ST. CROIX INSIGHTS
Are You Married to Your Business or Your Spouse?
BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC
As a business owner, you’re a special breed. Many people don’t know just how much hard work, sacrifice and time goes into running a successful business. Then, there’s the stress of not just bringing a paycheck home to meet the needs of your family, but ensuring that you are able to retain and compensate your employees. Add in issues with compliance, taxes, and the economy and some days, it’s tough to even remember the world exists outside your office walls.
Yet, as the old adage goes, “It takes all types.” However, if you’re married and your spouse is not a business owner, he/she might not “get it.” We’ve all heard the horror stories about the missed anniversaries, absenteeism in children’s lives, and as we’ve talked about in our previous blogs about Prenups, the divorce rate continues to climb.
Can a successful business owner also experience happiness in their family? I emphatically say “Yes”, provided there is balance and understanding from both spouses. In my work with many business owners and their families, I’ve seen the following factors as key to allowing a business to run smoothly while keeping peace at home.
PRIORITIES – From the get-go, you must both have a mutual understanding of your goals for your business and the needs for your family. If you can honestly priorities both, you have a good chance of succeeding in other areas as well.
COMMUNICATION – Communication is the key…it really is. The couples that I see experiencing the most success in their relationships take the time to really communicate with one another. Whether that means a family meeting or routinely touching base at dinner, you must ensure that the other person is up-to-speed. If the business is in trouble, tell your spouse. If something is affecting your home life, tell your spouse. Keep those lines of communication open.
COMPROMISE – Give and take is all it takes. Yes, you might have to work late every night, but maybe those e-mails can get answered from home so your spouse can make plans one evening. Additionally, the spouse who is not the business owner must compromise as well, as the business owner will be expected to pour of themselves into the business. The other spouse knows he/she must pick up the slack around home at times.
LITTLE THINGS – Be willing to be flexible. Yes, as a business owner you’re pulling long days, but you also have the freedom to do some of the little things that either drive your spouse crazy or might be far more difficult for him/her to manage. Whether this means working from home to care for a sick child, picking up the dry-cleaning, or even running to the grocery store for last minute items, your spouse will certainly appreciate the help, especially if his/her job does not allow them the same flexibility.
OFF SWITCH – That’s right, the off-switch. As a business owner, I get it, it’s not just making a living, it’s a way of living. However, what may be your way of living might not be hospitable to your spouse. You need to find a way to unplug, so that your life has balance. You don’t need to answer EVERY e-mail immediately, nor do you need to focus on work 24/7. Delegate, wait until morning, focus your intentions while at work, and make yourself available to your family when you’re home.
GET OUT OF DODGE – Take a vacation. Regularly. If you and your spouse have an annual vacation where you’re able to spend meaningful time unplugged from the workplace and connecting to one another, it will give you something to look forward to and work toward. DO NOT SKIP VACATIONING TOGETHER. Even if you can just get away for a long weekend, it could be just what the two of you needed.