Life as a small business owner can sometimes be stressful. Running a business can be challenging, sometimes disappointing and frustrating. But it can also be exciting and a source of great satisfaction – and income. Although there’s no “one size fits all” recipe for small business success, we share many common challenges and strategies. And what better way to learn than from others who’ve been in business like ourselves?

This consideration prompted me to give my clients this opportunity to introduce yourselves and their businesses and to share some precious insights from their experience and expertise.

I’m opening this series of interviews with Sobitha Ravichandran, who runs Parenthood.Guide and recently launched Mother Woman Planner™.

How would you explain your business to someone who has no knowledge of it?

Parenthood.Guide has been created to share my thoughts with you on the wonderful experience of being a parent. It’s the place I bring you honest baby product reviews and parenting tips and talk about the best organic & non-toxic baby products to help you make better buying choices as a parent.

How long have you been in this business? And in other businesses?

4 years

Why did you choose it?

Parenthood Guide Sobitha Ravichandran 2

As a young mum living in London, I have been extensively researching safe and non-toxic products for my little rock star. Soon I came across the fact that there are toxins and chemicals in so many baby products out there. So began my adventure into a world of safe and non-toxic baby products that aren’t harmful to my child’s well being. Once I had all this information that I spent hours compiling on every occasion, I wondered if other parents had the same experience, and went through the same conundrums. So I created where I take you along with me on this non-toxic journey of parenthood and on my hunt for the best and safest baby products out there.

How did you get started?

Initially, when my little bundle of joy actually arrived, I was far from prepared and didn’t know the first thing about caring for a newborn. None of my friends had children yet, and I hadn’t carried a child in a decade. So I turned to my faithful mentor – Google, for all the advice I could find. I scoured the web for the best and safest products out there. The researcher in me went deeper than the top search results, and soon I was buried under scores of web pages, product links and comparison charts.
Launched in 2015 as a virtual friend and guide to new parents out there requiring product advice, Parenthood.Guide is a quickly growing treasure-trove of information regarding the best baby and non-toxic products to keep your home and baby safe and happy.

How do you attract your clients?

I breed a positive, fun mentality because I believe that parenting doesn’t have to be stressful at all. If we’re being honest, I also believe that gooey brownies and baby cuddles can cure even the worst of days.

The gist is this: if you’ve got something urgent and important to buy that is also safe for your child, but can’t spend hours reading every user review online or asking co-parents for advice at every stage, takes care of all that legwork, and brings you curated results and products tailored to your needs.

Can you describe your customers?

New parents, couples expecting a baby, and friends and relatives of new parents. Every parent who wants to choose products that are safe for their child and care for their well being. Which is basically every parent.

Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years?

We have hopes and dreams, and the courage to see it through.

Mother-Woman-PlannerWe want to become the go-to place and absolute authority for non-toxic and safe baby products. Also, we have recently launched our very own Mother Woman Planner™, which is a practical guide for busy moms, to help take the stress out of everyday parenting and give you more time to cherish those memories. We hope to make this big and with some feedback from parents steer our way into this roller coaster ride of parenting together.

Which things make you happy as a small business owner?

I love it when I get an email from one of our readers saying how much they enjoyed the article or that it was useful to them in making their choice. I feel then that the value of the effort put in completely worthwhile. And of course, as mentioned earlier, chocolate brownies and baby kisses don’t do much harm either.

Which is your best-selling product or service and why do you think your clients love it so much?

Well, our first and most recent product Mother Woman Planner™, which is a practical guide for busy moms has been selling much faster than we predicted and is currently back-dated for a month.

Up until now, I have been doing mainly product reviews of non-toxic and chemical free baby products. I began writing about cribs, as this was one of the first things I struggled with as a new parent, and my article on the ‘Best Co-Sleepers: Cribs attached to Bed‘ is still my most popular article on the website.

Why do your customers select you over your competitors?

I have a specific focus on organic and non-toxic baby products, and I always put my heart and soul into creating content that is actually useful to my readers. I think it also helps that I am a parent myself, of two beautiful girls, and I have been going through each of these hurdles and can guide parents through the paths that I stumbled across.

Customer Retention: how do you keep your customers happy?

I aim to post honest and engaging content on a regular basis. I believe consistency is key for customer retention, and to also keep the spark alive in me as a blogger.

Which challenges did and do you face, running your business?

I’m not an internet marketing pro, and so it was a challenge penetrating this highly competitive market of online parenting websites and blogs. Initially, my dear friend Arjun, who is an absolute gem, introduced me to this whole new world four years ago, when I was just getting started.

Right now, I am completely indebted to Pink SEO who do a fantastic job in keeping my website up to speed and making sure I am well on top of things.

Is there any business lesson you learnt through experience that you wish you knew about earlier in life?

Well, as briefly mentioned before, I learnt that consistency is key.

And as long as you love what you’re doing, you do it with all your passion and vigour, and this clearly comes across in your product.

There were days initially when I dabbled at things that did not interest me but were stated as the right things to do to grow your business. I never really ended up following through on these, and eventually learned that I was actually better off focusing on what I love. Wish I had learnt this slightly earlier, but better late than never, right?

How do you maintain a good work-life balance?

I recently read an article about the downside of work-life balance. Of course, I believe that you need a balance so that you don’t burn out on either side, but I also believe that the magic happens at the edge. The fine line where you’re about to tip over. The tipping point as Malcolm Gladwell puts it.

It helps to be able to manage and juggle multiple things, and I even feel like I perform better as a mother, a professional, or as a friend, the busier I am.

Which is your best strategy for time management?

My life would be absolute chaos, were it not for my faithful old planner. I juggle school runs, with working as an architect, blogging, PhD researcher, small business owner, cooking for my family and maintaining a social life. All of this with the memory of a goldfish. This is why I recently launched Mother Woman Planner™  to help other busy mums like me overcome the overwhelming chaos of everyday tasks and create the life that we choose.

Thank you so much,  Shobi!

And see you all next Thursday for another Small Business Interview!