Running a small business and raising a family are two of the hardest endeavors anyone can take on in a single lifetime.
Both require an exorbitant amount of time and constant nurture to grow. Both are concepts you can study before you dive in, but in both ventures, you learn most of it in the trenches.
As a small business owner, you can find support everywhere (regardless of the stage of your business – startup, scaling, etc) – city programs, public and private universities, non-profits, incubators, co-working spaces, accelerators, the federal government and even private corporations like Google.
As a parent, you’re responsible to keep another human-being alive, requiring vigilance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s really hard. But again, from the moment you decide to start trying (or stop preventing), you can find flyers, non-profits, blogs, magazines, Facebook pages, meetup groups, and counselors to support you.
As a society, we value each of these endeavors as important to our economy, to our communities, and to future generations and put tremendous effort into supporting those who dare to try either one. But most support programs address only one identity. Either you’re an entrepreneur who needs support running your business, or you’re a parent who needs support raising your child(ren).
“I sought out programs, groups, and companies for support but didn’t find any that met my needs as a new parent. I had a baby, who still needed my attention at home and a business. To grow, they both needed me.” ~ Amber Anderson, CEO Kayson
Today’s Small-Business Programs Miss 2 in 3 Entrepreneurs
Traditional programs tend to be:
- Time intensive. Most programs (i.e. startup week/weekends, accelerator events, university courses, etc.) requiring a significant time commitment, assuming that you a) have time to spare and b) can be 100% focused on your business at all times. Attending these events is impossible for parents who work in their businesses and care for their children.
- Require you to be in a physical space. Most programs are in downtown areas or require you to go to a physical space, posing big challenges for parents who reside in the suburbs.
- Unaffordable. If they don’t require a sizeable financial commitment, programs usually require time or a stake in your business. This is unrealistic for many and unnecessary for some.
- Culturally, socially and/or emotionally a poor fit. Every entrepreneur’s reality is different. Race, location, and gender all play a part in the way they see things and the obstacles they face. Most programs are either segregated (for women, African-Americans, LGBT, etc), or they are run by white men. This makes finding a program that accommodates multiple affinities nearly impossible.
According to a Kauffman Foundation report on the Anatomy of an Entrepreneur, 59.7% of the entrepreneurs surveyed indicated they had at least one child when they started their business and 43.5 percent of those with children noted they had two or more children. More than half of these entrepreneurs has come to a crossroads where they feel forced to choose between parenthood and their businesses.
“With 92% small business failure rate, it is VITAL that you trust good sound counsel from those who have a proven track record.” ~ Cherie Mathews, CEO, Healincomfort - Mastectomy Clothing
At this crossroads, a breakdown in support for entrepreneurs occurs for:
- Women, who despite all of the glass-ceiling-shattering progress of the past generation, continue to report bearing a heavier burden in balancing work and family, still tend to drop out of the race the fastest. As the primary caregiver, when forced to choose between business and their families, the majority of women choose their families.
- Minority groups, especially African American women (who are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country right now), who fail at higher rates than their counterparts, usually due to a lack of support in multiple areas (funding, cultural, gender, etc.).
- Millennials, both men and women, who are prioritizing time with families over their careers and thus find entrepreneurship and existing support programs unattractive.
Those daring enough to parent and run a business at the same time – nearly 2/3 of all business owners – find traditional business programs to be outdated, exclusive, and inaccessible. And these are the groups who need them the most; parents, women, and minorities.
Filling the Support Gap
MORE by Kayson is a strategic initiative designed specifically to bring more awareness, support and resources to small business owners who are also parents (also referred to as “parent-preneurs”).
The MORE Initiative says that each of us is a whole person, with a family and personal life, and we need strategies that work with this reality rather than ignoring or against it. Amber Anderson launched the MORE Initiative to give parentpreneurs MORE of what they need to be successful—more time, more support, and more resources.
“I created MORE to give parentpreneurs an opportunity to stay in the race,” said Amber Anderson, founder of Kayson, a strategy company that specializes in helping businesses connect the dots so they can stay in business longer.
“We’re providing (or partnering with other organizations who offer) services, programs, events and resources designed to provide high-caliber entrepreneurs with the support they need to do MORE - more for their families, more for their businesses and more for their communities.” ~ Amber Anderson, CEO Kayson
MORE’s first event is MORE: the retreat, a 3-day, 2-night business retreat where participants can connect, relax, and grow personally and professionally alongside their family.
This event is designed to enable parent-preneurs to step away from the relentless demands of work to better themselves – professionally or personally or both – without sacrificing family time. Guests will leave MORE equipped to do more for their family, more for their business and more for their community.
The event takes place at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain on July 22-24, 2016. Space is limited.