When Doug Richard, former Dragon’s Den judge and founder of Schoolforstartups describes your business as “ an inspired idea which fills a much needed gap in the market and is one to watch throughout 2012 and beyond! ”, you know you’re on to something.
The business he is referring to is Beyond The School Run, a brand new website which is the brainchild of Louise Webster, a parent and PR professional, who had identified that there was an abundance of untapped skill and potential drifting away from the school gate every morning. The website, which features opportunities across the commercial and charitable sectors, is a destination for those parents looking for inspiration and a path back into the wider world following the all consuming early years of parenting.
We were delighted to be able to catch up with Louise recently and find out a bit more about this excellent new business.
Hi Louise, firstly, can you tell us a bit more about what Beyond The School Run is all about?
Beyondtheschoolrun.com (BTSR) is an online destination of inspiration for parents seeking to go ‘beyond’ being a parent, either making use of their existing skills or provoking them into taking a new direction, without compromising the time they choose to spend with their children.
And when and how did you first come up with the concept for this type of portal?
I took some time off to look after my children full time and at the point that I started about thinking of returning to work in some form, I started to identify with the challenges – lack of flexibility, cost of childcare, the list continues. It was at that point the idea started to emerge. I started dreaming up and developing the concept Summer 2011 and it launched March 2012.
Your own experience and awareness as a parent would , I imagine have helped with identifying this particular niche in the market. Did you do any other specific market research that convinced you that this was a viable concept?
It came very much from personal experience but also by speaking to other parents. My son had also just started school so all of a sudden I was exposed to parents at the school gates and it struck me what an unbelievable amount of talent there was that wasn’t being utilized. It just didn’t make sense especially as parents can bring a whole new level of wisdom and perspective to the workplace as well as a strong understanding of communities.
Of course, as with any community based platform, building the community itself can be a real challenge. What sorts of plans and ideas do you have in place to do just that?
My background is PR, I ran Rare Communications for 6 years which specialized in the kids and parenting sectors. Therefore a large focus will be on publicity, The Telegraph recently ran an article and the response was incredible. I am also working on suitable partnerships and collaborations with suitable brands. Word of mouth is also proving to be very effective as well as social media.
We appreciate that it is still early days and there are still some elements of the site being developed. Do you have any timescales with regards to these additional functions and when you hope they will be available for the BTSR community?
During these early stages I am focusing on content and building the commercial side of the business.
Moving forward, I have so many ideas and plans this really is just the start! My aim is for BTSR to become the main portal for all parents wishing to go beyond being a parent – starting with ideas to help them take their first steps to ones that might just uncover a new skill or talent, revenue stream or passion. Everyone is individual and at different stages so BTSR aims to provide a place for people to go at all stages of their journey. I can’t provide timescales quite at this point but I hope to soon.
Finally, could you share with us the best piece of business advice or “Wise Words” you’ve been given since you started out?
I don’t have any specific advice from anyone I know but I often refer back to Steve Jobs quote:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. And most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Inspirational words indeed there!
If you are looking to take your first steps towards rediscovering ‘you’; uncovering a new talent or skill; have a burning desire to climb the corporate ladder but within the hours that work for you or simply need the reassurance that you can take time out and there will be a place to go when you want to re-connect , then you should register now at www.beyondtheschoolrun.com ; connect with them on Facebook :beyondtheschoolrun.com or follow them on Twitter :@beyondtsr .