Michelle Mone shares her thoughts on juggling motherhood with work

One of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs Michelle Mone OBE, reveals her thoughts of the franchise industry and her top tips for women who are considering starting their own business

What is your view/opinion of the franchise industry?

Franchising is a fantastic way to take the your first steps into running your own business. Usually the franchise brand you join will be able to assist you on funding and business strategies, which makes it great for those new to business.

What traits do you believe make women successful business people?

I think regardless of whether you are male or female if you are determined, organised and ambitious you can achieve. Women are often claimed to be better multi-taskers, which could give them the advantage but I think it’s more about how you go about achieving.

A business mentor is invaluable when it comes to bouncing ideas around. Being an entrepreneur and a CEO can be the loneliest job on the planet because everyone thinks you know everything. It can be more difficult for a woman in business – compared with men – who can discuss business over a game of golf, for instance.

What advice would you give to women who are looking to obtain a good work/life balance?

It’s all in the planning. My moto is fail to plan, plan to fail. You need to ensure the when you’re at work you are 100 per cent focused on just that, so that when you’re not working you can spend quality time with your family. You can be a mother and have a successful career – it's all about getting the work/life balance right.

Remember it's not how hard or how many hours you work, it's about how smart you work and what you achieve in a day.

You should look forward to going back to work and it shouldn't be something you dread. Of course you will miss your baby but it's great to have a balance, which allows you to have the best of both worlds and remember your baby will love its time in nursery and having different people around him/her.

Do you have any advice for mothers in particular who want to return to work?

Before you go back to work have an open discussion with your boss so they are not left in the dark. This is also your opportunity to find out what's been happening in the company during your maternity leave. Take your baby in and show him/her off to your colleagues and boss. Flexible working hours can be applied to allow you to go back to work part-time.

What would you say are the advantages of working for yourself – as a businesswoman and mother?

Working for yourself is challenging – you rarely go on holiday and don’t think about your business or really stop working entirely. However, being the boss does have its advantages when trying to juggle family/work life as you pick your own hours. You would never cheat yourself, if you’re not putting the effort in its your business that suffers.