November is Shop Small month and this year new research found 1 in 3 Australian small businesses fear insolvency in the near 3 to five years. The research also finds that family are the hidden backers of small business with many supporting financially or working countless hours unpaid.
Shop Small’s message to Australians is that if they value small businesses and want to see them thrive, they need to ‘walk the talk’ and support them. For more information, visit www.shopsmall.com.au.
Here Women Love Tech asked Andrea Christie David from Leor In Home Learning about her business.
The mother of three left her career as a lawyer to start Leor In Home Learning and to get off the ground in a competitive small business market, she asked family and close friends to invest – as it was a completely new concept. They were confident she would thrive. Now finally up and running, but not without struggle, her family and friends still support by helping her out and looking after her own children.
Andrea Christie David from Leor In Home Learning
Leor In Home Learning is a high quality early childhood education and care centre, in the family home, that allows families the comfort and convenience of having their children cared for in the family home. With an underlying passion for improving women’s rights and achieving equality, the Leor model seeks to engage early childhood educators who are looking for part time work arrangements to balance the demands of family and or life.
Andrea, How did your business get off the ground?
- My business grew from personal experience. Because I had three children under the age of three I had tried different types of childcare. I tried to bring the best aspects of all of them together into a home based childcare model. To get the business off the ground I prepared a detailed business plan, submitted it to my potential shareholders, and asked them to support it, which they did without hesitation because they were aware of the successes I had achieved in previous roles.
- What have been some of the most difficult things you have had to deal with?
- Where do I start!? Being an entrepreneur is challenging, you go through huge waves of different emotions and sometimes it can be very lonely. Everything from finding good staff to paying the bills can keep you up at night. However the biggest challenge I faced was getting that first full time employee. Initially I had huge challenges finding people who were of the calibre I wanted and were also willing to take a risk and move from a bricks and mortar childcare centre to an untested and innovative model of childcare.
- How did you get through them?
- I persevered with advertising for roles on different websites and eventually found a great team. I have set the standard pretty high in terms of who I employ, so even though I receive around five job applicants every week I am very selective about who can become a Leor Educator. Now I am having to turn fantastic people away because I can’t employ everyone I fall in love with!
- What are your proudest achievements in business?
- The proudest moment was being featured in Fairfax Media online and becoming the top story that day, to then being in print on page three of the Sydney Morning Herald the following day, especially as it included a photo of me holding my youngest daughter. I couldn’t believe that I had finally launched the business, let alone with such a bang!
- What technology do you use that has helped your business?
- I built the website myself and love the fact that I was able to use WordPress and lots of plugins to put it together myself. I also use a VOIP phone system. It allows me to field calls wherever I am, as well as engage others to answer calls wherever I am unavailable.
- What are your three favourite apps and why?
- I love Spotify because I love listening to music while I work and it’s fantastic to have access to such a wide range of music no matter where you are.
- I use Zoom for interviews and meetings. I have been using it for all my interviews as I conduct them by video conference to make it convenient for educators. It is high quality video and audio and much more reliable than Skype.
- I regularly use Google Analytics. The data it gives me about my website usage is fascinating and very useful for marketing purposes. The app is also straightforward and gives you simple, easily digestible information quickly and easily.
- Check out the website here.