Posted: Tue 4th Oct 2016
Ahead of her participation in Festival of Female Entrepreneurs in Bristol on 21 October, Mel Bound, founder of This Mum Runs , discusses her business.
Mel Bound is part of the 'peak performance' panel at Festival of Female Entrepreneurs which features entrepreneurs who believe you have to be well to do well and have built a business around it. Book your ticket for the eight hour festival in Bristol on 21 October here.
Describe your business.
This Mum Runs is a fast growing women's running brand with a strong social purpose and robust commercial vision and our aim is to inspire Mums everywhere to get their trainers on by providing a genuine alternative to traditional running clubs and gyms.
This Mum Runs is a brand with global ambitions in an industry that is booming. In a short time, we've developed a winning business model, grown an army of thousands of customers and loyal followers, won awards and are profitable. We've started a women's running revolution. Will you join us?
What was your lightbulb moment? How did you turn that moment into a real business?
I created This Mum Runs to solve a problem that I faced as a parent struggling to find time to exercise. The exercise I did before kids didn't work any more because sessions clashed with the kids' bedtime. Having been very active before having children, I then did no exercise for nearly three years. If I was feeling like this, I though how were other mums feeling?
I knew I wasn't the only one when 75 women turned up to the first run from a single Facebook post. This was the lightbulb moment.
I created the This Mum Runs Facebook group to reach out to other parents who were struggling to find the time and confidence to get into fitness after having children. Within days, hundreds of mums had joined up and a year on there are more than 4,400 members across Bristol and Bath. We now organise more than 50 weekly runs across 9 locations and have a programme of more than 60 courses for total beginners upwards.
We were able to make the jump to founding This Mum Runs as a business after securing funding from Run England and BANES Council. This enabled us to scale quickly and train a team of now more than 40 Mums as running coaches, who lead our paid for courses.
This Mum Runs also secured a place in the award-winning business start-up accelerator programme Entrepreneurial Spark, which is sponsored by RBS and KPMG, and this provided us with the tools, training and support needed to create strong framework for fast growth.
What are your biggest business challenges right now and what are you doing about them?
Going from start-up to scale-up very quickly presents lots of challenges and juggling the day-to-day business as usual with the things we need in place to grow is tough with only a very small team. Managing my own time and having enough headspace to prioritise the things that are really important without totally burning out is a big priority for me currently. I took myself off to the coast for a few days a couple of months ago as a self imposed retreat and came back clear and focussed, ready to make some big decisions.
Every week I try and protect a few hours, when I just think about and work through the things that will help us grow rather than just the day to day. Sometimes this means switching my phone and laptop off, taking the afternoon off and going for a lovely long run; radical I know! But I know that if I can think clearly, I'll have the headspace to make the right decisions for the business.
Mel Bound is part of the 'peak performance' panel at Festival of Female Entrepreneurs which features entrepreneurs who believe you have to be well to do well and have built a business around it. Find out more about the eight hour festival in Bristol on 21 October here and book your ticket below.
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This post was originally published as part of our support of Crowd 10, a brilliant initiative that helps early-stage, South West companies to launch successful crowdfunding campaigns. We provided the 10 finalists in 2016 with Enterprise Nation membership to help them grow.