Susan Port (58)Tell us about your family
I have three grown up sons and eight grandchildren – the youngest is 2 months old.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I worked as a manager at Royal Mail before having to retire on medical grounds.It was really difficult at first and I felt that my world had ended – the usually dolly out of the pram hissy fit. But I got over it as I had always dreamed of owning my own business and having to leave work seemed like an opportunity to good to waste. A bit like one door closing and another door opening.
When did you launch?
Babynobumps Ltd was created in July 2006 and registered at Companies House and was launched at the prestigious Earls Court Baby Show in London in the same year.
How did you get started?
Having never run a business before I had to start at the bottom and learn everything from accounting, marketing, sales etc. I made lots of mistakes – one being handing over £3000 for an article for a magazine that did not exist. But, it was a massive learning curve and it never happened again. I also learned to ask for advise. There is lots of free help available on the internet and it is surprising how many people are willing to give advise.
What research did you do before launching?
Having looked after my grandchildren regularly I was more acutely aware of them having accidents – especially to their heads, so I searched on-line for a product that would protect the vulnerable skulls. By shear luck I managed to come across a lady in Canada who was producing the very product that I had tried – and failed – to make. After much negotiation I managed to secure the distribution rights.
Also, during my research I discovered that over half a million children a year go to hospital as a result of an accident – that just inspired me to branch out and go for it.
How have you funded the business?
It was very difficult at the beginning as I live in an ‘affluent’ area which means that there are no grants or start-up loans available. Thankfully my parents believe in me and my product and were kind enough to lend me the money to start up.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
I advertise via the internet, and last year went to lots of fetes and events where a table usually costs between £40 -£60.
What has worked well about your business?
I have several regular customers and quite a few dropship customers as well as the sales through my website. I find that going to the fete’s and events in a good way to get noticed but the cost can mount up when you take into account the table, petrol etc
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
I have to say that my biggest challenge was getting the product known. As it is a new and unique product no one knew about it – and I did not have the same luxury as Thudguard – being on the apprentice. But we are slowly, but surely being recognised.
How do you fit in work with the family?
When my grandchildren come I stop work. That is the advantage of working from home as I have the best of both worlds. If I was still in paid employment I would not get to see them as often as I do and would miss out on so much.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Do your research on your market and if in doubt about anything – ask. I learnt this the hard way and parted with vast amounts of money and if I had my time again I would do things differently. We cannot turn the clock back so we learn from out mistakes.
My biggest achievement is being nominated as a shortlist finalist both in the Women on the Way Awards and Midland Business Awards.
I want to go on and make Babynobumps Ltd the 1st choice for all concerned parents when they are considering home safety products and give Babynobumps the recognition it so rightly deserves.
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more
Babynobumps is a home based business that can be run from home. You decide how you are going to market and sell the product. I will supply the product at the agreed price.