Name of Business: The Baby Gurus
Your Name and Age: Sonya Murray (39)
Tell us about your family: Happily married to Ben (a surgeon), Children Jodie born 2000 (who swims for Warrenders Baths Club), Athol Born 2002 (Loves football) and wee Orin born 2004 (wants to win everything). Puppy (Max) is a black Labradoodle always up to a bit of trouble.
We live near Stirling in Scotland, a lovely part of the world with easy access to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I worked as a nurse for many years in Sunny Aberdeen. I then completed a midwifery qualification and soon after took a sisters post within a fertility department, a job I very much enjoyed. Through my husbands work we were relocated and I found myself in a position where I either found a job or I created one. When I was pregnant with my first baby I found that there were few private services for new or expectant parents. I decided that there was a market for private antenatal services….so I would set up a company which provided exactly that. To cut a long story I then qualified as a antenatal teacher and undertook a BA in midwifery (I have always wanted to write a book and noticed midwifery authors usually had a degree or two!). Just by chance I met Emma (the now co-owner of The Baby Gurus) and we clicked. Emma is from a corporate background as well as a antenatal teacher the formula was great so we decided to set up together.
We now offfer
- Management training – looking at supporting and retaining pregnant staff/new parents
- Pregnancy programme – a rolling program of support and advise for pregnant employees until they return to work
- Seminars – we provide forward thinking seminars for companies on topics such as fertility, emotional health, health and wellbeing, The work, life, and baby balance….these change all the time.
When did you launch?
We launched 2 years ago to the private market and this year we launched to the corporate market.
How did you get started?
We went to Business gateway and got onto their programmes. We did a lot of research then took the plunge and did a press launch at Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire.
What research did you do before launching?
We spent hours researching. We looked at branding (we loved the book Purple Cow), networking, business development and PR. We also looking at the baby market in some detail especially educational aspects.
How have you funded the business?
Personally….and we also taught locally to fund our set up costs.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
I have tried lots of things. We have made friends with lots of journalists and that has helped a lot. We also give expert comment which has seen us in Heat mag, The Herald and The Scotsman. I have also been on the radio a lot (which I don’t find that easy) but it does all create awareness. We now write for a few magazines and online resources…this has been both interesting and worthwhile. My best advice is look at what you can do for free before taking on anyone to help you especially with PR and marketing. I have found being in control of this aspect of our business has been beneficial, although we did use a PR company in the early days.
What has worked well about your business?
Honesty. I have been asked to make up stories or bend the truth. I also find we treat people as we expect to be treated so if we say we will do something – we do. We also always look at how we can provide the best service then we follow up to make sure we have satisfied clients….this has worked especially well as we have moved into the corporate market.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
We had a PR incident which I can’t go into. It was a disaster and was totally out of our hands. Again honesty paid a part and we came out of it as well as we could have.
How do you fit in work with the family?
I run a diary. I plan as much as I can and this helps. I think it also helps being organised and ahead of the game…food in the fridge, petrol in the car, plan dinners etc. We also work a very family friendly way…if the kids have something on like a show we make sure we can go. It has worked out very well so far.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Its not for the faint hearted especially during a recession. We have found that building relationships with potential clients takes time especially if your business is different. People need to trust you (if you are the person in front of them) and what you do. Some leads have taken 2 years….so dont give up.
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.
We look for people who are well trained (midwives and antenatal teachers) who are honest, hard working and above all on top of their game. The combination of skills means that when we are either with a private client or a corporate client our knowledge is as good as it can be. We always like to hear from people who have set up themselves and have something which they think will be useful to us. We support homeworkers and small business’s where we can.
Your website link: www.thebabygurus.co.uk
Twitter – Sonyababygurus
Discount for Family Friendly Working readers: We are running open courses for our management training. We will happily give a 10% discount off the cost of these courses.