In the grand scheme of things, it would be wonderful to have an endless amount of time, energy and funds to run a successful business. Reality defies all those niceties.
If you are in a relationship where you have joint responsibilities to manage a household, tend to children or fur babies. It is necessary for you and your partner/spouse to devise a plan to effectively address all those needs. In order to maintain a healthy relationship, you must be forthcoming about your spending habits, your business venture and overall, your dream life. Reflect upon where they (& others) fit into ‘your plan’.
Open communication in any relationship is expected but an honest exchange between a partner/spouse is key to sustaining trust and maintaining a loving marriage/relationship.
To Best Manage Conversations with Your Partner/Spouse About Your Business Use the Following 7 Tips:
- From the Get-Go
It is shocking how many individuals reflect upon why they got divorced and then speaks to a lack of communication, issues of trust, infidelity, financial strain and not feeling supported or fulfilled in their marriage – all of which are red flags. From day one, you and your partner should focus on what you want out of life and within your relationship. Discuss your dreams, expectations, how you manage money, and what items are on your bucket list. If you wish to assume the role of a business owner, be sure you and your partner/spouse discuss the impact leaving your JOB would have on your relationship, your home life & your financial future.
- Open Communication
Whether you are a strong communicator or not, it is imperative you put forth the effort to discuss your present situation before it creeps up on you and ruins a good thing. Communication is essential to offer validation, recognition, and to clarify feelings. You need to speak from your heart and be able to justify your decision to venture out on your own or to expand your business. By avoiding an open discussion about this or that, it will only lead you down a dusty path to nowhere fast. Often resulting in anger, disappointment, resentment, and ultimately, destroying your relationship.
- Establish & Implement a Budget
If you are a savvy businesswoman, you will realize the importance of effectively managing your finances at home and within your business. At any stage of business, funds are required to keep ‘the doors open’. Startups require a certain amount of capital to get your idea off the ground and any business model requires funds to sustain growth, promote visibility, and create products and services to sell for a profit. You should, however, place precedence on establishing a budget and be in agreement to set aside savings. You also need to determine what amount of money you can allocate to running your business in order to succeed and maintain a household.
You can be very much in love with your partner/spouse but once overdue bills, a missed car payment, or a late mortgage payment arise your dream marriage/relationship will be tested and it will be a challenge to maintain a healthy level of understanding and resolve.
If you would like to use an effective and user-friendly tool to maintain your business/household expenses visit www.mint.com for free budgeting services and tips. There are endless budgeting services online and many of them are free and easy to follow.
- Don’t Leave Your Partner/Spouse in the Dark
As mentioned previously, it is essential to establish a level of respect and trust with your partner/spouse. You need to be able to discuss anything at any time. Be open to constructive criticism and clarify any confusing issues. If you are struggling at work let your partner/spouse know. If you wish to start or expand a business, discuss the possibilities and requirements with your partner/spouse before you start running up credit card debt due to shiny objects and fluffy courses promising you 30K months. We often hear of the dreaded “I need to speak with my partner/spouse” before I pay X amount of money for this course or service. Now, no business owner looks forward to working through an objection but in all honesty, one can understand and most certainly respect, the need to do so.
On several occasions, I have engaged in conversation with a partner/spouse to answer the various questions regarding how I work, my fees, return of investment, and one’s action plan following our coaching work together. I embrace open communication and I have no reservations of speaking to a partner/spouse who is merely curious or doing their due diligence to ensure their loved one will be well looked after upon receipt of payment.
- Accountability & Consistent Updates
You may be the founder and CEO of your business BUT you need to be accountable for your actions. If the dollars funding your business have a direct link to your partner, s/he deserves consistent updates concerning expenses, losses, operations, projections, and overall, revenue and profit. This is not handing over control but rather extending a level of respect to your partner/spouse. What if you were in their shoes?
Prepare the following:
Discuss the structure of the ‘meeting’ with your partner/spouse. Do you include an agenda, accountability measures, spreadsheets, banking information, and your blueprint OR is it more informal where you give insight, an overall update, and list the next steps as you problem-solve and share feedback, etc. How often does this ‘meeting’ occur?
- Products & Services Offered
- Your Fears & Challenges
- Focus on Action Items
- Your Expenses vs. Your Profit
- Your Team (delegate tasks)
- Your Schedule (events, deadlines, etc.)
- Interests, Goals & Direction (for both of you)
- Speak to Priorities
- Impact on the household
- Changes to be made …
Running a business can be quite challenging but albeit it is just as hard to be a supportive, understanding partner/spouse of a highly driven entrepreneur. We should be grateful for our partner’s support and embrace their goodwill when they look to further our dream.
Bonus Tip: when you have had a long hard day running your business, don’t isolate yourself or shut down emotionally. Put forth the effort to engage with your family members and friends. Express your love and appreciation as well as a level of optimism that will likely return two-fold. There will be ups and downs as you make your way through ‘boss life’ but one can only hope your business becomes wildly successful which will enable you and yours, to live the lifestyle and financial freedom you have dreamed of! I dream of the day of retiring my hubby!
- Share the Floor
Any relationship requires to give and take. At all times, remain calm, clear, and concise. Don’t allow emotions to get in the way of working through your aspirations. If your partner/spouse has been supportive of you chasing your dreams, take note of what they desire and be sure to offer the same level of support to bring their dreams to life. More than likely they have minimized their own desires in order to maintain the household and appease you as well as the rest of your family members or friends. As noted above, be sure to sit down and discuss your goals as a joint union. Neglecting the needs of your partner/spouse will often result in resentment, a lack of engagement, and limited intimacy on varying levels.
In the end, if you are in a challenging relationship and you are NOT feeling supported by your partner.
Attempt to unpick the reason why they are not in favor of your business. Do they struggle with the expense, do they wish to be in control, do they possess differing beliefs and think you should embrace a 9-5 job for security and contentment? I trust you will do your best to get them on board, to implement a solid action plan, and to kill it in your marketplace.
I wish you tremendous success in mastering the art of communication in life and in business.
Now go and live your life to the fullest!
Lara Lee Taylor
Brand Story Strategist & Copywriter