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Top Resources for Mompreneurs

Our expert reveals some of the sources she turns to when she needs help with her growing business.

I've been told that when it comes to reaching their goals, male entrepreneurs tend to create a course of action and figure it out on their own, whereas women entrepreneurs will seek out support and resources to accomplish their goal. That has definitely been the case for my own journey. Why should I re-invent the wheel if I don't have to? I'm continuously amazed at the number of valuable resources that are available to entrepreneurs and at how many are perfect for mompreneurs specifically. So in this article, I want to share a few of my favorites.

Websites
Let's face it: The web is the tool of choice for most entrepreneurs. It's quick, to the point and can help you track down information on just about any topic you need. But searching endlessly on the web is a time waster that most mompreneurs can't afford. Use these great resources to find what you need quickly:

SCORE
This nonprofit organization provides resources and expertise to entrepreneurs to help them maximize the success of their existing and emerging small businesses. It's staffed primarily by retired executives who offer counseling via e-mail and phone on a variety of different business topics. The web link I've provided will take you to SCORE's toolbox, which includes everything from business plan templates to information on website workshops. The best part is, it's all free. SCORE also has a section specifically for women entrepreneurs .

Make Mine a $Million Business
This program from Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence provides a combination of money, mentoring, marketing and technology tools that women entrepreneurs need to help grow their businesses from micro to millions. The program's goal is to help you turn your company into a million-dollar organization.

Mompreneurs Online
This is the original website on the mompreneurs phenomenom from Patricia Cobe and Ellen H. Parlapiano (they actually created the term "mompreneur"). Their site includes message boards, books, strategies and more for the serious mompreneur. It also has a section that includes information to help you spot home based business scams.

Home Based Working Mom
This site was created by Leslie Spencer Pyle. It's a professional association and online community of moms who work at home or would like to. There's a mom-owned business directory, business resources and a number of easy-to-use calculators that can help you figure out payments, income and savings.

Books
As a mompreneur myself, I know that finding time for leisurely reading is next to impossible. But you'll find some of the best information you need to run a thriving business in a book. Last year, I set a goal for myself to read one book each month--each month's book needs to be on a different topic. For instance, one month I'll read about finance, the next about marketing and so on. To help you get started and find the information you need, take a look at these great books for mompreneurs:

The Mom Inventors Handbook: How to Turn Your Great Idea Into the Next Big Thing by Tamara Monosoff offers practical, step-by- step advice for putting inspiration into action. This book takes inventors from idea development to marketing and sales, covering everything from market research and prototype development to manufacturing and licensing. It also debunks some common myths people have about inventing. It simplifies the inventing process and even provides stories from real mom inventors who share their "Aha" moments and lessons learned.

The Momstown Guide to Getting it All: A Life Makeover for Stay-at-Home Moms by Mary Goulet and Heather Reider was written by the hosts of the hit internet radio show, Moms Town. They offer insights, resources and motivation to help stay-at-home moms set and achieve their personal goals for a more satisfying life. Although more and more women are taking a break from their careers to devote time to being a mom, as some women are finding out, going from cleaning out the inbox to cleaning up the toy box can be a shocking transition. The Moms Town philosophy reminds moms that they can make their dreams come true without sacrificing family life in just ten weeks.

Trillion-Dollars Moms: Marketing to a New Generation of Mothers by Maria Bailey and Bonnie Ulman is a must-have book if your mompreneur business is also marketing to moms. This book examines how recent generational shifts have impacted the buying behaviors of today's mothers and moms-to-be. Learn how to tap the "mom market" through effective communication, life-stage-based marketing tactics and integrated strategies that will allow you to win the loyalty of mothers today.

Magazines
Admittedly, I can barely keep up with the pile of magazines that keep arriving in my mailbox. My goal is always to read through the current issue before the next one comes in. The easiest way to do that is to quickly tear out any helpful articles I find, read them over, put their advice into action, and then file them in my tickler files for later reference. To help you focus on what will be most helpful, take a look at the publications I've found to be particularly useful:

Moms Business Magazine
Published online from 2003 to 2004, the best of the articles and information published during that time is now available in four volumes from Amazon.You'll find step-by-step advice on how to start and build a business and a powerful brand, with articles that focus on branding, product development, marketing, media and more.

Working Mother
This is the only national publication whose focus is on helping working moms find the balance and joy in their lives. It addresses issues that are specific to this population--issues that aren't typically covered by traditional parenting or business magazines.

No matter what resources you use to start and grow your business, it's important to remember this: Just as your business changes, so will your need for resources. While some of the ones I've listed were more helpful when I was just starting out, others are helping me now to grow my business.

The good news is, there are resources out there for anyone. Because no matter what question you have or what challenge you face in business, someone else has been there before you asking the same questions. Their answers awaits you.

Lisa Druxman is Entrepreneur.com's "Mompreneur" columnist and the founder and CEO of fitness franchise Stroller Strides. Druxman is also a nationally recognized speaker and author, and is considered an expert in the field of fitness, particularly pre- and postnatal fitness. She hosts a free monthly webinar during which she answers questions from fellow mompreneurs. If you are interested in participating, contact her at lisa@strollerstrides.com.

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