By Manyara Chigunduru, Managing Partner of Marianhill Chartered Accountants
The idea of being an entrepreneur and a mom at the same time may cause goose bumps in some women, let alone if the business is a start-up or is having some bumpy and rough times in its growth phase. To many women such businesses do not need additional disturbances from family members, be it a husband, children or even relatives, but would rather attend to all business issues 24/7 and 365 days a year without a break.
Moms should not shy away from being entrepreneurs and neither should women avoid being moms because of entrepreneurial commitments. My entrepreneurial journey taught me to be a happy and stress free mompreneur, who could be there for the business, my kids and my husband. Married with five kids, having two professional firms to run and an events company to administer, may appear to be a big hassle in one person’s life. But through good prioritisation of my commitments, as well as having the right people to support me who understood my long term vision of all my business ventures, and the desire to be there for my family, made it all easier to handle the demands. As a mompreneur, it did not mean that I had to go through hell to enjoy being a business woman and being a mother, but what it meant to me was just that I was simply on demand and I needed to make sure I was available for all my stakeholders. But as mompreneurs, how do we manage to enjoy both sides of the coin given the demands that come with running a business as well as demands from our families?
Understanding the needs of your stakeholders
Knowing your responsibilities towards your business and family is the first step in fulfilling the needs of your stakeholders. As a mother, you need to appreciate that your children need you, no matter how busy or tired you can be. You are the only mother they have in this whole world thus you need to pay attention to them.
Because you are the visionary of your business, you need to appreciate that the people that you work with need your guidance, and to some extent, you need to hand hold them in performing certain tasks, so that they are done according to your expectations. All the way through, your input in both strategic and operational issues is imperative, as you will be the captain of your ship as you sail towards a specified destination.
Prioritise your commitments
With both family and business looking up to you, appreciate the need to prioritise your commitments so that each stakeholder gets the time they need with you. Family time should not be overtaken by business issues. Separating the two allows you to have a more mental and emotional presence during each phase. If you are at home, take time to be with your family, listen to them and have fun with them. If you are at work, give it all that you have and make sure you accomplish that which you would have set yourself to achieve. Try as much as possible to switch off your laptop and phone (off your WhatsApp or Facebook) so that you are able to pay attention to your family chats.
Get the necessary help from trusted people
When we start a business, our vision is to grow it; and this growth comes through increased cash flows as well as human resources. Find some people whom you can work with, or groom people who are able to carry out your duties in your absence. Getting trusted people to see to it that your business stays afloat and that your customers are served, is the best way to create time for your family. You should be able to even take some time off your work so that you are able to be with your children.
On the other hand, your husband or other family members can help you with the kids when you need to attend to business needs which you can’t delegate to your work associates. Having someone to help you with domestic work is another way you can use to free more time to attend to your business.
As a mompreneur, you cannot be glued to your office chair from 8am until 5pm, seven days a week; you may need to consider flexitime, where you determine how you utilise your time; whether you are at the office or at home. You can have a day when you work from your home office and occasionally you have time to interact and play with your kids; or you can be at the office from morning until lunchtime and the rest of the day work from your home office. I believe that what is important is to make sure that you have delivered your customers’ needs on time. Take advantage of technology, delegate and remember that sometimes you don’t need to be at the office to have a sale done. Last but not least, make sure you attend all your client meetings in person and delegate other duties; clients need to see the face of the company they are dealing with and that is YOU.
Manyara Chigunduru is the Founder and Managing Partner of Marianhill Capital (Pvt) Ltd & Marianhill Chartered Accountants in Zimbabwe, offering financial advisory services, corporate finance, entrepreneurship development, and project finance to companies and individuals. Manyara, who is a Chartered Accountant (Zimbabwe) and a Registered Public Auditor has over 15 years’ experience in financial management, accounting, auditing and taxation. For views and comments send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.marianhillca.com
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