The overlooked investors in your business

Nina KaufmanArticles, See Differently, Strategic PlanningLeave a Comment

Every business has investors.

Yes, even if you own it by yourself.

As you know, running a growing business can be a 24/7 proposition. You work on the weekends. Have your vacations (such as they are) interrupted by staff. Lose sleep in the wee hours.

On a recent call, my client Frank rationalized his all-in-all-the-time approach saying, It’s the nature of the beast. I need to give it my full attention. That’s the only way it will grow.

If you take a what-you-focus-on-expands perspective, he may be right.

But there’s a corollary that business owners often don’t focus on:

What you ignore can wither away.

In other words, if you’re totally focused on your business, and don’t give your significant relationship the attention it needs, there’s a high likelihood you could end up in divorce court.

Which means your business could, too.

(I’ve seen this happen to clients. It’s ugly. Often, scorched-earth ugly. And Frank was in danger of it happening to him).

So here’s a novel idea:

Treat your significant other like an investor in your business.

An emotional investor.

Yes, get the legal guidance to protect you on the business and matrimonial sides.

And, have the kinds of conversations with your partner as if he or she were investing financially.

The support of spouse, life partner, significant other, etc., is an important (and overlooked) ingredient in the success of a growing company. I’m not talking financial support — that can sometimes cause more complications than it’s worth. I’m talking about emotional support.

Or, at least refraining from the “when-are-you-going-to-let-go-of-this-hare-brained-idea-and-go-out-and-get-a-job?” kind of comments. It’s tough enough to get a company off the ground and into cruising altitude without the incessant nagging from someone who doesn’t understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, or why it’s taking so long.

Remember: you’re subjecting your family to the financial risks of the entrepreneurial choices you make.

Why not get them excited about the prospects of your business? You could:

  • Show them a business plan (yes, that means putting one together)
  • Think of ways they can help you grow or promote the business
  • Include them in a focus group, if applicable
  • Bounce ideas off them
  • Try out your elevator pitch or tag line on them

You may find that having these conversations about your business brings a clarity to your relationship that wasn’t there before.

The more you include and reassure them, the more you — and they — can reap the emotional dividends of a happy household.

Need help converting your significant other from an irritant to an investor?

Email me, and we’ll set up a 30-minute “Hello!” call to explore.

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