Monday, 21 June 2010


Pop a white board or list on your fridge and train the family to write down any food or drinks when they finish them. That way, when you're writing your shopping list, you've already got a head start and don't have to check through all the cupboards and fridge to see what's missing. The family could also write down anything they may particularly want that week - for their lunch boxes or treats.

Friday, 18 June 2010


I got my groceries delivered the other day. Nothing earth-shattering about that but what I experienced while I ordered my fruit and veg was.

So usually I am a Sainsburys or Tesco girl for the mix of price and service, and the loyalty cards. I love Waitrose but tend to think of them as a little expensive, however, the other day I got a voucher offering £15 off my first online order. I made sure to use it as the offer felt like a good sized amount and it meant the groceries wouldn't be anywhere near as expensive as what I felt they usually were.

Ordering was no different to the other supermarkets, however, delivery was where Ocado really came into their own. I got a free text reminding me of the impending delivery and any substitutions that had been made, the delivery docket also outlined the use by dates of all the products, all groceries were delivered in colour-coded bags for freezer, fridge and cupboard and the bags contained a sample of gourmet tea and a flyer documenting further services offered by Ocado. One of which I will take advantage of in the future.

I was left floored. Not only had Ocado got me to order from them when I was sure I never would, they impressed me so much with their service that I would go back again. And what had I learned?

1. That you need to understand what barriers there are to people not buying from you/using your service and develop offers that address this.
2. That you need to look at every point of contact with your clients and work out the best ways to impress at each stage.
3. That you need to engage in dialogue with my clients and see where you can improve.
4. That you need to look at your competitors and see what you can do better or differently.
5. That you can charge more for something, if you offer amazing service. Also, don't you think people talk more about the amazing service they got, as opposed to the cheap price?
6. That the little touches can make a huge difference!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Clearly, at the set-up stage of any business its vital, and likely to be a financial necessity, that you immerse yourself in all aspects of the running of your company, so that you develop an intimate understanding of how to create success both logistically and financially. Equally, we’ve learnt the importance of planning and being confident enough to be prepared for success, right from the word go.

In terms of practice, this means as well as focusing on the immediate objectives of engaging with customers and delivering income, that you try to allow yourself the time to look to the future. Doing so can help ensure that, early on, you have a clear vision of the systems and support required to enable the business to scale up.

Thinking and acting big, even when you’re just a start up will, hopefully, help avoid over-burdening yourself with time-consuming and ineffective working practices. It can ensure that you can keep pace with the requirements of a growing business and help you successfully navigate, work alongside and compete with bigger more established companies in your market sector.

Specifically, we’ve learnt (sometimes the hard way), that fundamentals such as relationships with suppliers and financial business partners, can mean the difference between success and failure. For example, many businesses fail not because their ideas are bad but because of a lack of cash flow forecasting and so it is key to get a good working relationship with your bank manager.

It’s also true what they say, great businesses are built on great people. For us, with growing success has come the realisation of the commercial and personal value of not continuing to be a jack of all trades. Learning to delegate to professionals with specific, relevant experience saves on time and, sometimes, un-necessary mistakes. This is perhaps particularly relevant for women like ourselves who juggle our business with hectic home-lives and bringing up young families.

Focus on the bits of the business that can’t do without you and for the rest, find the best people for the job and trust them get on with it. Whether that be a great accountant or book-keeper who’s an expert with tools such as quick-books and can help with budgeting and financial management, or marketing professionals who you can call on to provide resource as and when it’s required. If they’re good at their jobs you should reap the commercial rewards from the investment.

The Micro Scooter mums, Anna and Philippa, are speaking at the Businessmums' Networking Lunch, hosted by Mothers Life in conjunction with Motivating Mum on June 22 in Blackheath.

Monday, 14 June 2010


When you're playing hide and seek with your kids, you can tidy toys and fold and put away clothes while pretending to look for them! For example, tonight I was playing with my daughter and I saw a towel that needed to be put away so I folded it while looking about the house for her and popped it in the cupboard when I checked in there for her! Fulfilled my OCD and didn't leave me feeling guilty because I was playing with her at the same time!

Friday, 11 June 2010


I have been self-employed and running businesses for 11 years. That’s a little over a decade. And there’s a lot of learning that’s been crammed into that time!

So are there things I wish someone had told me when I was starting out? You bet! Here’s five of them.

1. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a Prince

I’m hoping with this as the first lesson, you’re still taking me seriously! What I mean by this is when you’re looking to partner with others to build your business, a number of these partnerships or relationships will fall by the wayside. The fit isn’t right, the other party doesn’t represent your brand in the way you wish, you’re not confident in their credentials – whatever the reason, don’t settle for anything less than the best – it’s your business that’s at stake!

2. Go with your gut

If a negotiation doesn’t feel right, finish it. It’s unlikely to get any better.

3. Follow the golden triangle

In keeping the business in balance, try to spend a third of your time on three things; business development, customer care, and admin.

4. Innovate, Innovate, Innovate

Strive to be first to market; whether that be with a new product or a new way to promote yourself/your service. Stand out from the crowd and take in as much as you can (by reading/watching/listening) as this helps creativity flow.

5. Be patient

Realising your vision may take a little longer than you thought but don’t ever let go of that vision. For me, patience is a virtue I’m still having to learn!

Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation, a business expert and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up’ and ‘Working 5 to 9’. She is sharing her tips and advice at the Mothers Life Businessmums' Networking Lunch in association with Motivating Mum.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


I was ill today. I had come down with that disease all mums suffer from on a regular basis; I'm-not-getting-enough-done-itis. You know that illness where you look about you and wonder what you've done with your day and kick yoursef that you still haven't gotten to the ironing, or the accounting, or the many millions of things that populate your to-do list on a regular basis. I was stressed thinking of how little I had done and how much I had to do.

And then it struck me, I was focussing on the negatives, when I should be taking note of all I had achieved. And so, for one day I decided I would do just that. And this is what I came up with:

Fed Freya for an hour at 7am
Went back to sleep (I have a lovely boyfriend)!
Got up at 9.45am
Put away dry dishes
Put away steriliser and sterilised bottles etc
Tidied lounge room
Made coffee and toast
Fed Freya for an hour at 10am
Had 15 minute phone call with Maria (@verybusymama) during feeding
Checked emails and replied to a couple
Started this blog
Put Freya's folded clothes away
Changed Freya's pooey nappy
Dressed Freya
Had a shower
Wrote more blog
Blow dried fringe and popped on a few creams
Put Amelie on the naughty step repeatedly for about 6 min
Had brief conversation with Shazia of Third Door (@thirddoor)
Tidied Amelie's room
Made egg and beans for Amelie and I
Fed Freya for 45 minutes, whilst watching The Biggest Loser
Tidied the lunch dishes and kitchen
Put Amelie on naughty step again
Checked Twitter
Got the three of us ready to head out
Drove 10 min to the Health Visitor
Had 10 min appointment for Freya
Drove 15 min to a friends house for play date and stayed just under 2 hours
Endured 15 minute tantrum in the car as my daughter didn't want to go home
Drove 15 minutes home
Put away dishes
Cooked dinner
Drove Amelie to her Dad's house to stay the night
Fed Freya for an hour as soon as I walked in the door and ate dinner at the same time
Played with Freya and changed her
Fed Freya for another hour while watching last few minutes of The Biggest Loser, Cougar Town and then Junior Apprentice
Did work, sent emails, tweet and finished this blog for two hours
Went to bed at 12am.

Are you exhausted too? Because I know I am, just reading through that list! But I'm so glad I made it because it helped me realise a few things:

1. I get a bloody lot done every day and there isn't really a second wasted. I couldn't be doing any more if I tried.
2. It makes me feel great concentrating on what I've achieved which is so much more preferable to stressed, because I have so much looming over me, or upset, because I feel I'm not getting enough done.
3. That it's easy to feel you're not getting anything done in a day when you don't take into account the little things like car journeys, making a bed and disciplining your children.
4. This is a great way to identify if there is any double handling of jobs or time wasting and actually do something about it!
5. That I breastfeed a hell of a long time in a day - but what you gonna do?!

So, now not only am I a mum, mumpreneur and girlfriend, I am now also a doctor as I just cured my own illness! Why not give it a try and see if it cures yours?

p.s. if any of you mums reading this are thinking, my god, look how much she gets done in her day (as all mums are predisposed to comparing themselves with others) I say to you:

1. This is exactly what I am talking about in my blog post and you need to try my exercise to see just how much you really do.
2. No two situations are the same, so there is no comparison. My daughters may have been better behaved/naughtier today, my boyfriend may work longer/shorter hours than your partner, I may do dishes slighty quicker/longer than you - so just don't go there!

Saturday, 5 June 2010


Now that I have added breast feeding, extra washing and a load of other tasks to my day that come hand in hand with a new baby I have found the my approach to work is very piece-meal; 5 min here, 2 min there. What can you do in such a short space of time to still move your business forward? Quite a lot it seems! Read on for my Top 10 tips for jobs you can do in a minute that will benefit your business:

1. Add ten receipts to your accounting spreadsheet.
2. Take a look at your competitors site and see what they're doing well and what you're doing better.
3. Call a client and ask them how you're doing and if they have any recommendations.
4. Read and make a comment on a blog that your target market would read.
5. Drop some flyers or cards into a coffee shop or business that attracts your target maket.
6. Register your details on a business directory like
7. Contact someone who works in a complementary industry to you and offer a service swap. This could lead to referrals between you.
8. Answer a question on a forum that highlights your expertise.
9. Offer a prize of your product or services on your blog, on someone else's blog or on Twitter.
10. File and organise your paperwork for one minute.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Just reading a fab book by a new Twitter friend, Danielle Raine called Housework Blues. Now I don't have any trouble with my housework but what I do have trouble with, from time to time, is allowing my situation to get me down. My situation being not being able to get back to Australia and feeling stuck in London.

I'm not the only one that suffers from this. I know of several mums who feel stuck, working at jobs they don't like as they can't leave, or at home as they can't afford childcare.

What to do in these seemingly hopeless situations? Obviously, I tried to change matters (on more than one occasion) but when it didn't work out it left me with nothing more than a reinforcement that I was well and truly stuck.

Today, Danielle's book provided me with a lightbulb moment! Where before I only thought there were two states, being stuck or getting out, there was a third. I could accept the situation. As Sun Tzu, the author of Art of War wrote 'Choose your battles wisely. Do not fight battles you cannot win.'

This is exactly what I had been doing. Going into battle in a situation I could not change and expending energy, creating anger when the outcome was already guaranteed. What I needed to do was accept where I was and let go of the associated feelings of depression and anger as they weren't getting me anywhere.

And how did I do this? Well, firstly, I plotted my journey to this point in an attempt at understanding how I got here in the first place. My destination wasn't an accident, I was responsible for the decisions that landed me here. I also outlined the benefits with being where I was and the the things I was learning during this experience, about myself and the world. Lastly, I identified where I wanted to go and what would need to happen for me to be able to get there. I also noted when this might happen to give myself something to look forward to.

Suddenly, I felt better and although I'm still not in Australia I know a lot more about myself and have an idea of when I might get there. I wonder what else I'll learn from a book about dealing with housework?!