling – Through pure grit and determination, we have negotiated contracts with suppliers, shaped policies and can influence decision-making to ensure we always get the best deal possible every time.
- Running – As the saying goes Clevamama is now running with the big boys. No longer can we pretend to be in the baby class, this business is no playground. Cuddles have no place here, it’s more a case of being the leader of the pack.
- Siblings – Ah well now that would be telling!!!!