Kids Bee Happy – Finalist for ASB Young Business of the Year 2012

Association of Scottish Business Women – Young Business of the Year Award

Kids Bee Happy has been selected as a finalist for the Association of Scottish Business Women’s Young Business of the Year award.

“I have been involved with the Ayrshire branch of the ASB for several years now and it’s a fantastic organisation, and I am hugely proud to be selected as a finalist” said Sandra Patterson, director of Kids Bee Happy Ltd.  “In May I spoke at their World Women’s Day session to a large group of students and school leavers who were looking forward to careers in business and starting their own companies, and it was a thoroughly inspiring experience.  When I started work in the city at 22 years old, the “old-boys” network was still strong, and there was still a debate going on about whether or not women should be wearing trousers in the office.  Where now, less than two decades on, women now make up one of the fastest growing groups of entrepreneurs”

Kids Bee Happy is a business particularly well placed to talk about the move of women towards self employment.  It’s a company that provides magic sand painting entertainment and products to children, a fabulous concept that can be briefly described as colouring in with brightly coloured sand.    But not only is Kids Bee Happy a family friendly product it’s also a franchise and the majority of the franchises are female owned or run as a family enterprise.

The success of the Kids Bee Happy franchise shows that women really do make great business people.  But do labels such as “lipstick entrepreneur” or “mumpreneur” commonly applied to women starting their own businesses devalue the credibility that such business women have?  Sandra believes strongly no.

“There will always be challenges that are more specific to women than men who are starting a business, particularly if those women have families” says Sandra.  “However, for me it’s not about sticking a label on it, and claiming extra help, but instead about finding ways to work around and through those challenges to enable those businesses to succeed.  Many of our franchisees are mums with young children, so instead of ignoring that and pretending that it doesn’t impact the way that our franchisees are able to approach their business, we incorporate it into the ethos of everything that we do, so for example, if we’re arranging a conference call we’ll arrange it for a weekday evening, we have logo’d shirts in children’s sizes so that they can all get involved, and when we do festivals such as Cornbury then we take as many franchisees along as possible and organise family tickets so that everyone can enjoy it.”

“This is one of the advantages of being self employed.  As business owners we can flex the traditional approach to business to make it more family friendly, and if it helps the media to hang a label on it such as “mumpreneur” or even now “dadpreneur” then that’s fine by me.

Final judging for the ASB 2012 awards will take place at the end of July, and winners will be announced at the awards dinner at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, on 14th September.  More information about the awards can be seen here.

Childcare Chaos – What about the other 95 days a year??!!

As the UK media get stuck into the story of Childcare chaos caused by striking school teachers, one working father asks what makes today so different?

In the UK an average working parent gets 4 weeks holiday plus bank holidays.  An average state school is closed for 19 weeks of the year, when you take into account not only School Holidays, but also teacher training days, and random public holidays.  Even the youngest of school children can work out, there is a big difference between the four weeks that the parents are off work and able to look after their children and the 19 weeks that the children need caring for.

David Cameron appeals to employers to allow parents to take their children to work on strike day – but what about the other 95 days – can we take our children to work on those days too?  I suspect not.

“Everyday we speak to parents who are trying to find an alternative to what we refer to as the Childcare Blackhole – the situation where the second parent in the family works to pay for the childcare so that they can go to work.  It is not unusual to hear stories of up to 80% of the second income being spent solely on childcare”  says Alistair Patterson, director of children’s franchise company Kids Bee Happy.

“Too many families seem to be finding themselves in the situation that they are relentlessly working just to earn enough money to pay for the household bills.  Many parents want to be working and earning, however, there seems to be a massive imbalance where our society in general makes it almost impossible for a family to have two working parents and a decent family life.

“Family structure is very different now to how it was a couple of generations ago, very few people with primary and secondary school age children have grandparents, or aunts and uncles living nearby who are able to help with childcare.  Out of school care clubs are difficult to access, expensive, and some come with lists of conditions, rules and even fines that make your eyes water”

“It’s great to see the politicians standing up saying bring your children to work on strike days, however, I can’t help feeling that the UK would be a better stronger economy and society if the government thought more about helping parents balance work and family for the other 95 days a year that the schools are closed.”

How many hats??!!

This week has been an interesting week.

I mentally think of being a small business owner as wearing different hats, here’s a few that I’ve pulled out of the cupboard this week;

My Brown Manky Woolly Hat – this would be the accounting hat.  Despite training as a Chartered Accountant I have absolutely NO love of the boring drudgery involved with inputting receipts and payments into an accounting system.  The only joy that I can find from doing this is that I have a little bit of satisfaction at the end of the year knowing that it done.  But this week is the first week of the month, and If i’m good, and I do this now, I know that it will make things easier.

My Glamourous Stephen Jones Hat – We are doing some filming at the business startup show in London later this month, and so, I’ve had to do a bit of a rare and strange thing (for me) which is give 15 minutes thought to things like buying some new makeup and booking a haircut.  I currently have absolutely no idea of what I’ll say or do on film, but I do know that I will not condemn myself for the next couple of years to looking at filming of me with a haircut that Shaggy from Scooby Doo would be embarrassed of.

My Beanie  – well I don’t really have a beanie.  I do however have a teenage stepdaughter who has occupied several of my evenings this week on IM.  Always glad to talk, although it does tend to remind me that my beanie wearing days are long past.

My Witches Hat – well, it was Halloween, wasn’t it!  We had a great night, best bit was taking a bunch of giggling children on a walk up a spooky tree lined lane with no streetlights in the dark.  Although, my hubby might disagree, he might be tempted to say that I’ve been wearing that hat most of the working day whilst screaming at him all the things that need doing before deadlines. (I think that this week its probably been a very good thing that I no longer have to work in an office with other people 🙂 )

My Hardhat – The main battle this week has been with the deep deep frustration that everything I have done has taken three times longer than normal, and is 10 times as hard.  This all started late one night when I asked hubby to shut down the PC before bed, and unfortunately the Hard Drive blew.  The good news is that Lenovo provide excellent backup support, whisked it off, fixed it and returned it, but the downside was working off a netbook and gmail for a week.  I have developed this strange hunchback from sitting peering into a computer screen the size of a small paperback book, and I am completely unable to write an email now without swearing.  I am sure that there is now a very round shaped hole in the desk from where I kept banging my head against it.

But now it’s Friday, I can say with confidence that the only hat I’ll be wearing this weekend is my mummy hat, perhaps with a scarf and some wellie boots, because its family, fireworks and autumn outdoors for me this weekend.

Over 75% of mothers want to spend more time with their children

A survey today published by Netmums and ITV’s Daybreak shows that 76% of over 6000 mothers surveyed felt guilty that they didn’t spend enough time with their children.

This figure may seem high to some, but as a working mother who spends the majority of her day talking to other working mothers, I feel that this is a very good representation of the way that many mothers currently feel in the UK.

Somehow we have ended up living in a society where it is anticipated that women will return promptly back to work after having a baby, handing over their baby to a childminder, or nursery, to look after for most of their waking hours, and then to collect and take home in time to bath and put to bed.  In fact, all over the UK there are children currently having their tea at nurseries.  Many others have their breakfasts there.

When my hubby and I decided to start our family it involved not only the statutory house move, and car change, but also a career change for me.  I worked full time as a Chartered Accountant and I didn’t want to work full time with a young child.  So this was the point where I took the plunge into self employment.

And for the past 10 years (I can’t believe it’s been 10 years!) its been a three ringed circus act in our household, growing children and businesses simultaneously.  Both of them seeming to demand attention at the same time.  But I decided that if I was going to have Children then I wanted to bring them up myself, and I’m proud that through the chaos we seem to be doing a not bad job.

The one thing that I say to other mums is that this is one debate where there is no right answer.  There is no perfect remedy, or secret sauce.  As mothers we have so many different priorities to balance and juggle that Stay at home, work from home, part time, full time, are all the best alternative for different women and different families.  It’s just a simple case of finding something that works for you.

For me, I found that balance in self employment.  But I have to confess, I was still one of Netmums’ 76%.

 

Win a Family Friendly Franchise

Win a Free Franchise and Change your Family’s life for the better.

London Tuesday 25th October 2011;  Kids Bee Happy is giving away a free Franchise to people that want to start their own business and create a better life for them and their families.  In addition, the lucky applicant will receive accounting and business support from Cheap Accounting, and see their new business launched at the BStartup Show in Earls Court, London – the UK’s biggest Business Start-up show.  Making a total prize value of over £8,000.

Alistair Patterson, founder of Kids Bee Happy says “We know how hard it is for families at the moment, with unemployment figures the highest for decades and childcare costs as expensive as housing costs.  We see that is harder than ever for families to achieve a balance between earning the necessary money, work and a family life, and we know that our franchise offers many that opportunity.”

“However, not everyone has the money needed to purchase a franchise, particularly those people with families who are already finding money tight.  So, we’re going to give away a complete Kids Bee Happy Franchise package to someone that wants to earn extra income for their family and at the same time regain control of their work-life balance.”

Furthermore, to ensure that the winner is given the full support that they need to make their business successful, not only will they have the normal support and training from Kids Bee Happy that every franchisee receives, but in addition, they will receive free business and accountancy advice and support from award winning CheapAccounting.co.uk.

Elaine Clark, Managing Director of CheapAccounting.co.uk who was recently voted Woman In Finance by the Network of Aspiring Women says

“This is a great opportunity for someone to set up their own business but with the support from Kids Bee Happy and us as accountants.

“Times are tough and many are seeking second income to boast their household budgets or find themselves out of work due to redundancy.  A franchise is a terrific solution to this allowing a new business owner to navigate their way into the world of being their own boss with others who have already been there before.”

And to apply for the free franchise visit the Kids Bee Happy Franchise website or click here.

To find out more about the Kids Bee Happy franchise visit www.kidsbeehappy.com

Conditions of entry can be found on the www.kidsbeehappy.com website, and entries close on Wednesday 9th November.

About KidsBeeHappy
Kids Bee Happy provides childrens Sand Art entertainment at parties, workshops and events and offers the perfect work-life balance.  It is a franchise business that can be worked to fit in with your lifestyle, a business that the children can get involved in, a business that doesn’t really feel like work, and business that makes good profit margins.  Infact, it’s so family friendly that its founder, Alistair Patterson, was recently Highly Commended as a Dadpreneur in the MumpreneurUK 2011 Awards.

For more information visit www.kidsbeehappy.com or contact Alistair on 0800 033 7356

About CheapAccounting.co.uk
By delivering accountancy services via innovative online systems at a cost effective price, affordable by most small businesses, CheapAccounting.co.uk supports the growth of entrepreneurship.

Along with easy to understand, informative social media content CheapAccounting.co.uk takes a new and refreshing approach to the essential accounting required for start up and small businesses.

For more information visit www.cheapaccounting.co.uk

Or contact Elaine on 0844 884 2399 or email Elaine.Clark@CheapAccounting.co.uk

About the BStartup Show
As the industry-leader, Business Startup is a free exhibition for anyone thinking about starting a business or expanding a business. With over 140 seminars, over 200 exhibitors, advice, opportunities, and much more.  At Earls Court, London, 17th-18th November 2011