Sleepless nights, huge decisions, messes to clean up … and that's all before adding kids to your jam-packed life as a business owner. Taking time off may not seem feasible when you're running the show. These steps can help guide expectant and new parents who already have another "baby" to worry about—their business.
1. If possible, focus on your business before expanding your family
Getting your small business up and running is no easy feat. If you can, make sure your business is operating smoothly before bringing a baby into the mix. Knowing your business is stable will allow you to feel more comfortable taking some time off, and give you the peace of mind you need to jump back in when you're ready.
2. Determine if you should inform your clients
If your new arrival and new responsibilities could impact your ability to meet your clients' needs, be transparent from the very beginning. If and when you announce your news, do so with eagerness—for yourself and the business.
3. Be flexible and patient
It's hard to predict how you (or your partner) will respond to your new parenthood schedule until you're living it. Adjusting your workload schedule ahead of time will lead to a smoother adjustment down the road.
4. Create a business plan while you're preparing for your new arrival
Think of the time before your new arrival as another project and take advantage of that time to strategically figure out how to set up your plan. Think: Who on your team can take on tasks for you? How can you continue to run the business effectively with an infant at home?
5. Factor in finances
Figure out how you will financially support yourself and the business while you're on leave. No matter how much time you decide to take off from work, calculating the fixed costs needed to keep the business running smoothly will only help in the long run.
6. Recognize the "fourth trimester"
The first three months after having or adopting a baby is known as the "fourth trimester" … and it doesn't have a reputation of being easy. Most of your time and energy will likely be focused on your new bundle of joy during this period. Create a supportive framework at your business by setting up processes and prepping your staff before the baby arrives. That will better prepare you, your clients, your vendors and your employees now and in the future.
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