BLOG: WHEN THE KNOT BECOMES THE NOOSE
Are you in business with a spouse or significant other or do you know people including family members who are? If so, you may understand there are some very unique challenges in these types of businesses that require attention.
* Because these family-run businesses are the backbone to our economic stability there is high value in them thriving. There are approximately 2.5 million spouse-run companies in the U.S. alone.
Our country was founded on these mom and pop companies and, given recent trends, they are on the rise with corporate downsizing and with an alarmingly high percentage of employees being disengaged in their work. In the U.S., 70% of all workers are disengaged according to a recent Gallup poll.
* The failure rate for these growing businesses is high with approximately 35% making it past year 4! The failure rate could be reduced with support and early education and training.
Today we explore one strategy to understand and implement to avoid that noose!
WORK FROM YOUR SHARED BIZ VISION
Everything starts with your vision. What direction do you want the company to go and where would you like to be in 1 year, 3 years and 5 years? It is very common for entrepreneurs who love what they do to jump in without giving this much thought yet it becomes a missing link to success when it is ignored.
Working from your vision means think from the end result you want to accomplish and make business decisions from that. This assumes that the business has a vision. If not, this is where you must start. What do you want for your business and personal life one year, three year and five years from now?
In a spouse/couple run biz since there are often ongoing challenges with work spilling over into home life so it is critical that they also create a vision for their personal life and goals. There may be some common areas they share such as a vision for family time and couple time, yet in the personal arena each spouse/partner often have their own vision in areas like health and wellness, leisure time and community contributions.
Example: A couple without children works in and on their biz about 60% of the time and both love what they do. They agree to keep fun and intimacy in their relationship and separate work from personal time by having a weekly date night where they do not talk shop and going away two to four days per month. They take turns making the out-of-town plans and sometimes they surprise each other, which adds an element of excitement to their relationship. They both have their individual pursuits as well. The husband loves to backpack and the wife loves to read, garden and socialize with friends. About 10% of their time is spent on personal pursuits.
WHAT IF THE COUPLE DO NOT SHARE THE SAME BIZ VISION?
When this happens it can cause countless issues and ongoing conflict between the couple not to mention the business can be greatly impacted if there is an impasse. Here are 2 areas that need to be addressed beforehand:
* Has the couple addressed their differences by communicating effectively vs. “locked horns” or “sweeping things under the rug”?
These are 2 common communication styles we’ve seen in our works with couples. The couple is either locked in conflict or don’t talk about their differences. Neither is very effective when running a business together or for building trust and greater connection.
* What conflict resolution strategy will be implemented when needed? (i.e.: consulting an impartial trusted 3rd party)
There are going to be conflicts in any relationship between spouses therefore learn to “pick your battles” and strategize beforehand how business conflicts will be handled when there is an impasse.
P.S. If you would like more support in applying these principles, give us a call. In between our speaking and coaching engagements, we carve out a few individualized sessions each month. Schedule your appointment here.