Business Mums 2010 at the Thistle Hotel, Brighton starts on a massive high with inspirational talks from global chilled food mumpreneur, Annabel Karmel and online marketing guru Mel McGee. I am here at the conference checking out what local and non-local mums have to say about running a business and balancing family life.

Annabel Karmel took us through her career path and how she developed the AK business empire over the years. Her first book was published 19 years ago after much perseverance. This culminated in launching own brand baby and toddler meals for Marks & Spencers and Boots, then her own AK range which is listed in Sainsbury’s. She was very open about the challenges but spoke passionately about how important it is to do something you enjoy. It was evident she has kept the brand vibrant over the years through diversifying her service offering and collaborating with key businesses and power brands such as Disney.

Mel McGee, aka Supermummy, gave a similar message to do something you are passionate about. She went on to share some valuable advice for taking your business forward. The key message is “traditional marketing is dead“. Today in order for your business to survive and grow you need to engage in different ways with your customers. And yes, this can mean social media, face book, blogging etc. However, Mel dispelled a few myths around marketing yourself through these mediums: firstly, you *can* do it, it’s not as hard as it looks and secondly, much of it is available for free, the only investment you need is time.

The day continues with break-out seminars, a case study by photographer Jo Wise, a panel discussion and an awards ceremony.