Wednesday, August 31, 2011/
Noticing a gap in the market for a network of service-based businesses run by stay-at-home mothers, Danielle Price launched Clever Mamma in June.
The site allows businesses to list their industry, location and contact details and engage with other ventures.
Price spoke to StartupSmart about chasing the female business market.
What were you doing before launching Clever Mamma?
I’ve been running a small graphic design business from home for the last three years. I kept hitting a problem whenever I tried to find an accountant or web developer and realised there was a need for an online directory for businesses run by mums.
I’m looking to run the businesses side by side. I’ve already got 44 members signed up to Clever Mamma.
How does the site work?
It’s a business tool that provides a forum for mums to chat about what they need in their business. It allows people to connect with each other and has support features.
So, if you are looking for a particular service and want to use a business that understands you and your working patterns, you can use the site and find the right people.
What inspired the site?
If you are a mum working from home, you aren’t really doing nine to five hours and you have different circumstances to other businesses. You want someone in the same situation who understands the way you work.
I know from my own experience that the most successful outcomes are when you link up with someone who understands your business inside and out.
Also, businesses run by mums from home may not have a big budget and need to look for someone who won’t charge them the Earth and who is convenient for them.
If you’re working from home and have a child , you can’t trout off for an appointment just like that, or have a three-hour phone call. If you say that your baby is crying and that you need to go, you need someone who understands that.
How did you go about building the business?
Design-wise, I did it all myself, although a web developer helped with some elements. I got some business cards printed and I decided to go the PR option rather than advertise.
It’s probably cost me $2,000 so far. We will be keeping the listings on the site free until September. I want it to be affordable – if everyone can get one job out of it, it will be worth it. From September, a six-month membership will cost $80, or 12 months for $120.
Each business gets a profile on the site and there’s an ongoing PR effort to keep everyone happy that I am promoting their businesses and helping connect them with other women in business.
We have a Facebook page and a blog and we do case studies of each business to help facilitate those meet-ups.
How are you differentiating Clever Mamma from other similar services?
While a lot of other sites are product-based, I am focusing on business services.
If I’m looking for an accountant or consultant, I don’t want to see a list of businesses selling me beauty products. The service needs to be easily accessible, so that people can quickly get in touch with a service they need wherever they are in Australia.
There’s a good mix overall. We’ve got quite a few design agencies on there at the moment, so I’m looking to get more financial services. My social circle has passed on word, so hopefully we’ll get more businesses in the finance and legal areas.
How have you marketed the business?
Facebook is amazing. It doesn’t cost anything and I know that mums are on it a lot, so it’s a very effective marketing tool.
I’ve done a few ads on sites used by mums and joined a few forums to talk about the service. Word-of-mouth is one of the best things – everyone who knows something that worked well will pass it on. That’s how mums work.
What are your targets for the business?
As it hasn’t been a huge financial outlay so far, I want to put everything I make back into the business.
We are getting five or so members a week. I want more than 100 members by the end of the year and grow it from there.
How do you juggle your time?
My graphic design business is funding this and at the moment I’m spending about an equal amount of time on both. But the software for Clever Mamma is automated, so it won’t be a huge time upkeep in the future.
Long-term, it would be good to partner with a company that has a network of events. I want to focus on the directory, so that would work well with a suitable business.
I don’t know about selling it in the future. It’s my baby, so I want to make sure it works effectively first.