Ever wonder why some businesses fail and others are tremendously successful? Ah, you think, this is the oldest topic in the world. There has certainly been a plethora of studies and research on the usual culprits for failure including lack of capital, insufficient planning for the short and long term, poor leadership or management, lack of differentiation, and poor customer care. Let’s just consider another cause that could lead to your business needing life support: the lack of support of a significant other or spouse!
Imagine how you felt when you were starting or considering starting a business. When you presented your ideas to your partner did you both jump up and do the ‘Happy Dance’ or was it more like thunderous and ominous silence? Was it exciting and energetic, or did you have verbal combat?
You may find it interesting and not surprising that there have been multiple studies on the effects of partnership on the stability and health of a business. And the results have indicated the importance of having a partner that both understands and is in alignment with the entrepreneurial decision maker’s desire to take on new or more challenging opportunities.
Yet the process of weighing the present risks and struggle against the possible future benefits can potentially challenge any relationship. This can be a real deal breaker but is so important for your overall business because you need to have someone in your corner that is going to help recharge your battery, provide a safe haven or just tell you that you are amazing and it will all work out.
Here are 3 Keys to having the conversation with your partner about your business ideas or plans:
- Be open, honest and calm during the conversation. Remember that your partner may be anxious, uncertain and apprehensive about change. This does not necessarily mean they are unsupportive. They may need more information or time to process the changes and how it will affect your relationship, finances, and time.
- Acknowledge each other: Every person on the planet needs to know that they are important and loved, especially when you are in a relationship, it’s important to know that your partner thinks that you have what it takes to make this venture successful and will continue to do so. And your partner needs to know that they are as important to you as this new and exciting project.
- Discuss whether both partners will be involved in the project. Don’t automatically assume that your partner will or will not want to be part of the business. If you both are going in for extreme partnership: both in life and in business, I’d recommend that after this conversation you also have a formal partnership retreat where you should outline specifics on everything, including but not limited to: role delineation, financials, employees, scaling and exit strategy.
However, if your conversation doesn’t go as you hoped and you feel your partner is not going to provide you with the support that you need, you may want to consider
finding a counselor, pastor or mentor to help both of you talk through the issues. It is that important to your overall success and probably the success of your relationship as well.
Co-Founder of SheEO
Advancing Women in Leadership and Business