Here, Elsa Caleb, a Business Advisor at the Start Up Loans Company shares her top tips when starting a business on maternity leave.
Before setting up a business whilst on maternity leave check your maternity policy and contract with regards to statutory maternity terms and pay.
While on maternity leave you will have time to think and plan concerning work, planning your child’s future and the best use of your time. So, while you are not at work consider doing all the ‘desk research’. Take advantage of your social networks and gain people’s opinion on various areas to see whether you have a market for your products or services. Use the internet to have conversations via webcam.
Consider setting up a business that allows you to have the freedom to be involved in your children’s activities. Try to make it flexible enough so that you don’t have to pay childcare fees. Think of something that involves children, for example, children’s clothes, food, writing, children’s games, nursery, or schools.
Make sure you sign up to on-line courses and catch up on all the relevant reading before starting to develop your business idea.
Look for a local group to develop a strong network of mothers who are considering starting up a business whilst on maternity leave, as the businesses that you decide on could complement each other.
Don’t lose your regular network of business friends, as everyone will become valuable when you start to develop and run your business.
Know your worth. Keep up with all the changes with your industry and area of business, just because you are not going to the office doesn’t mean that you offer your products or services for the business any cheaper than anyone else.
Count the costs. Don’t forget your regular income will be reduced, so ensure that when you are ready to start you are not undercapitalised while setting up your business. It’s vital to have a clear Personal Survival Budget in place. By completing the cash-flow forecast in advance this would help you to plan everything.
There are many places and websites out there that offer help when writing a cash-flow forecast, business plan or personal survival budget. The Start Up Loans Company offers free templates that will help you with your business planning.